The NHL is celebrating its birthday this week.
Here are 10 reasons the Leafs are the best team in the NHL.
The Leafs have the best defence in the league and a solid offence.
The Toronto Marlies’ defence has been a consistent strength for years, and now they have it back.
The Marlies are ranked No. 4 in the AHL in goals for, no. 1 in goals against and no. 3 in goals per game.
The fact that their defencemen are the league’s best in that area is a testament to the leadership of defenceman Josh Leivo and the team’s offensive dynamism.
They’re also a big part of that dynamism, as the Marlies have scored 20 goals in each of the past three games.
They’ll have to improve their shooting to get back to that level, but that’s something they can do if they stay healthy.
The Maple Leafs have a new coach in Mike Babcock, and they’ve been pretty good at keeping him on the ice.
The NHL has seen its share of coaches who have had bad seasons and then had success when they returned to the league.
Babcock has been the exception, winning the Stanley Cup twice with the Edmonton Oilers.
He’s been the Leafs’ head coach for six seasons now and has a track record of building good teams and staying with them.
He will have a long career as an NHL head coach, and he should be able to continue to do so. 3.
The Blue Jackets are a good team, but their goaltending is not great.
The Jackets have one of the league-best goalies in Sergei Bobrovsky, who is second in the League in goals-against average and tied for the league lead in shutouts.
But that’s not what really matters.
The real reason the Blue Jackets have been so good is their depth at the back end of the net.
The Columbus Blue Jackets ranked No, 13 in the Western Conference in goals scored in 2017-18.
The team finished with a respectable 28.4 shots per game, but when you look at the top-10 teams in shots allowed, the Blue Jays and Oilers were the only two teams to have fewer shots per games allowed.
They had a team-high 3.8 goals per goal, which was tied for third in the West.
The Bruins are a team that could be a playoff team this season.
The Boston Bruins are ranked fourth in the Eastern Conference and have won five of their past six games.
That record has them at the perfect position to be in the playoffs this year.
They have a solid core that includes the talented goaltender Tuukka Rask, who won the Vezina Trophy as the best goalie in the 2016-17 season, and defenseman Adam McQuaid.
That group is also anchored by forwards Brandon Carlo, Reilly Smith and Reilly Smith Jr., who have each scored at least 30 goals in their first five seasons in the NBA.
The key to Boston’s success will be keeping its top-six scorers, who have combined for 54 goals in the past four seasons.
The Capitals have one playoff team in Washington, but it’s a young team.
Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom has been one of Washington’s best players this season, but he’s not the only player who’s developed in recent years.
Defenseman Alex Ovechkin has also made a huge leap, and Washington is on track to have the NHL’s best defence corps this year thanks to Backstrom and Ovechan.
The Caps are also ranked No of 20 teams in goals allowed and No. 8 in goals and goals per cent of shots faced.
They could be in trouble if the injuries continue to pile up, but they’re going to have a hard time getting in a playoff spot this year, but with Backstrom back and Ovi still scoring, they could be contenders this season if they continue to play like this.
The Hurricanes are a perennial playoff team.
The Florida Panthers are a playoff contender.
The Panthers have been in the mix for the Stanley Cups since 2005 and have been to the playoffs four times in that time.
They’ve been in contention for years and have an incredible history of playing in the postseason.
The one knock on the Panthers is that they play in a division with eight teams, but the Hurricanes will be able in a perfect storm to win the Stanley Trophy this season as they’ve only lost in the division once in the last decade.
The Jets are in great shape.
Winnipeg Jets forward Patrick Sharp is the only defenceman to score at least 20 goals for the Jets this season and he’s a big reason why.
Sharp has two seasons of 30-plus goals and is averaging over 20 points per game for the fourth straight season.
He has a good shot at breaking the 20-goal mark this season because of his size and strength, but at the same time, he’s still learning the game.
Sharp could be the next big defenceman in the Jets lineup