Detroit Red Wings: The 2021 NHL Metro Division Preview

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - MAY 21: Vincent Trocheck #16 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrates with Andrei Svechnikov #37 after scoring a goal in the second period against the Nashville Predators in Game Three of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena on May 21, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - MAY 21: Vincent Trocheck #16 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrates with Andrei Svechnikov #37 after scoring a goal in the second period against the Nashville Predators in Game Three of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena on May 21, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 06: Marian Studenic #67 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the New York Rangers during a preseason game at Madison Square Garden on October 06, 2021 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Devils 6-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 06: Marian Studenic #67 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the New York Rangers during a preseason game at Madison Square Garden on October 06, 2021 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Devils 6-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Record Last Season: 19-30-7

Playoff Result: N/A

Expectations This Season: Overall Team Improvement 

The Devils made some very good acquisitions in the off-season. Dougie Hamilton is by far the most important change New Jersey made before the season. Hamilton is one of the best defenders in the league, which instantly makes the defenseman formidable at the top. Jonathan Bernier eventually signed with the team – Red Wings fans are already aware of his abilities even on a rebuilding team.

The Devils aren’t out of the rebuild yet, but they are taking some major strides quickly. They also have the misfortune of playing in one of the most competitive divisions in the league, which means their record won’t be quite as bad as it looks.

The Red Wings are in a somewhat similar situation as the Devils. Neither team is really expected to make any real movement towards the playoffs or true contention, but they are both moving forward. The battles between these two should be fascinating, as they are going to be pretty evenly matched.

Philadelphia Flyers

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – SEPTEMBER 30: Nicolas Aube-Kubel #62 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the Boston Bruins during the tbird period of the preseason game at TD Garden on September 30, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Flyers 4-2. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – SEPTEMBER 30: Nicolas Aube-Kubel #62 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the Boston Bruins during the tbird period of the preseason game at TD Garden on September 30, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Flyers 4-2. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Record Last Season: 25-23-8

Playoff Result: N/A

Expectations This Season: Make the Playoffs

The Flyers just can’t seem to get over the hump. Last year was a major disappointment for Philly; the team missed the playoffs and regressed in the process. Carter Hart was the face of the Philly’s regression, as he struggled throughout the season and finished with a .877 save percentage.

After an awful showing in the 2020-21 season, defense was the focus of improvement in the off-season. Rasmus Ristolainen, Kieth Yandle and Ryan Ellis are the new faces on the Flyers blue line. The team seems to be improved from last season, but like the Devils, they are going to struggle to make the playoffs in such a competitive division. But an improved defense and better goaltending would likely be enough to give the team a fighting chance.

The Red Wings won’t have as much trouble dealing with the Flyers defensive group, barring some insane progression this year. But the new defense could face a test against Philly’s forward room.