These three Canadian teams could actually benefit from a shortened NHL schedule.
With the 2020-21 season expected to run 56 games instead of the traditional 82, starting off strong will be extremely important in getting a playoff spot. Here are three Canadian teams that will benefit from the shortened NHL season:
3. Toronto Maple Leafs
For the last few years, the Toronto Maple Leafs seem to hit a wall after the All-Star break. They start off the season strong and then ride that wave until March. In their last two seasons, they have not had strong records in their last 20 games, going 10-8-2 in 2019-20 and 8-8–4 in 2018-19. Shortening the season will make sure that they keep their momentum from their fast starts.
Another big factor is health. Auston Matthews has not played a full season since his rookie year due to injuries, and last season, the Leafs were without Morgan Rielly and Jake Muzzin for extended periods of time. A shortened season will limit the chances of injury as well as reduce the workload for the team’s key players.
Frederik Andersen will really benefit from this reduced workload as he has shown that the fewer games he plays in the regular season, the better he is in the postseason. His two best playoff performances followed seasons where the Leafs were actively trying to rest him down the stretch. Since they finally have a reliable backup in Jack Campbell, the Leafs can properly rest their most valuable player and have him healthy for the playoffs.