After a two week holiday preceded by a week long business conference, I’m back here at Oil on Whyte. For the critics it’s probably a Monday morning groan and for those that frequent Oil on Whyte, let me start by saying it’s great to be back in the saddle.
Now on to more important issues – the Oilers. With the dog days of summer firmly entrenched on every hockey fan that has them salivating when they think about the up coming summer, there is one major change that the NHL will undergo when the puck drops later this fall; realignment. For the Oilers it means change to a certain degree and it also brings up the question if this new realignment is good for the Edmonton franchise.
Gone are the three divisions amid two conferences. Now it’s simply two conferences with two divisions in each and while the NHL missed the mark when it comes to the names of the divisions (another story for another day) this new setup will help the Oilers.
By now everyone is familiar with how things are going to be aligned for the upcoming year. Edmonton is in a division with the familiar foes in the Flames and Canucks and joining them are the Ducks, Kings, Sharks and Coyotes.
The Oilers will have a difficult time winning the division in the next couple of years given how stacked the Kings and Ducks are and not to mention the Canucks will have a say in who takes one of the top two seeds. But the goal for Edmonton is not to win the division, it’s merely to make the playoffs and it is here where the new realignment helps.
The Oilers have one less team to compete against for a playoff spot when the NHL set up fourteen teams in the West and sixteen in the East meaning they have to be in the top eight out of those fourteen teams. The Eastern teams are likely ripped at this new mathematical scheme but for Edmonton the odds are in their favor and given it’s been seven long years since the postseason, we’ll take them.
The other major factor to point out is that gone are two teams that would have stood in the way of the Oilers making the playoffs; the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets. Both franchises were moved to the East while just the Winnipeg Jets came back to the West.
Detroit has been a lock to make the postseason, stretching their streak to twenty-two consecutive years of making the playoffs. The Blue Jackets meanwhile are one of the up and coming teams in this league and if Edmonton doesn’t have to compete with them for a spot in the top eight, then that’s nothing but good news.
Sure the time zones will be an annoying issue to deal with, but with the majority of their games to be played in the West, it shouldn’t be that big of a concern for the Oilers.
So now we ask you, is the new realignment good for the Oilers? Take part in our daily poll and let your voice be heard.