The 2021 NHL season starts today so I figured I would explain how the NHL is changing things up this season due to unusual times. And at the end I give my season winners and awards!
The NHL regular season will be start tonight and go through until May 8th. The normal games played for all 31 teams went down from 82 to 56. Teams will only play their divisional opponents. After the season wraps up in May, the top four teams from each division will battle it out in the playoffs to reach the Stanley Cup Finals which will be held in July.
Because the US-Canada border is still closed, the league removed conferences and are now playing in four realigned divisions.
They organized it as three American divisions, East, West and Central which are made up of eight teams each. The North Division has the seven Canadian teams.
A new rule in the NHL this season is the offside rule. This rule is that a player’s skate won’t have to be in contact with the blue line to be considered onside.
Teams to Watch
Here’s my picks for the teams to watch in each division. The most interesting about the division change up is that the two teams who played against each over in last year’s Stanley Cup Finals are in the same division. Things are about to get real interesting!
Tampa Bay Lightning
My picks for the 2021 NHL season
Stanley Cup Champions
Hart Trophy, MVP
Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche
Victor Hedman, Lightning
Rocket Richard Trophy
Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs
Art Ross Trophy
Connor McDavid, Oilers
Carter Hart, Flyers
Igor Shesterkin, Rangers
Jack Adams Award
Jared Bednar, Avalanche