Approaching the 2020-21 NHL Season

Approaching the 2020-21 NHL Season

Patricia Sadowski, Staff Writer

As the 2020-21 NHL season is approaching, many hockey fans are excited to be able to watch their team again. The season is set to start on January 13th, 2021 consisting of a five-game night. Each team will play a duration of 56 regular season games compared to the usual 82 games. The league is going to have four divisions including the North, West, Central, and East. Four teams from each division will make the Stanley Cup Final. Certain teams were shifted divisions so they’ll be in a division with teams that they typically wouldn’t be in. In the 2019-20 playoffs, the Stanley Cup Finals consisted of the Dallas Stars from the Central Division and the Tampa Bay Lightning from the Atlantic Division. This season, however, they are both in the Central Division. 

The North division incorporates all 7 Canadian teams: Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, and the Winnipeg Jets. The West division consists of a mix of the Pacific and Central division teams: Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, and the Vegas Golden Knights. The Central division has teams from the Central, Metro, and Atlantic divisions: Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, and the Stanley Cup Champions, Tampa Bay Lightning. Lastly, the East division is the typical Metro division with 2 teams from the Atlantic: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Washington Capitals.

During the NHL Free Agency, some great deals were made. St. Louis Blues defensemen and captain Alex Pietrangelo, who was with the team his whole career, signs with the Vegas Golden Knights. The New York Islanders traded a great defensemen Devon Toews to the Colorado Avalanche for a 2021 and 2022 second-round pick. Isles fans are still waiting and hoping for one of their best players, Mathew Barzal, to resign. Back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion Pat Maroon agrees to a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning. After playing 1 season with the Arizona Coyotes, Taylor Hall is on his way to Buffalo.

Along with a change in divisions and free agency, goaltending definitely looks different for the teams as well. The well known Henrik Lundqvist from the New York Rangers bought him out and then he signed a one-year $1.5 million contract with the Washington Capitals. Corey Crawford from the Chicago Blackhawks signs a two-year $7.8 million contract with the New Jersey Devils. Jacob Markstrom from the Vancouver Canucks agreed to a six-year $36 million contract with the Calgary Flames. Washington Capitals Braden Holtby signs a two-year $8.6 million contract with the Canucks. Another goaltender from the Penguins, Matt Murray, signed a four-year $25 million contract with the Ottawa Senators. 

If you are a hockey fan, you are unquestionably counting down the days to puck drop. Training camp has started for the players as they are gearing up for the start of the 2020-21 NHL Season. There is so much to look forward to in this season, even though it does look a bit different. Who do you think will lift the cup this time?