It’s August, and the last interesting thing in the hockey offseason is done (if you can call arbitration hearings interesting). But, apparently there are still questions that need to be answered.
Is Altantic division the hardest division to win in or is it still Metropolitan in all of NHL?
— Andrew (@FerenClaw) August 5, 2018
I’d argue that both divisions are hard to win in in different ways. The Metropolitan division is hard to win in because the number of good teams in it makes it hard to make the playoffs. Between Pittsburgh, Washington, Columbus, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and maybe Carolina, it’s hard to squeeze into the 4-5 possible spots, but once you’re in, it’s a relatively even pool between the teams, and any team could pull ahead of another and win the Cup.
The Atlantic division is easy to make the playoffs in because there aren’t a lot of good teams in it. Ottawa, Montreal, and Detroit are bad, Buffalo is unproven but has potential, and Florida is just a little bit below good. It’s easy to make the playoffs in this division because of how little competition there is. But, once you’re in, it is a lot harder to advance in the playoffs between the powerhouses that are Tampa Bay, Boston, and Toronto and good teams are out in the first and second round of the playoffs that could make it to the Conference or Stanley Cup finals.
So, to summarize:
Metropolitan: More good teams, less great teams
Atlantic: Less good teams, more great teams
Which Leaf would you most like to join on summer vacation?
— Todd Leigh Offsyde (@Totally_Offside) August 6, 2018
William Nylander because no matter where you are in the world, you always have a great view.
Who's more likely to be the Leafs 4th line winger by the end itf the season: Leivo or Ennis?
— The Leafs In My Opinion (@TheLeafsIMO) August 6, 2018
I wouldn’t be shocked if the Leafs 2018-19 version of Johnsson and Kapanen (Grundstrom?) cracks the lineup near the end of the season and replaces Leivo/Ennis around playoff time. But, if I had to pick the two of them, I’d go Ennis, just because it seems very unlikely that Babcock will ever use Leivo again.
Is Matthews the fourth best centre in the NHL?
— DHouse (@DreadLWRoberts) August 6, 2018
There’s a reasonable argument for both. You could look at Matthews season, and how he was a point per game last season, and that he’s tied with McDavid for the most even strength goals over the last two years, and that he’s just getting better, and say that he could certainly be the fourth best centre in the league.
But, look at who’s ahead of him. McDavid, Crosby, and Malkin are by far the three best centres in the league, and no one is touching them. They’re in a tier of their own. So, do you really think Auston Matthews is the best centre in the next tier? Maybe, but you could make a case for several other centres as well.
Matthews will eventually reach that point in his career, maybe as soon as this upcoming season. But I don’t know if he’s quite there yet.
When do we get Parayko
— veets (@beerveets) August 6, 2018
I don’t know when, but there is chatter that the package will be Brown, Nielsen, and a 2nd.
Odds of Nylander not having a deal by training camp?
— Rask for Raycroft (@RaskForRaycroft) August 6, 2018
I feel like the Nylander contract is close to done, they just stopped working on it for a while, since it is August. It might cut close to training camp, but I feel like it will get done sometime in late August/early September.
Whats your opening night lineup for the leafs?
— Justgivner (@Cpgrose3435) August 6, 2018
My ideal lineup would be as follows:
Marleau – Matthews – Nylander
Hyman – Tavares – Marner
Johnsson – Kadri – Kapanen
Ennis/Leivo – Lindholm/Jooris – Brown
Gardiner – Rielly
Dermott – Carrick
Marincin – Zaitsev
But I doubt that happens.
What's the likelihood of the Leafs making any more trades before the season starts?
— Vito (@Vitorious13) August 6, 2018
Very likely, considering that the Leafs still have four NHL calibre goalies, and not all of them are going to clear waivers. If they want some return, they’ll have to trade one of Sparks or Pickard.
Which other NHL players from the GTA can you see wearing the blue and white in the future
— Luca Andreetta (@Luca_Andree19) August 6, 2018
Well, Tyler Seguin is a UFA next summer.