Mailbag: Wild could benefit from being in West Division, Avalanche Eye Cup

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Which team (s) do you think will benefit the most from the realignment? Which team (s) do you think is / are the most disadvantaged? – @Rob_Oswald

The Minnesota Wild seems to be able to benefit greatly. They are in the West Division with the Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights. . I think we could all agree that the Avalanche, Blues and Golden Knights are the top three teams in the West, regardless of your current standings. But there is an opening for fourth place, and the Wilds appear to be in a better position to grab that in the West than if they were still in the old Central Division, where they would face the Winnipeg Jets, Predators. of Nashville, Chicago. Blackhawks and Dallas Stars with the Avalanche and Blues. I don’t believe the Ducks, Coyotes, Kings and Sharks are on par with the Jets, Predators, Blackhawks, and Stars. Without realignment, I would put the Wild sixth in Central behind Colorado, St. Louis, Dallas, Winnipeg and Nashville, giving them no chance of making the Stanley Cup playoffs. In this division, I think they have a chance to be slightly ahead of the Coyotes and Sharks, and much further than the Kings and Ducks, which puts them in a position to finish fourth and make the playoffs. playoffs.

I also think the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators have an interest in moving away from teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins of the old Atlantic Division towards the North Division with less proven teams like the Jets, the Vancouver Canucks, the Edmonton Oilers. and the Calgary Flames. If I had to face a team of nine or ten teams in one season, I’d rather it not be the Lightning or the Bruins, the last two teams to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup final.

In the East Division, the Bruins will take a top-four spot as one of the former Metro Division’s playoff contenders. This puts the Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders and New York Rangers in jeopardy. With Boston joining them, only three of the five I just mentioned will likely make the playoffs.

Which division do you find the most difficult and why? – @whoopoi

We organized a round table on this topic ran on monday. Nine NHL.com editors were asked to choose which new division each considers the most difficult. Five voted for the East, two for the North and one each for the Center and the West. One person who chose each division explained why they made that choice. I joined Mike Zeisberger to select the North division as the most difficult.

I was about to pick the East, very close actually, but on closer inspection I saw six teams in the North that in a normal season should qualify for the playoffs: the Canadians, Maple Leafs, Oilers, Canucks, Flames. and Jets. Only four of them can do it this season. The Senators, the only Canada-based team not ready to be a playoff team, have improved on paper during the offseason to the point where they should now be a tough opponent.

In this division made up of the seven teams based in Canada, you have the Battle of Alberta (Edmonton vs. Calgary) and the Battle of Ontario (Toronto vs. Ottawa). You got the Oilers center Leon Draisaitl, the reigning Hart Trophy, Ted Lindsay Prize and Art Ross Trophy winner. You have his teammate Connor McDavid, arguably the best player in the NHL. The division includes nine of last season’s top 25 scorers, the most of all four divisions. It includes the Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck, who won the Vezina Trophy, was voted top NHL goalie last season, and Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes, who was voted a finalist for the Calder Trophy as the top rookie. And that only scratches the surface of individual talents and rivalries in the division.

If playing in their home arenas, the seven teams in the North Division will have the most trips in the League, being the only teams that will require intercontinental flights. If they don’t, we’re talking about the potential of a hub city, which comes with a host of other challenges. And to top it off, an entire hockey loving country will be tuned in to every game because for the first time, we’ll really know who Canada’s best team is.

Where do you think Elias Pettersson rank or will he rank in the list of top forwards in the North Division? @ ekf2749

In our Super 16 which took place last week, we ranked the best forwards in the NHL, regardless of their position. I had Pettersson, the Canucks center, in 8th place, third among the players in the North Division behind McDavid and Draisaitl. Maple Leafs Center Auston Matthews was # 11, the fourth and last player I had ranked in the North Division.

I wouldn’t be surprised if at the end of the season Pettersson climbed into my top five and No. 2 among forwards in the North Division due to his full play. For now, he must be behind McDavid and Draisaitl due to their elite point production. Draisaitl led the NHL with 110 points (43 goals, 67 assists) in 71 games last season, and McDavid was second with 97 points (34 goals, 63 assists) in 64 games. Pettersson was tied for 20th with 66 points (27 goals, 39 assists) in 68 games. I should note that Draisaitl averaged 22:37 ice time per game, McDavid 21:52 and Pettersson 18:32. I can’t ignore the drastic difference in production, but maybe at least a small part is the result of ice time. A better read might be points per 60 minutes. Draisaitl averaged 2.99 points per 60 minutes last season, McDavid 2.89 and Pettersson 2.58. It’s still a big gap. Pettersson, however, should be able to improve his points by 60 this season, his third in the NHL, and his two-man game should continue to be among the best in the league.

Video: Top 10 Elias Pettersson plays from 2019-20

How high is the Colorado Avalanche this season? What do you honestly think of the way they’re going to do it? – @ jlwillert15

Stanley Cup or bust. This is not a rash or daring prediction. I think the Avalanche are the best team in the West Division and I’m about to argue that they are the best team in the NHL. The reason I’m still giving it to the Lightning is the confidence I have in the goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and defender Victor Hedman. The Avalanche don’t have a goalkeeper like Vasilevskiy or a defender like Hedman. But they’re so deep and balanced that they don’t need to have these players to win the Stanley Cup. They absolutely need the center Nathan MacKinnon to be the best player in the NHL, like he was last season and especially in the playoffs, in my opinion. They need a defender Cale Makar to build on his rookie season, when he won the Calder Trophy, voted Rookie of the Year, and become a real candidate for the Norris Trophy. And they need a goalie Philipp Grubauer to stay healthy, a problem for him last season. If that happens, the Avalanche is good enough to win the Stanley Cup.

Will there be an AHL season? – @BryanLotto

This is the plan. The American Hockey League is currently planning to open its regular season on February 5. The American League Board of Governors is expected to meet in the next two weeks to determine the logistics for the season, including the opening date of training camps, number of games, schedule, division rosters. and the playoff format.

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