NHL 2021 Season Divisional Overview: East Division

NHL 2021 Season Divisional Breakdown!

Hello everyone and welcome back to the NHL 2021 season! The puck drops on January 13, 2021! We at DFS Army are very excited to get this season underway and I’m going to do a simple overview of the new divisions for this year, along with key transactions from the teams! Sign up for DFS Army using the promo code “MDELL” to save 20% off your membership for LIFE. Get in before the new year because prices may be going up! Before we get into it, go on over to my Twitter account and give me a follow @mdellagnese14.

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Now, let’s get to the East Division!

We will start by keying on the big transactions that the teams have acquired and I will list the Draft Picks the teams have acquired via trade this offseason along with some key losses from each team!

Boston Bruins (44-14-12) (+1400 to win Cup)

Currently, the Bruins are the 4th favorite to win the Stanley Cup this year. They didn’t have a busy offseason so far, but they have a pretty solid squad, to begin with.

Players Acquired

Craig Smith: Signed a nice 3-year deal with the Bruins this offseason who was pretty solid with Nashville last year. He scored 18 goals, added 13 assists on 184 shots over 69 games last season. He was a factor late in the season and made for some good DFS value. He won’t flash tons of upside right away and likely will be in a bottom 6 role, but could move up if he’s playing well.

Key Losses

Zdeno Chara: As of right now, December 22nd, Chara still has not signed with the Bruins. This isn’t as big of a loss as it would have been a few years ago as his offense has basically been nothing the last couple of years. He did have great locker room chemistry and was still a massive body on the ice for the B’s. His leadership and mentorship will be missed this year.

Torey Krug: Much bigger loss than Chara. Krug was one of their top D-men last season before he signed a 7-year deal with the Blues in the offseason. He was a force on the powerplay with the Bruins last year, racking up 26 assists and 2 goals. He ended up with 9 goals and 40 assists last season.

Buffalo Sabres (30-31-8) (+3500 to win Cup)

Players Acquired

Taylor Hall: A GREAT PAIR WITH EICHEL this season. Hall should be able to elevate Eichel’s game even more than it was and could lead to a ton of goal chances for him and Eichel. He signed just a 1-year deal after being traded to Arizona last year from New Jersey. Had 16 goals and 36 assists last year in 65 games but couldn’t really get it going. He will slot next to Eichel on the top line for Buffalo this year and these guys are a great 1-2 punch.

Eric Staal: One trade the Sabres made in the offseason to help out their offense. Staal was a streaky center for the Wild last year but should be able to provide leadership for the young Sabres team. He did have 19 goals and 28 assists over 66 games last season though.

Jack Quinn: One of the Sabres elite prospects and tore it up in the OHL last year, tallying 52 goals and 37 assists over just 62 games. He also added a 48 +/-! That is INSANE. This won’t be the case here with Buffalo, but he adds great speed and good puck handling skills.

Cody Eakin: Eakin was good with Vegas and did okay with the Jets after he was traded. Eakin was great a couple of years ago when he was able to score 22 goals, but didn’t do too much last season which led the Knights to trade him to Winnipeg. He is still a good two-way player and will be good on the PP and PK. Likely will be the 3rd line center, but should see PP time for Buffalo.

Key Losses

Dominik Kahun: Kahun was solid for the Penguins and the Sabres last year with 12 goals and 19 assists in 56 games. Soon after they didn’t send him a qualifying offer, they signed Eakin, which I would say is a little upgrade.

Wayne Simmonds: Simmonds signed with the Maple Leafs in the off-season. He didn’t do too much with Buffalo last year in a bottom-six role but showed with the Flyers and Devils that he can still be effective. Buffalo will lose some PP time and physical play from Simmonds.

New Jersey Devils (28-29-12) (+6000 to win Cup)

Draft Picks Acquired: 5th-round (2021) from CBJ

Players Acquired

Corey Crawford: From Chicago to New Jersey, Crawford will be a veteran goalie this team needs. I like the signing here as he was injured a lot in Chicago and has concussion problems. He did have a .917 sv% with a 2.77 GAA last year for the Hawks and likely will work with MacKenzie Blackwood for starts this season.

Key Losses

Cory Schneider: Was waived by the Devils and was pretty bad last year. He did come back and play well for them later in the season though, but he has injury problems and just isn’t that consistent. He will back up Semyon Varlamov for the Islanders.

New York Islanders (35-23-10) (+2700 to win Stanley Cup)

Draft Picks Acquired: 2nd-round (2021), 2nd-round (2022) from Colorado

Players Acquired

The Islanders haven’t really made any big signings this year that will be DFS relevant. Keep an eye out though because that could change before opening night.

Key Losses

Devon Toews: They did get 2 draft picks for Toews, but he will be missed on their blue line. Toews was a good block man for DFS purposes, especially in the playoffs. He had 75 blocks in 68 games last year while getting 28 points.

Thomas Greiss: Big loss for the Islanders this year as Greiss was outstanding for the last year with Varlamov. He signed a 2 year deal with Detriot in October. He went 16-9-4 last year with a 2.74 GAA and .913 sv%. At least the Islanders still have Varlamov in the net, but this was a great 1-2 tandem in goal for the last year.

