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Lightning Round: The new division re-alignment plan has leaked to the press

Carolina and Minnesota join the Lightning in the Central Division.

NHL: OCT 06 Lightning at Hurricanes

After yesterday’s Board of Governors call, Pierre LeBrun shared a new temporary division realignment plan for the 2020-21 season, which is considered as a primary option by the NHL. You can see the new re-alignment plan in the tweet below, however, as LeBrun added, it’s still not finalized:

Comparing to the previous leaked plan, there’s a few changes: while an all-Canadian division remains the same due to the Canadian border restrictions, some other teams have been moved between the divisions. Instead of the St. Louis Blues and the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Tampa Bay Lightning will get the Carolina Hurricanes and the Minnesota Wild as a potential opponents.

Let’s take a quick look at how the Lightning performed against those teams during the 2019-20 regular season:

Provided by Hockey-Reference.com

Due to a shortened regular season, the Lightning didn’t play all scheduled games against those teams. Overall the Lightning went 8-5-3 against new potential divisional neighbours, and apparently the Wild were the only team, against which the Lightning couldn’t get any points.

According to the recent information, the NHL is targeting January 13 as the start of the new regular season with the training camps set to open on January 2.

Lightning Links

Forbes presented the list of most valuable NHL teams of 2020 and the Lightning ended up at the 21st place with estimated value of $470 million. According to them the Lightning also posted an operating loss (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $11 million.

The Athletic is hosting a Seattle Kraken expansion mock draft and tried to predict what players might be protected by the Lightning and what could be potential candidates for the Kraken [The Athletic]

No matter what plan the Lightning use, the locks up front are Stamkos, Kucherov, Point and Cirelli. You can make an argument for Ondrej Palat, too, especially if he’s a) still on the team and b) there’s not any intriguing progression in Foote. At the very least, you maintain your Norris Trophy/Conn Smythe winning defenseman in Hedman, a future franchise-type defenseman in Sergachev and your best right-shot defenseman in Cernak. So the biggest decision in the 8-1 alignment would be between Palat and a defenseman (Foote or McDonagh).

Phil Pritchard, a keeper of the Cup, has spent some time with the Lightning players and now shared some details of his job in the first episode of Cup Keeper Tales.

The Lightning prospect Gage Goncalves, who is still fighting for the World Juniors spot at Team Canada’s Selection Camp, shared his experience from the camp.

The Syracuse Crunch owner Howard Dolgon doubts that the fans will be allowed at home games this season

Meanwhile, the AHL is aiming to hold a 44-game regular season, starting on February 5