The Flyers playing in a division that doesn’t have the Penguins just doesn’t feel right.
The NHL still has a lot to work on if they want to start the season on January 1st. That includes what teams will be playing against each other this season. According to the latest proposal, the Flyers will see some familiar and unfamiliar teams in the Eastern Division.
A few of the teams are the normal foes of Philadelphia. Six of the eight teams, including the Flyers, in the East Division are a part of the Metropolitan Division. The league is looking at four separate divisions for next season: Canada, East, Central, and West.
According to ESPN Insider Greg Wyshynski, this is how all of the division would be laid out if this plan comes to fruition.
As you can see, the Flyers’ opponents are very familiar to them. Aside from the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres, they face the other teams a handful of times in a season. There is a notable team missing from that division, though.
The Penguins would be in the Central based on these potential divisions. That breaks up one of the best rivalries in the NHL. It’s hard to see the league straying away from a Flyers/Penguins matchup. It’s not as if the two teams are far away from each other.
To get a better idea of how the geography of the teams in each division works, the For Pucks Sake Podcast dropped the map including in Wyshynski’s article, which is behind a paywall.
Now while the Flyers normally face almost all of these teams, there could be a slight tweak in how the league is possibly looking at things. While Carolina is included in the Metro, they could just as easily work in the proposed Central as well. Pittsburgh could then be moved back to the East.
Not having the Flyers/Pens rivalry isn’t the worst thing the league could do. But it does take away a lot of animosity and entertainment. And we may not have a lot of matchups left featuring some of the veterans on each team.
Seeing Claude Giroux and Sidney Crosby line up against each other a few times a year brings even more excitement to the matchup. The two have been talked about together for years. Not having that just doesn’t feel right.
Philadelphia and Boston do have a hatred for each other so this could help fuel that matchup. It could, in a way, replace what we normally see with Pittsburgh.
Now with Taylor Hall on board, the Buffalo Sabres could be an interesting team to follow as well. And of course, you have the likes of Artemi Panerin and Alex Ovechkin that you would still facing as well.
So while it is strange to possibly not have to play the Penguins in a season, it gives the Flyers a chance to add more fuel to some other rivalries within their division.
But still, give us back the Flyers/Penguins rivalry when the season eventually gets underway.