By: Andrew Taverna | Follow me on Twitter @andrewtaverna
We’ve all heard of the possibilities around a league re-alignment for the upcoming 2020-2021 season. It would appear, according to Pierre LeBrun of TSN, that the league is closing in on a four-division league that would see Boston playing teams such as Buffalo, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philidelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington.
Not finalized yet, and still subject to change, but the 2020-21 four-division re-alignment currently looks like this according to sources:— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) December 9, 2020
Let’s look at what this four-division re-alignment might look like for the Bruins and what it might mean for the rest of the league.
As mentioned, the east division would include Boston, Buffalo, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philidelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington. This could make for an interesting season for the Bruins, playing a couple of familiar foes in the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals. While a shortened season may impact actual results, it looks like the Bruins could easily be the top of their division if the league starts up, and this turns out to be the format.
The central division looks like it will be Carolina, Columbus, Detroit, Chicago, Florida, Minnesota, Nashville, and Tampa Bay. Most notably, coming out of the Central Division would be the Tampa Bay Lightning. If the Lightning gets placed into a different division than the Bruins, this could be a good and bad thing. Most of us love to see the competitive match-up between these two giants, but if we’re all honest, it never hurts not to have to play those heavy games during the regular season. The downside to this is it’s fairly clear Tampa Bay would be the favorites coming out of the Central Division, and while we are unclear on the playoff format today, it certainly could become a head-to-head between them come the playoffs.
The west is shaping up to be an interesting division with some pretty competitive hockey. According to LeBrun, it would include Anaheim, Arizona, Colorado, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Jose, St. Louis, and Vegas. The two teams that intrigue me the most if I am a Bruins fan are Vegas and St. Louis. Let’s state the obvious first. Watching Krug wear a Blues jersey is going to sting, but they’re also a highly competitive team that could be fun to watch. Vegas appears to be headed for another big year as well, and with their offseason not over just yet, it will be a team the Bruins could potentially continue to be linked to on the trade market.
The Canadian Division is pretty straight forward and makes absolute sense if you’re trying to limit the need for border crossings during a global pandemic. The Candian Divison will include Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Montreal, Vancouver, and Ottowa. While this division is necessary, it’s notable for Bruins fans that facing Montreal and Toronto will have to wait until the playoffs. This will take away some fan-favorite games for sure, but if it’s what it takes to get an NHL season this year, I’ll take it.
Overall, the re-alignment has its positives and negatives, but we’re finally talking about a hockey season come mid-January, and that’s the most exciting news of all of this.
Please take a minute to let us know in the comments below what you think of these new divisions.