New Conference Alignment is set for next year…

By , December 5, 2011 7:39 pm

Conference 1:
Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, San Jose, Anaheim, Colorado, Phoenix
Conference 2:
Winnipeg, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Nashville, Columbus, Dallas, Minnesota
Conference 3:
Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Boston, Buffalo, Florida, Tampa Bay
Conference 4:
Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, NY Rangers, NY Islanders, New Jersey, Carolina, Washington

The teams in 7-team Conference will play each other 6 times. Teams in 8-team Conference will play some 5, some 6 inside Conference.
The first two rounds of playoffs will be played within each conference (1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3).

EDIT: Correction… the realignment has been voted on and passed by the Board of Governors, but still needs NHLPA approval.

Some new tweets:
Elliott Friedman “1. Re-alignment requires NHLPA approval. 2. Playoff format for 3rd rd and beyond still not finalized. GMs to determine.”

Andy Strickland: “League source: ‘don’t get caught up in two confereces having 7 vs two having 8 teams…NHL may expand to 32 teams and all 4 will have 8 #NHL'”


What do you think of the new league alignment?

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27 Responses to “New Conference Alignment is set for next year…”

  1. Grass&sOIL says:

    Realignment has been approved and details will soon be released.

  2. Racki says:

    Should be interesting. Word is each team will have a home and home with every other team. Wonder if they’ll modify the playoff structure, as they’ve been talking about.

  3. Racki says:

    info coming out now, i’ll whip up a post momentarily

  4. Grass&sOIL says:

    I’m so-so on it.
    On one hand there is no more boring Minny games 6 times a year

    On the other hand we are in a 8 team conference. I would hope they leave the potential to do cross over playoff births to even it out. (if you are the 5th place team in one conference and have a better record then a 4th place team in another you should take their spot.)

  5. Racki says:

    Best part of this… no more East vs. West Cup Final… any teams can meet now.

  6. Grass&sOIL says:

    I feel the NHL is rigging it to make it easier on the big market eastern teams to make the post season since those teams are only facing competition from 6 other teams.

    I like the rest of it(especially the conference matchups in the first 2 rounds of the playoffs) but because of the unfairness the 8 team conference teams receive I am against this.

    They should have gone with 2 conferences made up of 2 divisions each(one 8 team division and one 7 teams division) with the potential for a cross over playoff birth if the 5th place team in the 8 team division had a better record then the 4th place team in the 7 team division.

    For this reason I am against this.

  7. Racki says:

    The Oilers are going to have an even tougher time making the playoffs now, I think.

  8. Grass&sOIL says:

    Maybe they are just leaving room for the Yotes to move into one of the eastern/southern based conferences. That or contract 2 teams????

  9. steveb12344 says:

    I agree with Grass&.. All they did is move winnipeg into the west, with noone going back east

    It just makes it harder for west teams. There really should have been 15 on each side with crossover posibilities, as already alluded to. It just shows the pull that some eastern teams have.

    I would have been very happy with it that way, otherwise i have to agree, unfair.

  10. Grass&sOIL says:

    I have a feeling that 4 the most part we will be seeing the same 6 teams(NYR, Phi Mtl, Bos, Wsh, Pit) in those 7 team Conferences making the post season every year as well. There are a lot of perennial weaker teams in there.

    On the plus side this will probably force contraction.

  11. Racki says:

    EDIT: Correction… the realignment has been voted on and passed by the Board of Governors, but still needs NHLPA approval.

    Some new tweets:
    “1. Re-alignment requires NHLPA approval. 2. Playoff format for 3rd rd and beyond still not finalized. GMs to determine.”

  12. Racki says:

    A recent tweet from Andy Strickland:

    League source “don’t get caught up in two confereces having 7 vs two having 8 teams…NHL may expand to 32 teams and all 4 will have 8 #NHL

    The one case where I’d be OK with expansion.. although always prefer contraction

  13. oilinblood says:

    does anyone think travel will be a bit easier through the year? I guess it depends on if they tell the nhl computer scheduler to keep road trips to a specific conference.
    we are in a tough conference but that hasnt changed. if phoenix goes east this coming summer than alls good.

    LOoks to me like a plan for expansion :S yuck
    28 teams would be better than 32.

