Islanders are expected to finish first or second according to more previews then I would have expected. IMHO, the division is very much up for grabs. The Isles, Caps, Rags, Pens, and Jackets are all very evenly matched with Philly, NJ, and the Canes lagging behind.
Getting off to a fast start is extremely important this year. Playing catch up in this division would be a difficult task.
Maybe it's just from getting beaten down all these years but to me I see a bubble team. I really want some of what these guys have been smoking.
We know what the offense is going to do. They are downright dangerous.
The D, well if Pulock does what I think he can and Leddy takes the next step they will look good. I expect Boychuk and Hamonic to do what they always have done and I think you'll see Zidlicky on waivers by mid season. Strait will hang around because he has dirt on Capuano.
Goaltending is the other question. Can Halak repeat last year? Can he stay healthy? I feel Greiss will be just good enough to be adequate and who knows with Berbube. Unless he plays lights out in his two starts or whatever he gets he'll be gone before we know it.
I'm on the Caps hype band wagon. I really think it's their year to win the Metro, but I like our chances at Metro Division playoff spot. If we get a solid D out of Pulock or Mayfield this season then I like our chances at the divison champs, but that also relies on Jaro having a year at least as good as last.
This division is gonna be a dogfight between the top 5. A lot will depend on injuries, luck, coaching (ugh!!) and some wildcard that nobody we see yet. All 5 could easily finish 1 through 5 but unless something crazy happens, all should be in the playoffs. Coaching and special teams (product of coaching) are our weakest link by a mile against the other 4. I wanna see this team hold leads in third periods consistently and show some creativity to generate PPG.