1 Surprise To Make Each Metropolitan Division Team Out Of Training Camp

The Metropolitan Division was a strong one last season and should feature three of the very best teams in the league again. There will be lots of competition to make the postseason as every team but one thinks they have the roster to be able to compete. Training camps are always a battle and there are usually some surprises around the league. We're going to look at one potential surprise from each team in this division.

Carolina Hurricanes

Kieffer Bellows has bounced around now a few times and is still only 25 years old. He hasn't been given a great chance, but as a former first round pick, the talent is there. He's on a PTO with the Carolina Hurricanes and I could see him making the team as an extra. He has played very well in the AHL the past few seasons and put up 19 points in 45 games in 2021-22.

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets have a lot of young talent vying for spots on their team this season, but Dmitri Voronkov could steal a spot over some players. He's still exempt from waivers, so it will be even tougher for him to make it, but the 23-year-old came over from the KHL where he scored 18 goals and 31 points in 54 games. He is impressive offensively and could make an impact right away.

New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils' lineup is far from set. They still have decisions to make about some of their depth and there are lots of young players vying for spots. Both Nolan and Cal Foote are in the system and both are eligible for waivers this season. Cal, the defenseman, has more NHL experience, but is also older and it is a bit tougher to make New Jersey on the back-end. Nolan has more potential and I don't think the Devils will necessarily want to risk losing him. He could make it as an extra and get in some of the games this season.

New York Islanders

The New York Islanders continue to roster a veteran lineup, but some younger players are starting to squeak through. While it is expected that players like Oliver Wahlstrom, Simon Holmstrom, and Samuel Bolduc make the team, I believe that there just isn't a role for Ross Johnston with who is still on the fourth line. This could open up a spot for someone like Julien Gauthier who scored nine goals and 14 points in 57 games while playing less than nine minutes per game.

New York Rangers

The New York Rangers' fourth line and extra forward spots are still up for grabs. I'm sure that the team can find someone more effective than Alex Belzile to sub in at times. While Jake Leschyshyn didn't record a point in 35 games last season, he did well in the AHL and I believe he will show he deserves another look in a lesser role.

Philadelphia Flyers

Last season Nick Seeler took on a decently sized role for the Philadelphia Flyers and it allowed some of the younger defensemen to continue developing without a rush. This season Egor Zamula is now eligible for waivers and has shown that he is ready for a spot not only on the team, but in the lineup over Seeler. I think we will see the 23-year-old step up this season.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Alexander Nylander has had an interesting start to his career to say the least, but I think he has found a good role in Pittsburgh. With Jake Guentzel injured to start the season, there is a hole in the top-six on the wing that Nylander's scoring ability could thrive in. As someone who has been sent up and down between the NHL and AHL throughout his career, I think he sticks with the Penguins.

Washington Capitals

Matthew Phillips has been held back for too long with the Calgary Flames and finally left to join the Washington Capitals where he might have a chance. There are many forwards vying for spots on the team, but the 25-year-old is coming off consecutive seasons scoring at least 30 goals and recording over a point-per-game in the NHL with three NHL games to show for it. He has a lot of offensive abilities and the Capitals could use that.

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