Scotia North Division Power Rankings: Who Can Compete With The Toronto Maple Leafs?
|Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports|
The Scotia North division has arguably been the best division to watch on a nightly basis. Packed with some of the best players in the game, it hasn't been hard to find a game worth putting aside whatever you were doing to pay attention to what's happening.
But which team reigns supreme? Who is a threat going forward? We take a look at the best in the division so far.
1. Toronto Maple Leafs: 16-4-2 (34 points) 77.3 Points%
Easily the class of the North division, and they've done so behind solid defense (I know right) and Auston Matthews not being able to miss the back of the net. Matthews has played in 20 games this season, and hasn't scored in just seven of them. His pace is amazing, just missing time with an injury as well as the shortened season is going to kill his overall output.
2. Winnipeg Jets: 13-6-1 (27 points) 67.5 Points%
Originally had Edmonton second. Mike Smith has been great but I'll take Connor Hellebuyck (even though he's struggled some this season) and Winnipeg's overall depth over the Oilers.
Mark Scheifele can't be labeled as underrated anymore as national spotlight is on him nightly now. It might have already been an overused headline going into this season, but using it now is definitely one too many times.
The Jets are so deep down the middle that Pierre-Luc Dubois is seeing time on the wing right now. I'll always contend that it would have been better to push for a defenseman in exchange of Patrik Laine, but you don't pass on PLD in that situation, especially when the player you traded killed any leverage you had with teams.
3. Edmonton Oilers: 14-9-0 (28 points) 60.9 Points%
Is anyone arguing against Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl being the best duo centers in the league? Would be hard to make the argument against it. The difference this year could come down to how long Smith can continue to perform at this level in net.
4. Montreal Canadiens: 9-6-5 (23 points) 57.5 Points%
My how the might have fallen? Didn't seem like it was too long ago that Toronto and Montreal were going to battle it out for the top spot in Canada for the entire season.
Now you have to wonder if the Habs are going to be able to survive long enough to make the playoffs. Carey Price needs to get better, just imagine how bad things would be if not for Jake Allen?
One thing to take hope in? Montreal has the best expected goal share at 5v5 in the league right now. Chances are going their way, and numbers say they should be doing better. Let's see if the coaching change is what it takes to get things on the right path.
5. Calgary Flames: 10-10-2 (22 points) 50.0 Points%
Johnny Hockey is back for the Flames, averaging nearly a point-per-game (20 points, 22 games). Matthew Tkachuk has been his usual pain in the behind self to play against and Jacob Markstrom has been worth them splurging in free agency for.
Let's see if they can hold the fort down while he is out.
6. Vancouver Canucks: 8-14-2 (18 points) 37.5 Points%
If you want to watch high-chance, high-scoring games, look no further than the Canucks. Not only do they score, but they don't really do much to keep the puck out of their own net. Thatcher Demko is starting to show more of his late-playoff self, but more is needed.
7. Ottawa Senators: 7-15-1 (15 points) 32.5 Points%
They are still a bad team, but they have had quite a few remarkable feats this season. Their comeback against the Maple Leafs was amazing, and their two-game sweep of the Habs was the breaking point in making that goalie change.
The other Tkachuk, Brady, has been nothing short of amazing for the Senators. He has nine goals and 16 points in 23 games played this season
Ottawa have plenty of young players worth tuning in for, but they also have Erik Gudbranson who let Corey Perry do this to him.
Yea, that wasn't pretty.
What did you think of the rankings? What would you change? Let us know in the comment section below, subscribe to the site at the link on the top of the page and follow me on Twitter @AJ_Murfy.