I’m not aiming to go to my mate here at all, but it’s a question worth evaluating because just think about it: as we see these teams playing only against each other all year round, it’s going to be very hard to predict how they would fare. they can deviate from their divisional boundaries. All we can do is set expectations for each division and guess.
Amber’s claim is that it’s a good top-down division, that teams have improved in the offseason, that there are a bunch of great goalies and you can tell she has the largest collection of elite young talent with guys like Connor. McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Auston Matthews, Elias Pettersson and more. These are all true things in my opinion.
It’s because of these things that I am pump to see these teams face off in repeat this coming season. This will be the must-see TV, in large part because of all of its offensive capabilities, and… which I’m not sure any of the teams defend particularly well. We’ll talk about betting a bit more in a second, but for a little treat first, I say “done.”
Focusing on these strengths, I can agree that this is a good division – there is talent everywhere and a high percentage of teams that are not outwardly bad. When the NHL established its “return to play” format at 24 teams last season, six of seven Canadian teams qualified. My point when I said the General Division is “only OK” is because I don’t see many legitimate Stanley Cup favorites there.
Here are today’s Stanley Cup odds from Coolbet. It’s important to remember that “the odds that get people to bet” (part of how the lines of play are set) are not just a list of actual Cup odds. But as the guidelines for team capacity disappear, that’s a fair enough indicator. Either way, those are roughly comparable pre-season odds for these teams to win the Cup this season. (The odds are listed as “bet $ 100 and your payout is that bet plus the number shown.”)
Those odds have a Canadian team, the Leafs, in the top 10. Three Canadian teams are in the top 15, with the odds of the other four appearing in the lower half of the NHL. These are just play odds, but they don’t mean anything.
Where they came from is recent history, and although many Canadian teams have qualified for the prelims, as I noted, only the Canucks have made it to the eighth of final and win a series.
Looking at the year ahead, here is what my understanding of the divisions looks like right now:
Canadian Division: Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg.
“Pacific”: Anaheim, Arizona, Colorado, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Minnesota, San Jose et St. Louis.
« Central »: Caroline, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Floride, Nashville et Tampa Bay.
Northeast: Boston, Buffalo, New Jersey, Islanders, Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington.
The organization of these divisions is based on recent reports, although it has not yet been voted on to confirm. But even though there are changes to the above, I can’t imagine they would be too drastic. So, we are close here. A quick analysis of these divisions leaves me with this:
Peaceful: Colorado, Vegas, and St. Louis should miss this one, Minnesota (and San Jose?) Possibly having pain in the ass.
Central: Here we have legitimate Cup hopes defending defending champions Tampa Bay and Caroline, with quality challengers in Dallas, Nashville and Columbus.
Northeast: It’s the home of the Bruins and Penguins and Flyers and Capitals and Islanders, and feel free to add more “ands” depending on how much you value other teams.
So if I had to rank the divisions based on the most likely to produce our 2020-2021 Stanley Cup champion, I think I could have the Canadian division last.
Peaceful: Colorado / Vegas
Central: Tampa Bay
Northeast: Bruins and more
Conversely, if I were to classify the divisions by global strength, I think I would rearrange this significantly. By depth quality (teams that will participate in the playoffs and could compete more):
Northeast (and it’s not near)
I imagine most people would have the middle two as somewhat interchangeable.
There’s a lot of preseason projections and general subjectivity here, but like the sport on bar stools says, that’s how I’m heading into the season. The Canadian division is good in that it has a lot of teams that would compete and likely make the playoffs in previous years. It’s “just OK” in that I don’t see a lot of threats for the top teams in the league.
So what do you think? Let us know in the comment section below. How does the Canadian Division compare to the other three in total and in terms of the likelihood of producing a Cup champion?