Columbus Blue Jackets Minding the Metro: 18-19 Division Predictions

COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 23: Zach Werenski #8 of the Columbus Blue Jackets shakes hands with T.J. Oshie #77 of the Washington Capitals after the end of Game Six of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 23, 2018 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Washington defeated Columbus 6-3 to win the series 4-2. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Zach Werenski;T.J. Oshie
COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 23: Zach Werenski #8 of the Columbus Blue Jackets shakes hands with T.J. Oshie #77 of the Washington Capitals after the end of Game Six of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 23, 2018 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Washington defeated Columbus 6-3 to win the series 4-2. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Zach Werenski;T.J. Oshie /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 4
Next

Middling Squads

Columbus Blue Jackets
NEWARK, NJ – MARCH 27: Scott Darling #33 of the Carolina Hurricanes in action against the New Jersey Devils on March 27, 2018 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Hurricanes 4-3. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/NHLI via Getty Images) /

6. New Jersey Devils

Last year the Devils went from the first overall pick in the NHL draft to making the playoffs. They were fueled by Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall‘s incredible season. This year though, the Devils will come back down to Earth and finish out of the playoffs.

The organization is handling the situation perfectly though. After the surprise run to the playoffs, the team didn’t overpay for free agents or trade away prospects for older players. They understand that this team isn’t positioned to be a perennial playoff performer and wont be until the young players get another season under their belt.

The Devils still have goaltending issues and there are doubts whether or not Corey Schneider is the answer. Last year he only started 40 games and posted a .907 save percentage. Keith Kinkaid started 41 games for the Devils and performed better than Schneider, but not playoff caliber.

Columbus Blue Jackets
Columbus Blue Jackets /

Columbus Blue Jackets

Hopefully the Devils and their fans enjoyed the 2017-2018 season because this year will not be as fun as last year.

5. Carolina Hurricanes

I really wanted to put Carolina in the playoffs. REALLY wanted to. I just can’t see them scoring enough to overcome there terrible goalie situation.

The Hurricanes have a great blueline from top to bottom. They might be the deepest d-corps in the league with the likes of Dougie Hamilton, Brent Peshe, Justin Faulk, Jabob Slavin, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Calvin De Haan.

But if a shot gets on goal, it’s probably going in. Scott Darling had a terrible year last year and it’s looking like he is never going to cut it as a starting NHL goalie. And he’s hurt to start the year. Petr Mrazek isn’t inspiring hope in anyone and now the team has gone so far as to claim Curtis McElhinney off of waivers.

The Canes won’t be winning many games 7-6 either. Carolina spends the least on forwards in the entire NHL at only $23 million a season. The Canes only have five forwards that make more than $1 million a season and two players that make more than $3 million a season.

Their leading scorer is an underrated stud, Sebastian Aho, should have another great year but their offensive celling will hinge on the play of rookies Andre Svechnikov and Martin Necas. These two will look to replace some of the scoring that left when the team traded Jeff Skinner to Buffalo this offseason.

Not an ideal scenario for the Canes who continue to be just on the cusp of their first playoff appearance since 2008. Much like the Devils, the team is very young and has a ton of cap space. Let the youngsters grow this year and make some moves with all that money next summer. This team should make the 2020 playoffs.