Excitement to Come in a St. Louis Blues Division Realignment

St. Louis Blues Division

NHL fans are still hopeful mid-January start date despite no plans being set in stone yet. The season will look different than in normal years with a shortened schedule and only division games. With that in mind, a couple of different potential division re-alignment plans have been discussed and reported. For the St. Louis Blues, those plans are drastically different. One potential realignment plan has the Blues in the Central Division with some less familiar faces. The other has the Blues in the Pacific Division with late road starts and one all too familiar face. Which potential division re-alignment plan would work out better for the Blues?

Exciting Occurrences that Could Come from a New St. Louis Blues Division

The First Division Realignment Option

On December 9, TSN Hockey Insider and Senior NHL Writer for The Athletic Pierre LeBrun tweeted the potential division re-alignments for the season. The Blues were in the West/Pacific Division with the Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights. The Blues are usually in the same division as the Avalanche and the Stars.

If this ends up being the final re-alignment plan, the Blues would have to travel more. These teams are further away from them than teams they  usually play in their division like the Chicago Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators. Also, the majority of the road games for Blues fans back home would start later than what they are used to  because that would be the normal start time for teams on the west coast. Wyshynski reported that the Blues and their broadcast partner preferred the travel and the late start times on the road.

While yes, the late starts on the road are problematic for some Blues fans, that’s not the only potential issue with this plan. This plan would have the Blues face better teams than the second plan, making it more difficult. Colorado, Dallas and Vegas will be constant challenges for the Blues. Whereas in the second plan, the Blues should potentially only face two consistently good teams.

The most exciting thing about this potential re-alignment plan is that the Blues would be in the same division as the Golden Knights. Hello again, Alex Pietrangelo. However, after a time or two of facing their former captain, it won’t be as exciting anymore. The Golden Knights have consistently proved that they are a good team and the addition of Pietrangelo is sure to make them even better.

The Better Option

On November 19, ESPN Senior Writer Greg Wyshynski tweeted an earlier version of the potential division re-alignments for the season. The Blues were in the Central Division along with usual division rivals like the Blackhawks and Predators. Other division rivals like the Avalanche, Stars and Minnesota Wild were in the West/Pacific Division. The Winnipeg Jets were in the all Canadian Division. Replacing those rivals removed from the usual Central Division were the Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning.

There are a few exciting things for Blues fans if this is what the division winds up looking like. First, the Blues would get to play the defending Stanley Cup Champion Lightning a lot more frequently, which means they would also get to play the hometown hero Pat Maroon more often. Blues fans adore him now, but if the Blues have to face him more frequently, it might turn into a rivalry.

The second thing is that this a chance for the Blues and the Red Wings’ rivalry to come back. It’s taken a backseat to the Blues and Blackhawks rivalry in recent years. However, when the Blues and Red Wings were in the same conference and played each other more often, it was a huge rivalry. This time around, though, the Blues have had much more recent success than the Red Wings. The Red Wings haven’t had a season over .500 since 2015-16.

Overall, this plan has the Blues facing easier opponents than the first plan. It won’t be without its challenges in the Penguins and the Lightning. However, it should be easier to win games than the first plan.

Here’s the thing, people are always going to complain no matter what divisions the NHL comes up with. But for the Blues, who did not play well in the playoffs after the pause and who lost their captain in free agency, the difference between one plan and the other could change the outcome of their playoff opponents and ultimately, their season.

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