A Guide to the Blue Jackets’ New Foes

Meet the Columbus team's new division rivals.

Chris Gaitten
The Blue Jackets score on Tampa Bay during a 2019 game.

In late 2020, the NHL reorganized its divisions and scheduled games only within those groups, limiting travel while moving on from last season’s bubble. So, except for the Carolina Hurricanes, the Blue Jackets have all new divisional foes in 2021. Forget the Pittsburgh Penguins for now—here’s a primer on the teams Columbus will loathe by May.

Dallas: The Stars have already postponed eight games, allegedly due to a COVID outbreak and power outages, though maybe it was just to spare fans from this lackluster team.

Detroit: The Red Wings are currently in a pillow fight for last with a Dallas team that’s barely even playing. Unlike Little Caesars, whose founding family runs the Wings, they’re neither hot nor ready.

Nashville: That Ryan Johansen trade is aging like milk in Tennessee heat. The Jackets got Seth Jones, who is good, and the Predators get to throw $8 million a year into the Cumberland River.

Chicago: Last summer, the Blackhawks doubled down on their Native American branding. Ask the Washington Football Team how that ends. They should change the mascot to an ostrich with its head in the ice.

Florida: The Panthers landed beloved Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky only to watch him slide into mediocrity. Also, maybe we don’t need a hockey team within spitting distance of the Bahamas.

Tampa Bay: In a world distracted by COVID, Tampa secretly built a backwater sports mecca. The Lightning took the Stanley Cup, the Rays made the World Series, and the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl. Now the Lightning are red hot again. Bill Gates isn’t behind the coronavirus, but Tampa might be.