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
Nikita Zadorov #16 of the Colorado Avalanche waits for a faceoff against the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

No.2 Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche won the President’s Trophy last year and should have no problem being one of the NHL’s top teams again this year.

They are a solid team from top to bottom, but they took a pretty big hit in net this summer when their goalie joined the Seattle Kraken.

Philipp Grubauer moving to Seattle hopefully means that I don’t have to try to spell his name correctly quite so often.  Other than that, it shouldn’t be a huge downgrade from him to Kuemper, with the caveat that Kuemper is often injured.

This is a guy who has to wear safety equipment to a butterfly conservatory, but who, when healthy, is one of the top goalies in the NHL.

The Avs forwards are not anywhere close to the Leafs but it’s on defense where they make every other team jealous.

Their top trio of Cale Makar, Samuel Girard and Devon Toews is incredible.  Their fourth and fifth defensemen are former first and second overall picks Ryan Murray and Erik Johnson.  Their sixth best defender might be future star Bowen Byram.

This is a sick lineup.  They are maybe the team to beat, if not for a certain Dynasty-Seeking Tampa Bay Lightning.