NHL To Realign Divisions For 2020-21 Season Due To U.S.-Canada Border Closure

Photo: Elsa/Getty Images

With the border between the United States and Canada closed indefinitely, the NHL will have to temporarily realign the divisions for the 2020-21 season. Teams will almost certainly have to play interdivisional games at least the entire regular season. According to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, here are what the divisions currently look like:

It appears that each team will play 56 games during the regular season, which would mean each team playing others in their division eight times.

The Washington Capitals went 11-10-2 against opponents in their division for this season in 2019-20, which would equate to a 27-24-5 record in a 56-game season. But of course, each team has made changes over the offseason and this season will be different.

The NHL and NHLPA are targeting to start the regular season on Wednesday, January 13 open training camps on Friday, January 1. The seven teams (Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Ottawa Senators, and Detroit Red Wings) that did not participate in the NHL’s return-to-play plan over the summer are expected to be allowed to open training camps on December 28.

The NHL has expressed the main goal is to return to a normal season in 2021-22 when the Seattle Kraken (the 32nd franchise) are set to debut.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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4 Responses to NHL To Realign Divisions For 2020-21 Season Due To U.S.-Canada Border Closure

  1. Diane Doyle says:

    Definitely a different proposal than what Greg Wyshynski talked about. His earlier one had Anaheim, San Jose, LA, Vegas, Phoenix, Colorado, Minnesota, and Dallas in the West. Bruins, Sabres, Isle, Rangers, Devils, Flyers, Caps and Carolina in East. And everyone else in Central, to include TB, Florida, St Louis, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, Nashville, Columbus. Of that earlier proposal, I concurred with the West. And would have traded Boston/Buffalo for Tampa/Florida. I figure Columbus and Pittsburgh should be together. They seem like a natural geographic rivalry even though Pitt has its Metro Rivals (Philly and Washington). The new Central proposal isn’t a very exciting Central Division, if you ask me.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      I never thought ESPN’s was right. They had the Pens in another division than Capitals, which would mean 0 Caps-Pens games. That would never happen. The league still looks at those games as marquis, and NBC still makes too much money on those games.

      • David says:

        Marquee?

      • Diane Doyle says:

        Realignment can be tough especially when there are quite a few teams that are geographically close to the Caps — as in every current Metro team other than Columbus. Pitt and Wash is certainly a huge, marquee rival at the present time. Under normal circumstances (okay this year isn’t normal), they’d want to develop a rivalry between Pitt and Columbus, fueled by college and pro football rivalries between those two states. Normally, if just doing geography, I’d want Wash with Philly and Carolina, although the mileage is roughly similar from Raleigh to either Pittsburgh or NY. The worst realignment is St Louis who is stuck going out West and away from ALL their traditional rivals since Minnesota didn’t want to go west. (But apparently the Blues’ broadcast team wanted to do the West.)

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