The upcoming NHL season promises to be a wild one.
Just how wild? Picture this: A Boston Bruins-Toronto Maple Leafs Stanley Cup Final.
While not undergoing a total overhaul, the playoffs for the upcoming NHL season will be tweaked due to the divisional realignment.
The 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs will remain a four-round tournament with 16 teams. But one of the tweaks is that the top four teams from each division are the ones to qualify for the postseason, and the first two rounds of the playoffs will be against divisional opponents.
Once you reach the round prior the Stanley Cup Final — which will feature the winner from each divisional “playoff,” if you will — teams will be reseeded by their regular-season point total. At that point, the No. 1 team plays the No. 4 team, while the second- and third-seeded teams will meet. Obviously, the winners of each of those matchups will head to the Stanley Cup Final.
So, here’s where it gets fun. The Bruins aren’t in a division with some of their longtime, (and more recent) rivals. The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs are in an all-Canadian team division, while the Tampa Bay Lightning are in what’s called the “Central” division.
That means it is plausible that the Bruins could win their division and the third round of the playoffs, only to meet a team like the Leafs or Habs for the Stanley Cup Final.
Of course, a lot of things have to happen first in order for us to reach that stage, but it nevertheless is fun to think about all the possibilities we otherwise wouldn’t have in a normal year.