With 6 teams battling for a playoff spot and the New York Rangers not far from contending for a spot, you have collectively seven teams to keep an eye on in the Metro. You get everything from this division: offense, defense, goaltending, power play, penalty kill, etc. No doubt the Metro is the hardest division to play in and has been an absolute blood bath. It is a fight to the death for 7 out of the 8 teams in this grouping. Not to mention, there are at least 2-3 Stanley Cup contenders in this set. If all this hasn’t been enough to convince you, I will leave you with this final statistic. The combined points of the Metropolitan teams is 568. The closest division to them is 17 points behind.
2) Central Division
Least in points, so how are they number 2? There are three key factors that put the Central Division here. First, there are 3 Stanley Cup contenders at the top of the division in the Stars, Avalanche and Blues. Second, you have to account for the fact that the Central has one less team than all the other divisions. If you added this team, giving it the combined average number of points of the other seven teams in the Central, it would leave you with 551 points. That’s second place. Third, even the “bad” teams in the division are not far off from a playoff spot themselves. Overall, it is very competitive within the Central Division.
3) Atlantic Division
An incredibly top heavy division with both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins heading up the group. However, it falls out of the bottom after that. This is proven by the division only possessing 524 points. The closest squads to those super teams are the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers. Both have massive issues but are still in decent shape. Then you have an array of struggling teams with the all but worst in the league Detroit Red Wings at the rear. So in reality, besides the first few at the top, the Atlantic is a relatively weak division. Besides just being easier to play in, a more odd advantage to this is the division is now a prime spot for rebuilding a squad from the ground up.
4) Pacific Division
Don’t let the standings fool you. All in the Pacific Division hold a total of 505 points. Even though there are 5 teams bunched up at the top, it is really a contest to see who will stop tripping over themselves. All of these squads have two things in common, they are all inconsistent and stumble around. What about the rest of the teams? They all suck. It is a rebuild for those three former juggernauts. The Pacific as a whole is in an uncertain, somewhat pathetic state. This may make it interesting in the playoffs though, as it could potentially increase the already high rate of parity in the NHL.