In spite of the fact that it now appears as though we are very much looking at a start date of January 1st for the upcoming 2020 - 2021 NHL season, although it might as well just be called the 2021 season at this point, there are still a ton of questions that need to be answered before the season can officially get under way.
One of the biggest questions regarding the return of the NHL is of course in regards to how the divisions will break down, with a ton of talk suggesting that we will be looking at several major changes in that regard. The most common rumor in that regard has been the consistent talk of an All Canadian division, something that frankly makes a ton of sense given the challenges surrounding border crossings caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With all the Canadian teams playing in a single division what might the other 3 look like moving forward?
In his most recent column controversial Toronto reporter Steve Simmons took his best shot at predicting what the NHL's new divisions would look like. He broke them down into 4 groups with Simmons giving his divisions the following names: Canadian, Northeast, Central and West. First thing I will note is the names have an old school feel to them so I like that already, now here's how the 4 divisions would break down.
Toronto Maple Leafs
That one is obvious enough given that they all have to be Canadian, but the other divisions are where things get more interesting.
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
I love having the Penguins and the Flyers in the same division given their heated rivalries, and the same can be said for the Capitals and the Penguins as well. All 3 teams from the New York Metropolitan area are in here as well which should make for some fireworks.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Detroit Red Wings
Tampa Bay Lightning
I know fans of many of these teams will be loving this division break down as well. The Predators and the Wild both have great rivalries with the Chicago Blackhawks and who wouldn't want to see the Blue Jackets and the Lightning clash a few times during the season after their recent playoff history?
Los Angeles Kings
San Jose Sharks
St. Louis Blues
Las Vegas Golden Knights
The fact that there are 4 teams in here that struggled last season, those being the Ducks, Sharks, Kings and Coyotes, does give me a little pause here. That being said though the Stars, Blues and Golden Knights have all been extremely competitive teams over the past 3 seasons and the Avalanche look like one of the favorites to win it all in the eyes of many at the moment, so hopefully that will balance out this division.
What are your thoughts on this prediction from Simmons? Overall I must admit I would be pretty happy if this were to be how things would actually play out in the end. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.