New York Rangers: ranking the Metro division defenses

MONTREAL, QC - APRIL 14: Ryan McDonagh
MONTREAL, QC - APRIL 14: Ryan McDonagh /
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COLUMBUS, OH – DECEMBER 23: Zach Werenski
COLUMBUS, OH – DECEMBER 23: Zach Werenski /

2. Columbus Blue Jackets

The John Tortorella-led Columbus Blue Jackets have something to be excited for in the upcoming 2017-18 season. It was an inspiring 2016-17 season for the Blue Jackets. One that saw them claim the third seed in the Metropolitan division, only to be ousted by the eventual cup-winning Penguins.

However, their defense is going to allow them to continue an upward trend in today’s evolving NHL. Headlined by former number four overall pick Seth Jones, the Blue Jackets boast one of the Metro’s strongest defensive groups.

Jones broke out in a big way in his first full season in Columbus, recording a career-high 42 points, including 12 goals. His pairing-mate is another young phenom, Zach Werenski. At 19 years old, Werenski put the NHL on notice. He recorded 47 points, including 11 goals and 21 power-play points.

The Blue Jacket second pairing consists of a combination of veterans David Savard and Jack Johnson, and the ever-improving Ryan Murray. The team would be smartest to limit Johnson’s minutes, who is prone to anchor productive players around him.

Much like the Rangers, the Blue Jackets have several deserving, young players waiting at a chance to compete at the NHL level. Their final pairing will most likely consist of Finland-native Markus Nutivaara, and former first-rounder Gabriel Carlsson.