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Thursday Offseason Caterwaul: Florida Panthers Open Forum

Realigned divisions for next season taking shape

Chicago Blackhawks v Florida Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Whenever the next NHL season starts, the Florida Panthers will find itself with some new division rivals.

With the covid-19 border restrictions necessitating an all-Canadian Division, the Cats will be reportedly placed in an eight-team group with the Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predator sand Tampa Bay Lightning.

This proposed alignment could give the Panthers a better shot at making the playoffs than some of the others floating around out there.

It’s believed there is still some debate around replacing Minnesota, pushing the Wild into the West Division, with the St. Louis Blues, which would make pulling off a postseason appearance tougher on the Cats.

Here’s what we could be looking at from a league-wide standpoint next season.

Canada: Ottawa-Montreal-Toronto-Winnipeg-Edmonton-Calgary-Vancouver

East: Boston-Buffalo-New Jersey-New York Islanders-New York Rangers-Philadelphia-Pittsburgh-Washington

Central: Carolina-Chicago-Columbus-Detroit-Florida-Minnesota-Nashville-Tampa Bay

West: Anaheim-Arizona-Colorado-Dallas-Los Angeles-Las Vegas-San Jose-St. Louis

Justin Schutz drew an assist on the game’s final goal in EC Red Bull Salzburg’s 5-2 victory over the Graz99ers in action from Austria’s ICE Hockey League. Schutz finished the game with two shots on goal and an even rating. The 20-year-old, sixth-rounder in 2018 has seven assists in 14 games for Red Bull.

Emil Djuse logged 19:38 TOI and finished with a +1 rating in Spartak Moscow’s 4-2 win over Neftekhimik. Djuse registered three shots on goal and blocked a shot in his 23rd KHL appearance of the season.

Vladislav Kolyachonok blocked a shot and finished with a -1 rating in 18:40 of ice time during Dinamo Minsk’s 3-2 loss to Dynamo Moscow. Kolyachonok was on the ice for Dmitrij Jaskin’s second period goal which turned out to be the game-winner.