As you all know by now, the NHL is going through with their realignment plans effective next season. The Columbus Blue Jackets, along with the Detroit Red Wings, will be moving Eastward. The Blue Jackets will not be in the same division anymore as the Hawks, Red Wings, or the Blues.
Instead, Columbus will be facing the likes of the Penguins, Rangers, and Capitals. Will it be tougher for the Blue Jackets to win against those high caliber teams. No, it wont, because I think one can argue that the Blue Jackets were in one of the toughest divisions in hockey (especially this year).
Since the Blue Jackets have been in existence, the Red Wings have won the Cup twice, and the President’s Trophy four times. The Blackhawks have won the Cup once (could make it two), and the President’s Trophy once (this year).
You also have to give the Blues and Predators some credit too, they have each been to the playoffs 7 times. Yes the Blue Jackets will be facing tough opponents in the Eastern Conference in the future, but they have been facing skilled, accomplished teams since they first joined the NHL.
The Blue Jackets were just inches away from making the playoffs this year, next year the playoff requirements will change and could very well benefit the Blue Jackets. The top three teams from each division will automatically make the playoffs, and the last two positions will be filled by the next best records. Each team in the new division has had rocky moments in the past, including the Penguins who are currently being bossed around by the Bruins. Which proves even they can be beat.
The Capitals only won the Southeast with their ridiculous push towards the end of the season, plus Winnipeg fell apart at the same time. The Rangers had a lackluster season considering the talent they have on their team, and the Devils/Flyers were barely even relevant during this past season. The Islanders could be a scary team in the future though, especially if Tavares keeps improving the way that he has.
The state of the East may be shifting with younger, skilled teams starting to challenge the more established, seasoned teams. The Blue Jackets can move into the East one step ahead of the relatively green teams because they have already started to bloom and come together nicely as a unit. My prediction for the Blue Jackets for their first year in the Eastern Conference….Columbus will build off of last season and make the playoffs.
Thank You for reading Union and Blue