Hockey is coming back and we are starting to get an idea of what the 2021 season is going to look like and it’s going to be different let me tell ya…
First, we are getting a shortened season due to COVID so we’re only getting 56 games but hopefully for the 2021-22 season we will be back to a full 82 game schedule but who knows.
Now the biggest thing to come out of this new proposed plan to return to play is the realignment of the division throughout the league. We knew changes would have to happen in order to make this thing work with limited to no issues and I gotta say I love the way the NHL is going here. Now, I’m not saying I would want these changes going forward after this COVID season but for one year I am all in.
Let’s take a look at what the new proposed division are going to look like….
The biggest thing that should stand out to you is that we have an all Canadian division which is going to be absolutely electric. We get to see Conor McDavid and Auston Matthews go up against each other multiple times this year and it’s going to be awesome seeing two of the best young stars going head to head. Not only that but we may get to see a lot more of the Oilers and Flames rivalry and my god if there’s one rivalry other than Flyers/Penguins that I love it’s the battle of Alberta. Honestly, if the league wants to bump ratings they should just let those two teams play 18 times this year.
Next we have the west coast division with a hint of Texas. There’s not too much of a difference in this division compared to the typical Pacific division other than the addition of the three teams from the Central division. So not much is changing with these teams other than maybe getting to see a Central division opponent a few more times than they normally would.
Division 2 is where things get a little more interesting…You have the Wild, Predators, and Blackhawks all essentially jumping to the Eastern Conference. This division is STACKED, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning are going to have no easy road to a repeat. They are going to have to battle through some stingy teams that are typically out west on top of having to get through the Hurricanes, Blue Jackets, and the sneaky Florida Panthers.
Finally we have division three which is basically just what the Metropolitan division should actually be based on geography. As a Flyers fan I love them being in this division and I think they have a pretty good chance at winning it if I am being completely honest. The Bruins and Islanders are going to be the toughest teams aside from the Flyers and while I think the Penguins and Capitals will still be competitive I don’t think these teams are as dangerous as they once were. I’ll go more into those reasons in a future blog where I preview the whole NHL season. Either way this division is going to be very competitive and depending on how they decided to do the playoff format there could end up being some pretty good teams that might miss the cut.
Like I said earlier, I don’t want this change going forward after this year but I am excited to see how this whole thing plays out. Obviously, the main reason for doing this is to limit the travel throughout the league to help keep the players and their families safe. A bubble for a 56 game season would not have been possible and the players would have never agreed to being away from their families for that long. Depending on where the COVID situation is by the time the Playoffs roll around we could see a bubble for those but we will just have to wait and see. Bottom line I am beyond pumped to get this NHL season started up and I can’t wait to see how these divisions end up playing out.
Divisions Image-NHL Network