Hockey is back but will have a different view this season.
There will be a lot of rules, guidelines, and regulations for when the NHL resumes play, including realigned divisions.
The blaring headline is that Canada is not allowing Americans into their country, vice-versa.
With the United States border remaining closed indefinitely, as well as domestic travel restrictions growing tighter, an All-Canadian North Division is a go, leaving the rest of American teams to be separated among a West, Central, and East division.
The Flyers will take part in the East Division. Their divisional opponents include the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Washington Capitals.
At first glance, NHL betting will likely favor the Central Division as the best division in the NHL. The division features the returning Stanley Cup champions Tampa Bay Lightning, as well as the league’s runner-up Dallas Stars. It is a tad surprising that the Stars snuck into the division, but the St. Louis Blues were put into the West Division, but that’s a different story.
As for the East, the 56-game schedule will all be against divisional opponents in hopes of limiting travel. That means that Flyers have to take on some of the top talents in the NHL eight times each. There are some clear upsides and downsides to the team, and we will get into those right now.
Out of all these teams, is there a team that scares you as a Flyer fan? It’s very unlikely platforms like Pennsylvania sports betting would grossly see the Flyers as consistent underdogs. There is plenty of reason to believe that the Flyers can finish in the top 4 which would likely get the team into a 16-team playoff bracket.
The Flyers have the reigning Selke Trophy winner on their team, as well as Carter Hart. The Flyers are going to put up goals on their opponents. The wins are just going to be a lot more tightly contested. Instead of blowing out bad teams, for 60 minutes Philly fans are going to have a beating in their chest for most of the game.
For many of those same reasons, that’s why a downside is evident. The Flyers tied the Capitals with 41 wins but were just one point away from winning the Metropolitan Division last season. The Bruins won the Atlantic Division with 44 wins and 100 points last season. Playing the Bruins and Capitals a combined 16 times feels sketchy. The Penguins were a 40-win team last season, so there is very little margin for error.
The Devils finished last in the Metro Division last season and were 28-29. A borderline .500 team is your last-place finisher. Not to sound like a broken record, but there will be some closely contested matchups this year. Luckily, you have two weeks to mentally prepare yourself before the games start.