Best to Worst NHL Teams In December

Best to Worst NHL Teams In December
By Jeff Parker
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

As we enter the third month of the NHL season, Ontario hockey fans and those wagering on the province’s teams at Ontario sportsbooks are understandably disappointed by how their teams have performed so far. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of hockey left for both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators, and a good December will go a long way to instilling confidence in fans and bettors alike.

To gauge what might be ahead for the Leafs and Sens over the coming month, OntarioBets decided to see how each team has performed in December over the past three years. Using ChampsOrChumps.us, we found the record of all 32 NHL franchises during the final month of the calendar year, ranking them based on win percentage. 

See the chart for where the Leafs and Sens rate, and stick with OntarioBets.com for Toronto online casinos information too.

 
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NHL Team Records in December (Past 3 Seasons)

Rank Team Record Win Pct.
1Carolina Hurricanes27-8.771
2Pittsburgh Penguins25-8.758
3Tampa Bay Lightning28-10-1.718
4Washington Capitals25-12-1.658
5Toronto Maple Leafs21-10-1.656
6Vancouver Canucks23-12-1.639
7Vegas Golden Knights27-15-1.628
8Minnesota Wild23-13-2.605
9Dallas Stars21-14-2.568
10St. Louis Blues21-15-2.553
11New York Rangers21-15-3.538
12Colorado Avalanche20-15-3.526
13Winnipeg Jets19-17-1.514
14Los Angeles Kings21-18-2.512
T15Boston Bruins18-12-6.500
T15Florida Panthers18-18.500
T15Nashville Predators18-17-1.500
T15Ottawa Senators18-17-1.500
T15Calgary Flames18-16-2.500
20New York Islanders18-14-5.486
21Philadelphia Flyers17-20-1.447
22Buffalo Sabres15-19-1.428
23Arizona Coyotes14-21-1.389
T24Columbus Blue Jackets14-21-2.378
T24Chicago Blackhawks14-22-1.378
26Edmonton Oilers15-24-1.375
27Anaheim Ducks14-21-3.368
28Detroit Red Wings12-21.364
29Montreal Canadiens12-26.316
30New Jersey Devils12-25-2.308
31San Jose Sharks10-23-2.286
32Seattle Kraken6-14-2*.273*

Note that all teams didn’t participate in the same amount of games, so ranking is based on win percentage. The 2020-21 season didn’t have games in December. Also, the Seattle Kraken began play in 2021-22 so they only have two seasons in this chart (noted with an asterisk).

Maple Leafs One of NHL’s Best in December

Maple Leafs fans anxious to see their team climb up the Atlantic Division standings might find solace in the fact that the team has the fifth highest December win-percentage in the NHL since the 2019-20 season. They’ll need that trend to continue to maintain their status as legitimate title challengers; see our Stanley Cup odds page to see how they rate now.

Toronto has been a middling team so far this season. Though they sit at 11-6-3, only five of the Leafs’ wins have come in regulation. They’re surrendering 3.30 goals per game and are No. 18 in the NHL for penalty kill percentage. Meanwhile, last week the team had to place its big offseason acquisition, D-man John Klingberg, on injured reserve (though some fans may see this as “addition by subtraction” given Klingberg’s recent on-ice performance).

One bright spot has been William Nylander. The 27-year-old Swede, on the last year of his contract, has 27 points, 13th most in the NHL entering Wednesday for the Leafs, who have +1250 Stanley Cup odds at NorthStar Bets Ontario Sportsbook. His linemate Auston Matthews has 14 goals, just three back from the league lead.

 
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Ottawa Hoping to Reverse December Luck

Over the past three seasons the Ottawa Senators have been a .500 team in December, tied for No. 15 alongside five other NHL franchises. This year, the Senators (8-9) again are hovering around the break-even mark and again reside at the bottom of the Atlantic Division. That’s despite signs of improvement throughout the 2023-23 campaign.

One major issue has been between the pipes. Goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, who was added to the roster this offseason, has a .902 save percentage, allowing a 3.34 GAA in 12 games. Anton Forsberg (.850 and 3.51 GAA) has fared even worse for Ottawa, which has +8000 Stanley Cup odds at DraftKings Ontario Sportsbook. The Sens have also seriously struggled defending the power play (25th in the NHL) and converting power play opportunities (21st). 

Both the Leafs and Senators will look to find their stride in December, but if they can’t turn things around, it won’t be a very happy new year for Ontario hockey.

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Author

Jeff Parker is an entertainment writer for OntarioBets.com. A writer for film, television and the internet, Jeff is a life long movie buff, with a Masters Degree in Popular Culture. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he works full time as documentary filmmaker and producer.

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