Toronto Maple Leafs: Forecasting the NHL’s 5 Best Teams in 2021-22

Brendan Smith #42 of the New York Rangers (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Brendan Smith #42 of the New York Rangers (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs, Connor McDavid
TORONTO,ON – JANUARY 22: Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers  (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

No. 4  Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers had one of the single worst off-seasons in the history of the NHL, and it is absolutely hilarious that their success this year will likely make the NHL’s worst GM by a mile, Ken Holland, look like he knew what he was doing.

Holland started the summer off strong by signing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to a below-market value contract extension. Great move.  Unfortunately he followed that move with a series of moves each more confounding and idiotic than the last. 

Duncan Keith shouldn’t be in the NHL unless he’s free to acquire and being paid the league minimum. The Oilers are traded assets for him and are paying him likes its 2014. Good times.

They gave Zach Hyman a seven year contract which brings two words to mind.  Those two words are “David” and “Clarkson.”

The Oilers gave too much money and term to Darnell Nurse, Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci.  They gave away a cheap and serviceable Ethan Bear to make it happen.  Ok then.

They have an unfathomably bad blue-line, and their decisions regarding goaltending are better left unexplored.

The bottom line: The Oilers are doing everything they can to waste the prime of Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid.

Fortunately for their fans, hockey is a game where the team with the best player usually wins. The Oilers have the best player, and in all games where they aren’t playing the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Colorado Avalanche, they’ll have the two best players.

And don’t forget, just because the contracts are dumb it doesn’t mean the players are bad.  Hyman and Nurse have terrible contracts due to the term, mostly.  They are still great players in 2021.

If the Oilers don’t get sabotaged by their goaltending , they are a serious Cup threat.  I rank them fourth because every team ahead of them has better goalies.  If the NHL is serious about calling more cross-checking penalties, no one stands to benefit more than the Oilers.

They are a legit Cup Contender.