The National Hockey League (NHL) finally agreed on a 56-game season that will begin on January 13th and 14th for teams across the league. Teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs were able to get back on the ice, some for the first time in almost nine months.
The NHL and NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA) were deadlocked in talks that lasted quite some time, making for the late start. Meanwhile, the NBA got its season up and running before the 2020 holidays, but the NHL and NHLPA stayed deliberating, but the details have emerged, and it is time for hockey once again.
With this 56-game season coming into focus, a divisional realignment leaves all seven Canadian teams together in the NHL’s North Division for the 2020-2021 season. These seven Canadian teams are facing off with one another all year long as will all of the other teams across the league who are confined to divisional play only.
It has been a hurdle for the Canadian teams to get provincial approval to get these games underway amid the COVID-19 pandemic that is still causing issues globally. However, there is a lot to be taken away from this NHL and NHLPA agreement for bettors, along with the divisional realignment.
What does this mean for bettors?
The 2020-21 NHL season is nearing, and bettors who are itching to find a safe bet, look no further than the Toronto Maple Leafs. While it may not be a “sure-thing,” bettors should be confident in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ chances of winning the North Division and coming into the postseason with a good shot to make it to the Stanley Cup Championship and win it all.
With NHL Futures odds already released and the 2019-20 champion, the Tampa Bay Lightning, are not the top team. The youthful Colorado Avalanche have jumped ahead, with +600 odds to win it all. But the focus of this article is on that All-Canadian Division and trying to find the clear-cut winner for Bettors.
The Maple Leafs should capture their division with ease and come into the postseason looking for revenge after some early exits in recent years. According to Vegas Insider, the Maple Leafs are currently +1100 to win the Stanley Cup, which is better than any of the other Canadian teams.
The next closest team from the North Division is the Edmonton Oilers, who are +2700 to win the Stanley Cup, leaving quite the gap between them and the Maple Leafs at +1100. The Maple Leafs should be a favorite amongst bettors looking for upside from the NHL’s North Division during the 2020-21 season.
While Futures are fun, do not be afraid to touch the Maple Leafs during the season, especially during their matchups with the weaker teams like the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens.
Here are some reasons why the Toronto Maple Leafs are a North Division Favorite.
First up, the Toronto Maple Leafs are coming off a 36-25-9 season that was cut short and capped at 70 games for Toronto. After a restart, the Maple Leafs would fall to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Qualifying Round of the Stanley Cup Championship Tournament, which is just embarrassing.
On top of this crushing loss, the organization had to deal with plenty of adversity on top of the whole pandemic stoppage that all of the teams’ dealt with. The organization lost one of its best defensemen, Morgan Rielly, who was injured with a back injury that would put a dark cloud over his season.
But most importantly, the team had to part ways with former coach Mike Babcock after 23 games of the season. Sheldon Keefe would take over, light a fire under the youngsters to get them to kick it into gear. Keefe is seemingly well respected amongst the players and will settle in nicely during his second season as bench boss.
Upfront, the organization has Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and John Tavares to continue the rampage of scoring. Frederik Andersen will be the teams’ dominant netminder once again during the 2020-21 season. After that loss in the qualifying loss to the Blue Jackets, bettors should be eager to pounce on the Leafs as they look to get back to the postseason and change the narrative.
NHL Futures bettors, go get that +1100 line for the Toronto Maple Leafs to win the 2020-21 Stanley Cup Championship while it’s still available! Keep it locked with Def Pen Betting as the 2020-21 NHL season kicks off!