Northeast Division Is Class of the NHL

Craig KanalleyContributor INovember 8, 2008

It's early, but the Northeast Division has proven to be the best in the National Hockey League so far.

Don't agree with me?  I have the stats to back it up.

A glance at the current standings shows that the Northeast is the only division in the NHL that doesn't have a losing club.  All teams are .500 or above going into tonight.

In the division cellar, the Toronto Maple Leafs (5-5-4) and Ottawa Senators (6-6-2) both have 14 points, but they haven't lost more in regulation than they've won.

Same can't be said for the other's teams with excess losses:

  • Atlantic: Philadelphia (4-5-3), NY Islanders (4-8-1)
  • Southeast: Atlanta (5-7-2), Florida (4-7-1)
  • Central: St. Louis (5-6-1)
  • Northwest: Colorado (5-8-0)
  • Pacific: Dallas (5-6-2), Phoenix (5-6-0), Los Angeles (4-6-2)

Only the Central has scored more goals than the Northeast, with 211 compared to the Northeast's 200.  Pacific and Northwest both have 196 goals scored to date, Atlantic has 194.  Southeast has scored a lowly 171.

The Northeast's top four teams have allowed just 126 goals so far, lower than any other divisions' top four teams.  Next closest?  Atlantic's top four which have allowed 142.

The Northeast's teams have amassed a league-leading 82 points to date.  Atlantic and Pacific both have 75, Northwest 73, Central 71, and the Southeast 65.

Those are just the stats.  But then you look at the teams and how could you possibly question whether or not this is the NHL's best division?

It's loaded.  Three of the league's top goaltenders in Ryan Miller (BUF), Carey Price (MON), and Tim Thomas (BOS); the NHL's leading goal scorer in Thomas Vanek (12 in 13 games); and talents like Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Danny Heatley, Alex Kovalev, Alex Tanguay, Saku Koivu, Jason Pominville, Derek Roy, Ales Kotalik, Marc Savard, Marco Sturm, Phil Kessel, Niklas Hagman, Nik Antropov, and Alexei Ponikarovsky.  That's to say nothing of the division's stellar D-man which have helped the Northeast reliably keep the puck out of the net.

Tonight, Montreal is in Toronto.  This division is so good that anything could happen in that game.

Buffalo is in Boston.  That game's a total toss-up, as well.  And the Bruins, with a win and Habs loss, can vault from third to first in the division overnight.  It's that close.

Ottawa will rest, and watch its division foes beat up on each other.

No questions asked, Northeast is the best in the NHL right now.  Anyone care to argue?