Just as they did prior to the playoff bubble, the NHL is looking at all scenarios to start the 2020-21 season. The St. Louis Blues’ divisional opponents might be quite different than normal.
The St. Louis Blues are in the dog-days of the offseason now, which makes it weird since this is normally when the regular season would really be in its second or third week. As of now, the only thing they’re doing is introducing new player, Torey Krug, to the new practice facility.
Everything is still up in the air. Will the Blues make any more free agent moves or potential trades?
When will the season start? Nobody really knows.
The NHL has stated they hope to start by January 1. Of course, most of the analysts and pundits keep saying that’s unlikely, but we’ll leave that alone for now.
Regardless of the possible start date, there are plenty of other hurdles to cross. One is the fact that the Canadian border remains closed and there seems to be no indication of it opening any time soon.
With the league looking at all scenarios that will allow them to start and complete a full season. According to Bill Foley, owner of the Vegas Golden Knights, one of the topics under consideration is the idea of divisional realignment.
You have to figure this is not a long-term idea, but a temporary idea. Nevertheless, the formation of the NHL could look very different in 2020-21 and the Blues would not be in the traditional Central Division.
The crux of this idea is to give the Canadian franchises their own division. This would avoid the border crossing situation and also build a lot of feuds, more than normal, between the seven franchises north of the border.
It would not be the greatest idea for Vancouver. They would have the longest travel schedule of any of the teams, depending on how they divvy up the games.
From the Blues perspective, it would briefly end some rivalries and potentially rekindle some others. Teams like Minnesota, Dallas and Colorado would no longer be divisional rivals.
Instead, according to this potential plan, the Blues would be in a southern division. Teams Blues fans usually don’t care about, like Tampa, Florida, Carolina and Columbus would suddenly be in their division.
More intriguingly, the Blues would suddenly be back in a division with the Detroit Red Wings in this scenario. More of an old Central Division would reunite, with the Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit, Nashville and Columbus.
In terms of that being the division, only Dallas and Minnesota would be missing. We forget that Colorado used to be part of the Pacific once upon a time.
Personally, I’m not in favor of changing anything. The world needs to just get back to normal and stop worrying all the time, but we don’t live in a time when that is a belief held by those in charge.
This potential switch up would actually benefit the Blues, in theory. Tampa, the current defending champion, would definitely be a handful, but the rest of the teams are unknown quantities or bad teams.
Carolina is a playoff team, but they are up and down and lost a couple key pieces from last season. Florida is also a playoff team, but they would not have made the playoffs during a normal season. They have Joel Quenneville, which will always elevate them, but they’re without Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadanov.
Columbus added several pieces during free agency, but you never quite know how that will come together. Nashville is treading water between contender and needing to retool.
Chicago still has plenty of top-end talent, but have admitted they are in a rebuild. Detroit is just a bottom-feeder waiting for their draft picks to make the NHL.
These are not bad teams, but Dallas and Colorado have shown themselves to be Cup contenders.
The only thing we know for sure is that plenty of signs are pointing to 2020-21 being almost as weird as 2019-20. It won’t be the same kind of weirdness, but the idea of playing in different divisions for a season or two might not be so outside the box compared to what we’ve already seen.