NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 10, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 10, 2020

A proposed divisional realignment for this season is revealed, Forbes publishes its annual list of NHL team values, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun cites sources indicating what a divisional realignment for this season could look like. As expected, the seven Canadian clubs will play in their own division while the 24 American clubs would be divided into three eight-team regional divisions.

According to LeBrun, one division would contain the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Another would contain the Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning.

The third division would contain the Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues and Vegas Golden Knights.

The realignment was discussed during yesterday’s NHL Board of Governors meeting. LeBrun cautions nothing is finalized and is subject to change. The vote by the governors could come by week’s end if all goes well.

LeBrun’s colleague Frank Seravalli reports there was some pushback to the proposed realignment. The Penguins want to ensure they remain in the East while the Wild, Stars and Blues wanted to remain with the Central Division teams. However, the league wants three divisions containing eight clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There could be some tweaking of teams in the American divisions but I think what LeBrun reported is what we’re going to see when the puck drops next month.

FORBES.COM: The effects of COVID-19 upon the NHL resulted in the first decline in team values since 2001. The average value declined by two percent to $653 million. League revenue dropped by 14 percent to $4.4 billion while operating income fell by 68 percent to $250 million.

The New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Montreal Canadiens are the league’s most valuable franchises, with the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins rounding out the top five. The Vancouver Canucks are the 10th most valuable.

Fifteen teams, including the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Islanders, Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators, suffered operating losses last season. More operating losses are expected for 2020-21 due to the season being significantly shortened by the pandemic.

Drew Dorweiller, a managing director at Montreal-based investment bank IJW & Co., speculates one way the league could raise capital is through the sale of minority stakes in franchises to investors.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow the Forbes link above for the complete list to see where your favorite team placed on their list.

THE ATHLETIC’s Kevin Kurz reports hearing if the Sharks aren’t able to hold training camp in San Jose/Santa Clara County due to local health restrictions they could instead train and play in the Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona area.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Dalton Johnson reports the Sharks could also train and play in Oakland or Las Vegas.

NBC SPORTS: recently reported the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers lead the NHL Reverse Retro jersey sales. The Anaheim Ducks, Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes round out the top five.