NHL Division Positions Analysis 2017-2018
Of the four NHL divisions, we took a look at where all the teams stand and how they stack up to where they were at the end of last year’s regular season. We have some unexpected teams in some unexpected positions. Why are they there and will they have a chance to stay there or recover?
Last year, the Oilers were second in their division. They are now at the bottom of their division with a much lower record than expected. Plus, their star player, Connor McDavid, is playing and scoring far less than expected. The Pacific division is off to a dry start to its seasons, all except the new team, the Vegas Golden Knights. The other teams have not shown outstanding matches. The Pacific split has been shaken compared to last year and the expected results have yet to come. There are many games to play and all it takes is a couple of teams to hit a hot streak to change the rankings in the Pacific division. One team that expected to see better participation in its season was the Arizona Coyotes. They had a very tough year last season and now they don’t see much improvement. The only team that has a win less than them right now is the Buffalo Sabers. The Coyotes are 7-18-5 and the Sabers are 6-17-4. They are fighting not to be in last place in the entire NHL. It’s hard to watch these teams fight, I don’t like seeing professional teams look so uncoordinated. I hope their seasons start to produce successes for the players and for the club as a whole!
On a different note, the Blackhawks came first in the central division last year and are now second to last this year. The Blackhawks have a lot of skilled players, but they seem to be underperforming. Another team in the central division that is not doing as well as it was at the end of last season is the Minnesota Wild. The Blackhawks and Wild finished in the top two in the central division last year, but they aren’t playing like they did at the end of the regular season. Right now, these two teams are sitting in two of the bottom three spots. The team that is last in the central division is the Avalanche. They had a horrible season last year and while they are doing much better now, they are still the team that was expected to be in last place. One team that was quiet last year and in first place in the central division is the Winnipeg Jets. Right now the Blues and Jets are vying for first place and it should be interesting to see what the product of more competition should produce.
After the Central division, there is the Metropolitan division. The biggest change we’ve seen in this division so far is the amazing courage the New Jersey Devils have shown. They had a poor season last year coming in last and now rank second in the Metropolitan division just two games away from being tied for first. The other teams in the division are not far from expected. The Pittsburgh Penguins have fared mediocre for being a Stanley Cup team and have had big losses to teams with big deficits. Usually the Stanley Cup team represents a challenge to the rest of the league, but there has been nothing extraordinary yet.
Finally, we have the Atlantic division, which has not surprised us too much. There are two teams in this division that have been a lot of fun to watch. These two teams are ranked first and second in the division and have great players. The Lightning are in first place with the Maple Leafs behind by one game in the win category, but with 3 points to tie. In Lightning, they have Stamkos and Kucherov, who are the dynamic duo. These two players have had great passes, plays and goals that you find yourself watching over and over again. In Maple Leafs, you have Auston Matthews, who is 20 years old and has had an incredible season. He’s a great points contender and has incredible goals. These top two teams, plus the Vegas Golden Knights, are some of the best teams to watch right now. The last teams in the Atlantic division are not very surprised. The only team that is surprised to be low in the rankings are the Ottawa Senators, who are in third to last place but in second place last year. They have had an unfortunate season, but they have the ability to make a strong comeback. The Sabers and Panthers are at the bottom of this division and haven’t been the best contenders for a while.