With the NHL season upon up, there is always a big puzzle of how the standings will shakeup. The NHL season is always unpredictable but here are our predictions on how each team will finish in the extremely competitive Eastern Conference
New York Islanders – 104 points
The Islanders kept most of their core intact this offseason and with most of their top division opponents getting worse, it opens the door for the Islanders to take the crown of the Metropolitan Division.
Carolina Hurricanes – 99 points
The Hurricanes had a very interesting offseason, losing Dougie Hamilton and their two good goalies. Overall, the Hurricanes made their team worse but still have a deep forward core and solid defense.
Philadelphia Flyers – 98 points
The Flyers are a very inconsistent team with their regular season performance, bouncing back and forth with their playoff placement. After finishing outside of the playoffs last year, the Flyers added Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Cam Atkinson to hopefully return to the postseason.
Pittsburgh Penguins* – 96 points
The Penguins have an aging core and are looking to make one last push with Sidney Crosby and Evgenii Malkin. The Penguins didn’t make any significant upgrades this offseason but another good season from Crosby could push the Penguins into the postseason.
Washington Capitals – 94 points
Just like the Penguins, the Capitals are striving to go on one last run with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom before they start to regress. Unfortunately for the Capitals, the road to the playoffs will be difficult and it looks like they’ll be the odd team out.
New York Rangers – 91 points
The Rangers had a strange offseason, mainly focusing on adding grit to the roster and subsequently losing skill. Although the Rangers have a stronger team, their downgraded skill and still young core won’t be good enough to make the playoffs.
New Jersey Devils – 89 points
The Devils made some huge acquisitions this offseason signing Dougie Hamilton, Jonathan Bernier, and Tomas Tatar, but their young core isn’t good enough just yet to make the playoffs.
Columbus Blue Jackets – 77 points
The Blue Jackets are just entering their rebuild, selling big parts of their core including Seth Jones, Cam Atkinson, and more. With their young roster, they won’t be going far in the highly competitive Metropolitan Division.
Tampa Bay Lightning – 107 points
The back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions Tampa Bay Lightning could keep that momentum going into the regular season with a fully healthy Nikita Kucherov leading the way.
Boston Bruins – 105 points
The Bruins are on a quest to go on one last run with their core after going aggressive this offseason. The only thing that is holding the Bruins back this year is their center depth and potentially their goaltending.
Toronto Maple Leafs – 102 points
The Maple Leafs made some minor moves this offseason but always are a good regular-season team. The Leafs are looking to finally make it out of the first round after failing to do so in the past 16 years.
Florida Panthers* – 100 points
After a surprisingly good year last season, the Panthers are looking to follow that path again with a fully healthy squad. The only problem with the Panthers roster is their questionable goaltending, with a regressing Sergei Bobrovsky and rookie Spencer Knight splitting the net.
Montreal Canadiens – 92 points
The Canadiens had a roller-coaster of an offseason, losing a bunch of key players from their Stanley Cup run. With their team getting worse, the Canadiens will have a tough time making the playoffs in the Atlantic Division.
Ottawa Senators – 85 points
The Senators are another up-and-coming young team that will likely take 1-2 years before they make the postseason. However, in order to be competitive this season, the Senators will need to sign their top forward Brady Tkachuk to a contract.
Detroit Red Wings – 81 points
The Red Wings are still in the mix of their rebuild but have made great progress this offseason. Although they have been improving, they are still 2-3 years away from making some noise in the Atlantic Division.
Buffalo Sabres – 60 points
The Sabres are once again in rebuild mode after trading Rasmus Ristolainen, Sam Reinhart, and soon maybe Jack Eichel. The Sabres are looking to tank this year for a chance at Shane Wright.