NHL North Division Preview: Outlook, Predictions For All Seven Teams

The all-Canadian division surely will be a battle

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHL realigned the divisions for this season to limit on travel.

Only inter-division games will be played this season, so teams will become plenty familiar with one another.

Today, we’re looking at the NHL’s North Division.

Ottawa Senators
Additions: Alex Galchenyuk, Evgenii Dadonov, Austin Watson, Erik Gudbranson, Josh Brown, Matt Murray, Tim Stuetzle, Jake Sanderson
Subtractions: Bobby Ryan, Anthony Duclair, Tyler Ennis, Mark Borowiecki, Ron Hainsey, Mikkel Boedker, Craig Anderson
2019-20 record: 25-34-12 

The Senators did make a lot of progress during the offseason after finishing near the bottom of the NHL standings in three straight seasons.

It probably will be more of the same this season for Ottawa despite its two top-five 2020 NHL Draft picks, as the team will continue to rebuild and grow.

Prediction: Seventh in the division

Vancouver Canucks
Additions: Braden Holtby, Nate Schmidt, Jayce Hawlerchyk
Subtractions:
Jacob Markstrom, Christopher Tanev, Louis Domingue, Leivo, Tyler Toffoli, Troy Stetcher, Oscar Fantenberg, Tim Schaller
2019-20 record:
36-27-6

The Canucks may finally have turned a corner despite losing some big names over the offseason.

Thatcher Demko proved he’s a capable goalie and will be a nice backup to Braden Holtby. However, Vancouver still is lacking a right-shot defenseman after losing Tanev to the Calgary Flames

There still are some questions, but the talent is there and it should be enough to get the Canucks into the postseason.

Prediction: Third in the division

Edmonton Oilers
Additions: Alan Quine, Tyson Barrie, Dominik Kahun, Jesse Puljujarvi, Seth Griffith, Kyle Turris
Subtractions:
Tomas Jurco, Andreas Athanasiou, Riley Sheahan, Sam Gagner, Matt Benning, Markus Granlund, Mike Green
2019-20 record:
37-25-9

The Oilers were a surprise team during the bubble last season and certainly exceeded expectations. But their offseason being limited to minor moves may hinder their playoff hopes.

There’s no denying the talent Edmonton boasts in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, but no upgrade was made to its goaltending. In a division that has some top-notch goalies, this could be the Oilers’ downfall.

Prediction: Sixth in the division

Montreal Canadiens
Additions: Tyler Toffoli, Jake Allen, Joel Edmundson, Josh Anderson
Subtractions:
Max Domi, Dale Weise, Keith Kinkaid
2019-20 record:
31-31-9

Montreal was busy this offseason and signed Tyler Toffoli, Josh Anderson — who should make up for the loss of Max Domi — and Joel Edmunson.

Carey Price also should receive more rest over the course of the campaign given the addition of Jake Allen, which should make the Habs contenders this season.

Prediction: Fourth in the division

Winnipeg Jets
Additions: Paul Stastny, Nate Thompson, Dominic Toninato, Derek Forbort, Luca Sbisa
Subtractions:
Cody Eakin, Dmitry Kulikov, Anthony Bitetto, Carl Dahlstrom
2019-20 record:
37-28-6

Signing Stastny means the Jets finally have a second-line center, but it will be tough for them to earn a playoff spot in this division.

Winnipeg does boast a dangerous offense, and you can’t forget about 2019-20 Vezina Trophy winner Conner Hellebuyck being back between the pipes.

The Jets will be competitive but ultimately will be left on the outside looking in.

Prediction: Fifth in the division

Toronto Maple Leafs
Additions: T.J. Brodie, Wayne Simmonds, Jimmy Vesey, Travis Boyd, Joey Anderson, Zach Bogosian, Aaron Dell, Joe Thornton
Subtractions:
Dmytro Timashov, Tyson Barrie, Cody Ceci, Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, Kyle Clifford
2019-20 record:
36-25-9

The Maple Leafs finally addressed some of their defensive needs by signing Brodie and Bogosian, while Simmonds and Vesey also should make immediate impacts.

Couple that with Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander and Toronto is a more dangerous team than last season. It’s fair to think it will be competing for that top spot in the division.

Prediction: Second in the division

Calgary Flames
Additions: Jacob Markstrom, Christopher Tanev, Josh Leivo, Louis Domingue, Joakim Nordstrom, Dominik Simon
Subtractions:
Derek Forbort, Cam Talbot, T.J. Brodie, Travis Hamonic, Tobias Reider, Mark Jankowski, Michael Stone, Alan Quine
2019-20 record:
36-27-7

Calgary lost some key defensive players over the offseason but was able to sign Tanev and replaced Talbot with Markstrom between the pipes.

If Johnny Gaudreau can build on his 58-point season, Sean Monohan can bounce back and the Flames make some minor changes to their bottom-six, they should be a top contender for the division title.

Prediction: First in the division

Thumbnail photo via Perry Nelson/USA TODAY Sports Images

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