Predicting the North Division Standings

Tomas Vessio
Head of NHL/Podcast Host

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The NHL announced the four divisions for the upcoming 2020/21 Regular Season and today, we take a look as to what we might see at the end of the season in the standings.

7. Ottawa Senators

The worst Canadian team last season is once again finishing last in the all Canadian Division this upcoming season. The Sens just don’t have a great team on paper, though they have some up and coming young talent to look forward to in the near future. Thomas Chabot, Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle and Erik Brannstrom could be an exciting watch this season for some optimism for what’s to come, but for the 2020/21 Season, don’t look too far up in the final division standings for the Sens.

Highest Scorer Prediction: Brady Tkachuk

6. Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens definitely got better this offseason but, was it enough to be higher in the standings? The race will be close and there is no denying that, but Montreal will have to be consistent in such a short amount of games in order to finish high and get into the playoffs. Tyler Toffoli, Joel Edmundson, Jake Allen, Josh Anderson and the young, exciting Romanov are all upgrades to what they had before, but will it be enough to get into the playoffs for the second straight year?

Highest Scorer Prediction: Brendan Gallagher

5. Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks were the farthest Canaidan team to make it in the playoffs last season losing in the second round vs Vegas. The Canucks did not have an ideal offseason losing Toffoli (now MTL), Markstom (now CGY), Tanev (now CGY), Domingue (CGY) and Troy Stecher (now DET). All these players were an important part of the team and losing them and not really replacing them hurts their odds more in a close division like this one. Obviously Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser will carry most of the load but, will it be enough to make the playoffs over some other clubs?

Highest Scorer Prediction: Elias Pettersson

4. Winnipeg Jets

The Jets had a disappointing season last year besides Connor Hellebuyck’s vezina win after losing key players to injuries in a sad qualifying round against the Flames. The Jets have a great Top-6 forward group heading into this upcoming season with Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine, Paul Stastny and Nikolaj Ehlers who could easily help out in the win department with all of them having the ability to score goals and create great offense to outscore the opponent. It also helps that Hellebuyck is back there to bail your team out on a nightly basis but I can’t see the Jets finishing higher or lower than the four slot here.

Highest Scorer Prediction: Mark Scheifele

3. Edmonton Oilers

When you talk about the Oilers you usually talk about Connor McDavid (and we’ll get to him) but teammate, Leon Draisaitl had a monster year last season, taking home the Hart, Ted Lindsay and Art Ross for the Oilers. The dynamic duo will need to bring back the amazing chemistry once again to leap their team in the playoffs along with their recent acquisitions made over the offseason. The players include Kyle Turris, Tyson Barrie, Jesse Puljujarvi and Dominik Kahun who will hopefully all provide the Oilers with something they struggle to get … depth scoring. With 97 and 29 chugging all season, the other players surrounding this team will need to step up mightily to help this team be successful.

Highest Scorer Prediction: Connor McDavid

2. Calgary Flames

The Flames made some big signings on the back end of their team this offseason bringing in former Canucks, Chris Tanev and goaltender Jacob Markstrom. Markstrom will provide the teams first legit starting goalie since Miikka Kiprusoff back in the day that immediately helps the team right now. On the forward front, they added depth pieces for scoring issues such as Dominik Simon, Josh Leivo and Joakim Nordstrom. Now to the team upfront that is still currently there, they really need a bounce back from Johnny Gaudreau who didn’t have a great year to his standards at all. Gaudreau is their best offensive weapon up front and if he’s going at 100 percent all season, look out for him to be racking up points and being a true leader to get this team in the playoffs again.

Highest Scorer Prediction: Johnny Gaudreau

1. Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs had a disappointing end to the season last playoffs, losing in five games to the Blue Jackets on basically home ice. In the offseason, they made many moves that can hopefully make great impacts and lead this team past the first round for the first time since 2004. Some of the players they got were Wayne Simmonds, T.J. Brodie, Joey Anderson, Zach Bogosian, Jimmy Vesey, Aaron Dell, Travis Boyd, and “Jumbo” Joe Thornton. All these players make the Leafs a more physical and just better team in general and that will be put to the test on the ice for the fans to see. There is no question the Leafs have a ton of young skill that can be considered “Canada’s Best” but it’s up to guys like Matthews, William Nylander, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and Morgan Rielly to bring this team towards winning which the city is dying for. Will they do it? Will have to wait and watch.

Highest Scorer Prediction: Mitch Marner

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