NHL Power Rankings: Previewing the Flyers’ Metropolitan positon

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia Flyers
(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

Columbus Blue Jackets

Head Coach- John Tortorella (fourth season)

Key Returning Players- Seth Jones, Zach Werenski, Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin

2018 Outlook

Justin:  I wanted to put the Jackets higher and even considered them for the top spot in the division, but there is far too much drama around stars Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky, who both could be traded before the year is out. Bobrovsky is a perennial Vezina Trophy candidate, and if he stays the entire season, he will win Columbus a lot of games.

This is a team that should take a big step forward after their playoff appearance, but the ongoing contract questions will likely attract some negative attention, possibly bleeding into the locker room. Besides Philadelphia, the Jackets boast the best defensive pairing in the division with Seth Jones and Zach Werenski. Jones will miss the first few weeks of the season with an injury, but once he returns, the pair could be as exciting as there is in the league.

Bottom Line: Everything depends on what happens with Panarin and Bobrovsky. With those two players, it’s easy to see how this team could find themselves atop the division. This is guaranteed to be a roller coaster, but it just seems inevitable that Columbus is going to have no choice but to gut the heart of its roster at some point. They’ll make the playoffs, but after that, it’s anyone’s guess.

Prediction: Third in the Metropolitan Division, 98 pts

Anthony: The Blue Jackets could have lost a huge piece of their offense this off-season if they decided to trade Artemi Panarin. They’re still going to lose Panarin, but not this season. A common trend among these top teams is minor moves. The additions of Riley Nash and Anthony Duclair could help their offense, but not by much.

Bottom line: Everyone is just waiting for Panarin to hit free agency and what angry rant John Tortorella will go on. You’ll probably forget they’re doing good until they’re fighting for a playoff spot and you wonder what happened. 95 points

Prediction: Fourth in the Metropolitan Division, 95 pts