A breakdown of what to expect from each team in Northern Division in the 2021 NHL Season.
After being eliminated in the first round of the 2020 playoffs, the Flames aimed high with the acquisition of free agent G Jacob Markstrom and defensemen Alexander Petrovic and Chris Tanev. They will only be competing with other Canadian teams so look out for 8 games against their long time rival in Edmonton.
After a disappointing loss in the qualifying round of last year’s playoffs the Oilers added Tyson Barrie on the back end and forwards Kyle Turris, Dominik Kahun, and got back Jesse Puljujarvi. They will likely have a similar regular season and make the playoffs but a deep run is unlikely as the Oilers haven’t been able to make noise in the postseason since making it to the second round in 2017.
Last year, Montreal was eliminated in the qualifying round at the hands of the Flyers. By bringing in Jake Allen they can expect him to add onto the already excellent goaltending department. They lost Max Domi but made good moves and still have more young talent which should show improvement from last year’s results.
Their rebuild is almost finished. Their goaltending has made an upgrade with Matt Murray and hope to improve further to stay competitive. They have new youth coming up who are only getting better each year like Brady Tkachuk and Tim Stutzle.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Key acquisitions such as Joe Thornton, Wayne Simmonds, and Jimmy Vesey along with several others are necessary when your roster took a hit during the offseason. It will be difficult to tell if the newcomers outweigh the departures on the roster but with Toronto’s front loaded talent, they should be a strong player in the Canadian division.
After taking a hard hit in free agency losing starting netminder Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver got one of the hottest free agent netminders in Braden Holtby. He and Demko make a great tandem but the rest of the young team will need to step up because their goal is no longer just to make the playoffs anymore.
Vezina winning goaltender Connor Hellebuyck is now recognized as one of the top in the league. After last year’s disappointing elimination in the qualifying rounds and Patrick Laine’s future with the team uncertain, this is a critical year for Winnipeg that could go either way in this competitive division.
North Division Prediction: