On Tuesday the 2013-14 season will kick off with a completely revamped divisional structure. The NHL realignment puts an emphasis on divisional rivalries because they will be in direct competition with each other for the majority of the playoff spots.
This season will also mark the move of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings to the Eastern Conference while the Winnipeg Jets will finally get to head to the Western Conference. A lot of discussion has been dedicated to the Red Wings’ shift in particular and it will be interesting to see if a team that had sustained success in the west can keep that going in the Atlantic Division.
Another big question going into the season is if the Chicago Blackhawks can repeat. They have brought back most of the guys that captured the Stanley Cup mere months ago, but even still, winning the Stanley Cup in back-to-back seasons is a daunting task, especially in the salary cap era.
While we wait for the season to start, NBCSN’s NHL analyst Jeremy Roenick has offered up his divisional previews, all of which you can watch below.
It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.