Thoughts on an All Canadian Division
We still have no idea how next season will unfold. Currently the NHL is aiming for a January 1st start date but recent reports have suggested that training camp might start in mid January. Aside from start date, how the games themselves will be split is unknown. Border restrictions still exist between Canada and the US and there are no signs that will end anytime soon. Players were able to do the bubble for the 2020 Playoffs but will not agree to do the same for a whole season.
One idea that has gained traction in the past couple weeks is the idea of at least starting the season with an All Canadian Division and have all 7 Canadians teams play among themselves and split up the remaining American teams in a similar fashion.
Quickly I wanted to take a look at how the Edmonton Oilers might fair in such a Division.
Here was Edmonton's record against each team last season.
Oilers vs Flames: 4GP - 1-2-1 15GF-16GA
Oilers vs Canadiens: 2GP 2-0-0 8GF-5GA
Oilers vs Senators: 1GP 0-1-0 2GF-5GA
Oilers vs Maple Leafs: 2GP 1-1-0 7GF-8GA
Oilers vs Canucks: 4GP 2-2-0 10GF-13GA
Oilers vs Jets: 3GP 1-1-1 5GF-7GA
The numbers here are incomplete due to the shortened season. Edmonton had one more game to play against the Flames, Senators, and Canucks should the season have finished as normal.
What about the year before?
Oilers vs Flames: 4GP - 2-2-0 8GF-10GA
Oilers vs Canadiens: 2GP 1-0-1 9GF-6GA
Oilers vs Senators: 2GP 1-0-1 7GF-6GA
Oilers vs Maple Leafs: 2GP 0-2-0 4GF-9GA
Oilers vs Canucks: 4GP 2-2-0 10GF-12GA
Oilers vs Jets: 3GP 1-1-1 12GF-13GA
Overall I wouldn't say Edmonton has any clear cut advantages or disadvantages in this format. While not close to being a Cup contender, the Oilers are a competitive team right now and no team in this Division towers above the rest.
Honestly I love the idea as it would be nice to see Canadian teams get highlighted and emphasized in a way that we typically don't see. Though the numbers were skewed because of the 24 team play in, every Canadian team, with the exception of Ottawa appeared in playoff games this past season. Even Ottawa for all it's failures does have a growing prospect pool and will be exciting to watch.
Even if the first two months of the season are focused around these Divisions, it would help encourage other Canadian markets to watch other Canadian teams more often. It isn't an ideal situation but it is at least a unique way to make the most of a bad situation.
What say you? How would you feel about an All Canadian Division?