There’s been some talk in the last few weeks about realignment of the NHL. This news isn’t new, but I hadn’t really heard anything on it until now (it’s gathering steam as of late). Most assumed that meant that the Winnipeg Jets were going somewhere – either the Northwest Division or the Central division – and a team in that division might move elsewhere. Maybe 2 or 3 teams might move around. Well, sounds like the NHL is entertaining other ideas and one is getting some big consideration.
Remember the days of yore when there were 4 divisions and they were super easy to remember? Well, sounds like the NHL is considering going back to that based on a proposal Gary Bettman made to the NHL Board of Governors back in late June. The division names wouldn’t likely be names as they once were (Gary Bettman’s proposal suggested: Pacific, Midwest, East and South) but the NHL would consist of 2 conferences with 2 divisions in each conference again. One division in each conference will have 8 teams and the other would have 7 teams. The proposal suggests that each team would play teams within their own division five or six times and play every other team twice. I don’t know how they plan this, but somehow they figure that both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Redwings will move out east.
As for playoffs, the Toronto Sun says: “The top four teams in each division would make the playoffs. The first round would be divisonal play, the teams would then re-seed for conference play. Bettman’s idea would not affect a East-West Stanley Cup final matchup.”
The NHL Board of Governors are discussing the viability of this change.
My thoughts on divisions:
Pacific (7): Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, L.A., Anaheim, San Jose, Phoenix
Midwest (8): Winnipeg, Colorado, Minnesota, Dallas, Chicago, St. Louis, Nashville Predators, Detroit
East (7): Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Boston, New York Rangers, New Jersey, Buffalo
South: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Florida, Columbus, New York Islanders
Optionally, Detroit moves East and plays in the East division and Columbus takes Detroit’s place in the Midwest.
Other articles on the subject: