Four months into 2021 and things are starting to look slightly like how they used to in 2019. As the world continues to rebound from Covid-19, the regularity of entertainment is returning to pump our veins full of adrenaline and serotonin. Movies, TV, Music, and Sports all adapted to the pandemic admirably, and the adjustments made during the pandemic to our entertainment structure could be felt for years to come. Still, with 2021 and return to a sense of normalcy might be pleasant from our favorite cultural artifacts as well. Unfortunately, change is the nature of all things, as it is in the NHL. Here are some of the more pronounced ideas buzzing around the hockey world for what 2021 could look like moving forward with that in mind.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Make It Past The First Round

Toronto. What’s there to say that hasn’t already been put into a joke. This poor franchise–the Raptors have been more relevant this last decade than Hockey’s only team in Canada’s largest city. The Maple Leafs managed to win Sports Illustrated’s most miserable fans ranking in 2014: not an uncommon position for their fans to hold. But over the last half-decade, there has slowly been a budding hope growing amongst Leaf fans. That hope has blossomed with the development of star sniper Auston Matthews. A goal-making machine, Matthews is the kind of scorer who can alter the path of a franchise if built around correctly.

Alexander Ovechkin Will Get A New Contract

Ovi has already sealed his place in the pantheon of Hockey elites. His constellations shine as brightly as any other. Yet, he’s unfinished, even with that elusive Stanley Cup finally under his belt. There are still plenty of accomplishments this man is striving to achieve. Primarily and most compelling is Wayne Gretzky’s record of 894 career goals. If Ovechkin continues at the rate he’s playing for the other 4-5 years, he has a legit shot of becoming all time leading goal scorer in NHL history. He certainly has the endorsement of another all-time great, Jaromir Jagr, who believes that Ovechkin is even better now than he was in his athletic prime.

Seattle Goes Big For Goalie

The inclusion of Seattle into the world of the NHL is a phenomenal get by the NHL. With a winter void left by the Supersonics’ departure over ten years ago, the NHL has entered a lucrative market with no competition for winter viewers. How Seattle builds their team moving forward will be intriguing, but almost everyone agrees getting a stellar goalie is the best cornerstone you can have to construct a franchise. That makes Matt Murray a prime target. The Ottawa Senators are notoriously thrifty, and Murray is the best goalie in the league right now. It wouldn’t be a shock to see Murray in a new city and a new country by the start of the next season.