Andy Greene: Greene was a staple in my DFS lineups in the playoffs last season because he’s a block machine. He was always a great value too. With NJD and NYI last year, Greene only had 14 points and didn’t shoot a ton, but he added in 155 blocked shots in 63 games. Note: He’s still a FA and the Islanders are a possible sign for him.

Johnny Boychuk: A bad eye injury last year caused Boychuk to retire but he did have a great career over 13 seasons. He did play a ton of ice time and losing 3 defensemen will be tough for the Islanders to overcome after having such a great defense last year.

New York Rangers (37-28-5) (+3000 to win the Cup)

Draft Picks Acquired: 2nd-round (2020) from LAK.

Players Acquired

The Rangers made some re-signs but didn’t really acquire anyone that’s going to make a big difference for their roster this year.

Key Losses

Henrik Lundqvist: King Hank signed with the Capitals, but is going to miss the whole 2021 season with a heart condition. He was a veteran for this Rangers team and loved in New York. Best wishes to Hank with his health!

Philadelphia Flyers (41-21-7) (+1500 to win the Cup)

Currently right behind the Bruins in their chances to win the Stanley Cup.

Players Acquired

As of writing this, the Flyers have not signed anyone significant, which makes me worry a bit because their team wasn’t that consistent. It’s weird to see them being the 5th favorite to win the Stanley Cup this year.

Key Losses

Matt Niskanen: He retired from hockey this offseason. He played 13 NHL seasons and recorded 72 goals and 282 assists over his career.

Tyler Pitlick: Didn’t ever do much in terms of scoring, but he was a bruiser on the ice, tallying 132 hits last season. The Flyers will need to fill that roll in the bottom 6.

Pittsburgh Penguins (40-23-6) (+2200 to win Cup)

Draft Picks Acquired: 2nd round (2020), 2021 Conditional NHL Draft Pick from MIN,

Players Acquired

Mike Matheson: Good defender added to their team here. He had 20 points last season with Florida (8 G 12 A) on 104 shots over 59 games. He played 18 minutes on ice per game too. He added 53 blocks and 44 hits for Florida last year. When playing a full season, he’s up around 120+ blocks.

Kasperi Kapanen: Acquired from the Maple Leafs and will likely start playing with Sidney Crosby on the top line. He had 13 goals and 23 assists last year on 121 shots. He did score 20 goals in the 2018-19 season and had 24 assists too. He played with Matthews in Toronto and has a great player in Crosby with Pittsburgh.

Cody Ceci: Will likely take the spot of Justin Schultz on D for the Penguins as they have signed him to a one-year deal. He was productive in his time with the Senators, recording over 130 blocks in 4 of his 6 seasons in the NHL. Took a step back last year, but still recorded 79 blocks over 56 games. He’s a physical player who has gotten over 111 hits in 3 of his last 4 years.

Key Losses

Matt Murray: Murray lost his starting gig last year, but he still was good at times. He was traded to the Senators for a second-round pick. He did go 20-11-5 last year but had a high powered offense in front of him. He wasn’t the sharpest and allowed a 2.87 GAA with a .899 sv%.

Patric Hornqvist: Hornqvist was a beast on the PP for the Penguins last year, but was relegated to the 3rd line for most of the year. He had 17 goals, 15 assists with 168 shots on goal over 52 games. Despite playing in the bottom 6, he still racked up 15:56 Average TOI. He averaged 3:21 TOI on the power-play and is a pest in front of the net.

Justin Schultz: Did a good job filling in for Letang when he got hurt last year and he decided to sign with the division rival Capitals. He didn’t do much in the eyes of production but was able to pick up 50 blocks in 46 games and added 12 points. He will likely fill into the Caps D group.

Washington Capitals (41-20-8) (+1900 to win the Cup)

Players Acquired

Justin Schultz: Did a good job filling in for Letang when he got hurt last year and he decided to sign with the division rival Capitals. He didn’t do much in the eyes of production but was able to pick up 50 blocks in 46 games and added 12 points. He will likely fill into the Caps D group.

Trevor van Riemsdyk: Signed a 1-year deal with the Caps this year after spending some time with the Hurricanes last year. Not a huge signing, but it adds some depth to their D core. He didn’t do much in his 3 years with Carolina though. Not really a DFS relevant play though.

Key Losses

Brayden Holtby: Spent the last 10 seasons with the Caps and now moved on the Vancouver. This is a surprising move for them, but he did struggle last season giving up 3.11 GAA and had just a .897 save%. He did go 25-14-6, but the offense was there for him most nights.

They also lost Ilya Kovalchuk, but he didn’t make a big impact on the ice last season and is more of a roll player.

But wait there’s more! (Keep scrolling)

These teams will play each other a boatload of times this year! It’ll be an exciting season! In my next article, I will be outlining the Central Division (After the Christmas Holiday)! Be sure to check out dfsarmy.com and use the promo code MDELL to save 20% on your subscription.

I have added Stanley Cup Odds next to the team names, this is the perfect thing to look for when trying to bet futures. Our guys over at Sports Bet Army have been crushing it in all sports over the course of 2020! Why not start off your 2021 year much better than the 2020 year was? Sign up today and use the code MDELL to save 20% for life!

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