NHL Standings Projections: Kings of Each Division
By; Joe Borek (jjborek26)
As we enter another week in the NHL filled with unfortunate delays due to Covid, I figured to brighten the mood with a standings projection piece. At least brighten the mood for each fan base I predict to be in first place in each new division. So without further ado, let us get right into it.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs have gotten off to a flamming start at 10-2-1. Mitch Marner is going off like never before with 21 points in 13 games. Matthews is not far behind with 15 in 11 games played. The keys to their success have been the special teams. The Leafs are third in the league on the powerplay thus far and show no signs of slowing down due to their immense skill on the roster. Their Pk leaves lots of room for improvement, however, ranked 23rd. That is about their only bad ranking, though. Goals for they are fourth, and goals against they are ranked 8—all great numbers. With the way their playing right now and Frederik Andersen is playing in a contract year, there is no reason to think this team is not going to keep cruising and win the North.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Just like the Leafs, the Lightning have gotten off to a roaring start. They are 9-1-1 to start the season. It helps to have one of the league’s best goaltenders in Andrei Vasilevskiy combined with one of the league’s deepest rosters even without Kucherov. Oh, yea forgot; they also have a top-ranked defense as they are ranked number one in goals against and third in goals for. That is a recipe not only for success but also to win it all yet again. This team is for sure poised to run it back, especially if Kucherov comes back in the postseason. Stamkos is already seemingly back to his old self while Point keeps well raking up points. The Lightning will have to fend off the hot Panthers and likely come roaring behind them Hurricanes, but with their deep seems to have an answer for anything roster, there is no question they should finish atop the division.
Vegas Golden Knights
This is by far the hardest one to pick. The Blues, Avalanche, and Knights are all off to great starts. However, the Golden Knights have two top-notch goalies, with one already performing at that level in Marc-Andre Flower Fleury. Then Robin Lehner, who is not off to as hot of a start as he would wish but has plenty of time to turn it around and a great vet in Fleury to guide him along. This tandem has the potential to be the best in the league. That, paired with all the deep skill of Vegas and well-constructed defense, is why they should finish number one in this division, just over the Blues and Avalanche.
The Flyers have not even looked amazing yet by eyesight and are already off to an excellent record start. They are 8-3-2, and that’s with very inconsistent special teams plus not up to snuff play from Hart as of yet. Despite this, they are still sitting tied in points with the Bruins at 18. The Bruins have the tiebreaker due to beating the Flyers in more head to head matchups as of now. The Orange and Black will look to change that in Lake Tahoe. that is when they will meet their most significant challenge to obtaining the division crown yet again. With the goaltending tandem of Elliott and Hart, who will become the normal Hart in a short time, plus the Flyers JVR returning to form as other stays on stride, this team; is in a prime position to win the division, especially if they make a move for a defender.