The Toronto Maple Leafs may be moved from the Atlantic Division into an all-Canadian division for the 2021 season.
The Toronto Raptors will be playing in the USA this season because of Covid related travel restrictions and precautions. It therefore stands to reason that the Toronto Maple Leafs would also not be permitted by the government to engage in normal travel practices.
Which brings us to the Canadian Division, a possible solution to the NHL’s international travel woes. Obviously, this division would feature the seven Canadian NHL teams: Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
How do the Toronto Maple Leafs stack up? Over the next week we are going to dig into each team in the division and see.
Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens finished last season fifth in the Atlantic and would have definitely missed the playoffs. They were probably a slightly unlucky team last year, as their advanced stats were good, but then again, they also are a team that lacks finishers.
The Habs were gifted a playoff spot due to 24 teams being allowed to try and qualify. They they then defeated the Penguins and moved on to the regular Playoffs where they lost to the Flyers. This is a good example of how using playoff success to gauge a team’s success is pretty dumb since the Canadiens made it farther the Leafs, but have a team that is maybe 10% as good. That is to say that results are a little bit random and we definitely read too much into them.
The Canadiens are one of those teams that isn’t good enough to do anything unless they get super lucky, but who aren’t bad enough to pick high in the draft. You could make a pretty good argument that they would have been better off missing the playoffs and getting a lottery pick, like they were supposed to.
Their bizarre off season did nothing to suggest otherwise. They traded Max Domi for Josh Anderson a trade so stupid and ill advised I thought Peter Chiarlelli had been hired to run their team. They then signed Anderson to a brutal contract that didn’t make any sense either.
Despite having Carey Price (overrated) the Canadiens went out and got Jake Allen, overpaying for him with a 3rd, and taking on all of his nearly five million dollar cap hit. The Canadiens then signed him to a two year extension with a cap hit of nearly three million.
Considering the unpredictability of goalies and the fact that only 2 goals per hundred shots separates a star and a dud, it makes no sense to spend assets on goalie. Sinking this much cap into two goalies is probably the dumbest thing any team in the NHL has done (expect maybe the Islanders punting Devon Toews for nothing because they signed nine fourth liners to contract extensions).
The Canadians also extended Jeff Petry who is 32 and Gallagher who is 28 to long-term deals that are truly astounding. The Canadiens prevented themselves from rebuilding, they signed players they probably should have traded, committed way too much money to the one position you should be extremely frugal with and made one of the worst trades in recent NHL history.
Marc Bergevin is truly a horrible general manager that reminds this humble scribe of David Nonis, if Dave Nonis could bench press a small truck. Their off-season seems like it was designed by a stoned teenager simulating a season of NHL 21. The Canadiens will be easy picking for the rest of the all Canadian division and its not impossible that Ottawa passes them.
Their fans should be angry as hell.