A new year, a new division and some new and/or enhanced rivalries. The NHL’s realignment to allow a season to happen during this pandemic will see all 7 Canadian based teams in the new Scotia North Division. In order to get you ready to this new normal, we’ve reached out to our pals from the other Canadian SBN sites to have a quick chat about their teams.
1.- So... what’s new with you folks?
TJ Brodie, mostly.
2.- What’s the general mood amongst the fan base around this divisional realignment: Good, bad or otherwise? Are you mentally prepared for 10 games against Montreal?
Cautiously optimistic? On the one hand this season is going to be a lot more venomous because every other Canadian fanbase loathes us, but unquestionably the Canadian division is a lot easier to win than the Atlantic. With due respect to all involved, none of these teams are in the same class as Tampa Bay or Boston.
3.- The Leafs made some wholesale changes in the offseason, but who are some of the not yet familiar names we should know about heading into the season?
The aforementioned TJ Brodie, although you’ll have seen a lot of him already in Vancouver. The core of the team is largely unchanged, although we added a couple of old vets in Joe Thornton and Wayne Simmonds.
4.- Do you feel that the Leafs have addressed the issues facing the team after another first round playoff exit?
They’ve did about what they reasonably could have done without pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Short of liquidating half the depth and signing Alex Pietrangelo, there weren’t a ton of great defence upgrades to be had, and Brodie at least fits the requirements. I think the team is a little better on merit, but the honest truth was that the Leafs’ goaltending last year was a lot worse than seems to be popularly recognized. Just that regressing positively would help a bunch.
5.- When the smoke clears, are the Leafs in the top 4 in the shiny new Scotia North Division?
Yeah. If they’re not then a few big names are going to be out of the organization pretty quick.
Thanks to Fulemin for taking time to chat with us, and make sure to check out PPP for all the info you need about our new divisional opponent.