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The NHL’s Great White North (Sponsored by Scotia)

The NHL will have new divisions for the 2021 season. We are previewing what to expect from the new North Division.

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The NHL’s Great White North (Sponsored by Scotia)


Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

The NHL 2021 season will begin on January 13th, and it will look a bit different. Most notably, there will be new division realignments due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. The season will consist of 56 games played over 116 days, and includes an increased amount of back-to-back games. Each team will only play within their division, and the top four teams from each division will make the playoffs.

This season is going to be a brave new world for the NHL, and we’re continuing our preview series with a look at the new North Division.

Who’s in the division?

  • Calgary Flames
  • Edmonton Oilers
  • Montreal Canadiens
  • Ottawa Senators
  • Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Vancouver Canucks
  • Winnipeg Jets

This should be called the “Great White North” Division. Sponsored by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Right? Bueller? Okay, fine. They can be the Scotia NHL North Division. BORING.

Who are the new faces?

In a way, everyone is new. The teams are coming in from the former Atlantic, Central, and Pacific divisions. But to dig a little deeper…

Corey Perry, Right Wing, Montreal Canadiens

The veteran Canadian National Team winger joins his third NHL franchise, the first based in his native country. After a 14-year stint playing for Anaheim, Perry joined the Dallas Stars and made a run to the Stanley Cup Finals last season. He brings some much needed leadership and playoff experience to a Montreal team that can’t seem to get out of its own way as of late.

Braden Holtby, Goaltender, Vancouver Canucks

After spending the whole of his 11 year career with the Washington Capitols, Braden Holtby got out of dodge and traveled just about as far as he could have gone to don his new jersey. Vancouver has only made the playoffs in one of the past five years, while Holtby has only missed them once in the past seven. Bringing along with him the experience of winning the Stanley Cup, Holtby can provide stability between the posts as the Canucks try to build upon last year’s success.

Who was told goodbye?

Jacob Markström, Goaltender, Calgary Flames

The Swedish netminder is widely considered one of the best in the league. Now, he’s moving a little bit east out of Vancouver, and a little further up the win column to Calgary. Markström joins an already talented Flames team, who hope to keep the heat on this season and finish as “The Kings of the North.”

Max Domi, Center, Columbus Blue Jackets

Domi left Montreal to sign a deal worth $5.3 million per year over two years with the Blue Jackets. Over the course of his career, Domi has netted 81 times and assisted on 170 others. The former 12th overall pick will be looking to regain his 2018-2019 form, during which he played in all 82 games, collected 72 points, and had a plus/minus of +20.

What should fans watch for?

Oh, Canada

The NHL is the only league in North America that boasts this many Canadian teams. In effect, we’re going to be watching a mini-Canadian league, and there’s something exciting about that. It’s been a while since any team from beyond the wall has made it to a Stanley Cup (Vancouver in 2011), let alone won (Montreal in 1993). This is Canada’s chance to spice up a product they created, and lay the groundwork for future success.

Travel Distance Effect

It’s going to be an interesting one. While the other three divisions are more regionally based in the US, there’s a far greater distance between the Western-most and Eastern-most teams in the Great White North. Traveling between Vancouver and Montreal is going to take a much bigger toll than going from DC to New York. With games coming fast and heavy in this shortened season, will that affect these teams more? Or will it push them to fight even harder to get closer to that elusive Stanley Cup?

How will the final standings look?

  • Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Calgary Flames
  • Edmonton Oilers
  • Montreal Canadiens
  • Vancouver Canucks
  • Winnipeg Jets
  • Ottawa Senators

I can’t stand Toronto (how could I as a Bruins fan?), but they look poised to take this division. It’s totally possible the Flames could bring the heat and topple them. Either way, one of those two is poised to be crowned Canada’s Next Great White North Division winner.

Kevin is an actor, director, playwright, and musician who works in tech. He is die hard New England sports and an avid Tottenham supporter. His qualifications include scoring 1 point in his elementary school basketball career, 4 years of mixed little league results, and breaking his arm with a skip-it days before pre-season workouts started for Freshman football.

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