One Thought About Each North Division Team
Today I wanted to write down some thoughts about each team in the North Division. Grab that second or third coffee of the day and enjoy the read. We will go down the list based off of the current standings.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
I'm not suggesting the Leafs window to win closes after this season but I don't think they will ever have as good an opportunity to win the Cup as this. Toronto is the best team in this division and I don't think it's close right now. Not only are they an elite offensive team but I've been impressed with how good they have been at shutting down other high end offenses such as the Oilers. To top it all off they have a goaltender who could be elite in any playoff series and I don't mean Fredrick Andersen.
After a couple rough years it looked like the Jets window had closed but a few astute moves and it looks like this team will be in the mix for years to come. Most of the best players are locked up to some pretty team friendly deals and while guys like Copp and Pionk are going to get raises there is money coming off the books to get those deals done and still have plenty left over.
Once the playoffs hit anything can happen but I do believe the Oilers are the most incomplete team out of any of the playoff contenders in the North Division. Every team deals with low periods but the Oilers are still too much of a rollercoaster to be looked at as a true contender. This off-season will set the tone for the Oilers next five years as Holland will have almost unlimited cap space to build around the core.
Prior to adding Eric Staal I felt the Canadiens had the most balanced lineup in the North and his addition only helps to solidify my argument. While there is no true elite forward in Montreal, they are dangerous no matter what line hits the ice. The Gallagher injury is a huge blow to a team I think has the ability to challenge the Leafs. If this team wants to go on a deep run I would start running Jake Allen in net more than Carey Price.
This season has been about as worst case scenario as could have been drawn up for the Canucks. The team as a whole took a massive step back from their previous playoff success due to some rough years for some players and a failure to replace players that left last off-season. The current COVID issues are just the latest in a slew of news that will make this season one fans will want to forget about as quickly as possible. On the plus Demko certainly is looking like the real deal.
Coming from an Oilers blogger this will likely come off the wrong way but I think this is exactly the season that the Flames needed to have. Calgary has been a fringe team for nearly a decade and the lack of high end draft picks is hurting this organization. Lindholm and Monahan as a one-two punch isn't going to be enough to get Calgary past the first round of a playoff series. It's my personal opinion that Calgary should maximize their return on a couple of high end assets like Monahan and Gaudreau and bring up some of their young talent like Zary and Pelletier next season and see what they can do. Sutter is almost the worst possible coach for this approach.
It's been exactly the roller-coaster of a season most expected from the young Senators. While vets were brought in to try and shoulder the load it has been the young guns doing the heavy lifting. Batherson, Tkachuk, Chabot, Norris, and Stutzle are the top producers for Ottawa this season and all are under the age of 23 with the exception of Chabot who is 24. Between the pipes it is currently the 22 year old Filip Gustavsson who is giving Ottawa the best chance in net. There are going to be bumps but the future is bright for Ottawa.