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) /
6 of 6
Toronto Maple Leafs
David Savard #58 of the Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The NHL’s Best Team: Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning having the NHL’s best 3rd line was like having George Harrison in the Beatles – incredible, but not strictly necessary for chart topping dominance.

Without Harrison, in his own right, one of the best song writers to ever live, the Beatles still had Lennon/McCartney , and the Lightning, without their depth, still have enough star players to be the NHL’s best team.

Hedman, Stamkos, Kucherov, Point, Sergachev and Vasilevski are a good enough core to win a Cup even if the rest of their roster was made up of a collection of the worst players in the NHL, which is certainly is not.

The Lightning have to be seen as the NHL’s best team until somehow shows otherwise. The fact is, they just won two Stanley Cups in back-to-back years, in what may well be the toughest circumstances a Cup winning team has had to face.

Additionally, the last time they didn’t win the Stanley Cup, there were more or less the best regular season team the NHL has seen since the 1976 Montreal Canadiens, or the mid-Eighties Oilers.

The Lighting remain the NHL’s best team, but the Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs, Oilers and Rangers will try their best to usurp them.

Next. Top 5 Best Case Scenarios for the Leafs This Year. dark

Additionally, here are some teams I see falling back a little this year: Florida, the Islanders, The Golden Knights, and the Hurricanes.