  14. Racki says:

    It sounds like there is a good chance the league expands to 32 teams now, which this new alignment would be geared more for (not that I’m at all for that).

    edit: agreed, 28 teams would be better.

  15. oilinblood says:

    Racki: It sounds like there is a good chance the league expands to 32 teams now, which this new alignment would be geared more for.

    not only that but you would expect the expansion to be more eastern teams which likely eliminates seattle, portland, las vegas.

    Why allow Quebec city to get Phoenix when you can charge 200 M expansion fee?

  16. Grass&sOIL says:

    Racki:
    A recent tweet from Andy Strickland:

    League source “don’t get caught up in two confereces having 7 vs two having 8 teams…NHL may expand to 32 teams and all 4 will have 8 #NHL

    The one case where I’d be OK with expansion.. although always prefer contraction

    The NHL must be gearing up for a fight with the TML over a 2nd team in Southern Ontario. Only way I can see the NHL expansion as a realistic option.

  17. Grass&sOIL says:

    Why allow Quebec city to get Phoenix when you can charge 200 M expansion fee?

    Well when the Yotes are sold the NHL is the ones who will get the check from that sale so I would think Yotes to QC is still the most realistic option.

  18. oilinblood says:

    Grass&sOIL: Well when the Yotes are sold the NHL is the ones who will get the check from that sale so I would think Yotes to QC is still the most realistic option.

    good point. i always forget the nhl owns them in the first place.

    bettman has a good interview on the front page of the tsn website. i know most people acknowledge that i am a fan of bettman (definently in the minority there… more like on an island) so i will quickly state that he is the bog’s representative and has repeatedly stated that he doesnt see expansion working for the nhl at this time. I am slightly dissapointed with this new allignment as it likely stops any further talk of portland/seattle getting a team. Bettman and Daly had gone on record saying that they were investigating those sites and ownership possibilities with great interest. Seattle is a great sports town and would have a good rivalry with the canucks. It also has one of the best sports and entertainment districts –although they were really short sighted to not involve hockey originally in the uses for the state of the art buildings.

    *edit* unless phoenix is going to seattle/portland. that would be great.

  19. zackman35 says:

    Based on finances which two teams would be going? Pheonix and Florida, maybe the Islanders (hopefully not, really hate to see a franchise with history gone). If that happened would the new conferences be tweaked and re-aligned?

    One hand I would like to see well deserving cities (more Canadian than American obviously) get a franchise but I don’t want the talent to disperse even more by adding more teams in the mix. The NHL is simply not good enough for that kind of expansion yet. If every team had a similar make-up to the Penguins (3 C’s deep, Good D, excellent G) then yeah, I’d say time for expansion but not even close right now. The cities may be ready but the league isn’t. Something is going to have to change though for the playing field to become more fair.

  20. Steve-O says:

    Pros: Home in homes; less travel for west teams, more travel for east teams
    Cons: Set up for expansion (boooooooooo); Could have a team with more points miss the playoffs because of the conference based playoffs
    Meh: Don’t really care for the removal of East vs West. I will miss the Campbell + Wales trophies (unless they get rebranded).

    Other thoughts: They should bring back the old names (Smythe, Norris, Patrick + Adams), also this may not be in time for next year, so we may have one more year of Winnipeg in the SE

  21. Alan-NottsUK says:

    I’m not a huge fan of this, as I think some of you know, however if the league does expand to 32 teams it will be much fairer.

    The only plus side of it is that there should be ‘less’ travel involved over the course of the season.

    Florida’s teams get screwed though

  22. chucker says:

    Not really sure what to think. San Jose and LA more…could be tough.

  23. Steve-O says:

    Oh for sure, it’s more difficult for the west teams to make the playoffs.

  24. Grass&sOIL says:

    chucker:
    Not really sure what to think. San Jose and LA more…could be tough.

    I’m not really sure but I thought we normally did alright against pacific teams.

  25. Alan-NottsUK says:

    out of interest why are so many people against expansion?

  26. Racki says:

    Alan-NottsUK:
    out of interest why are so many people against expansion?

    For me, mainly because of 2 reasons:

    Average league talent level drops (in theory anyways) the more teams there are in the league. I think many of us harbor a bit of hatred towards the idea due to the league being a lot more watered down in post 90s expansion. Now, of course, no one looks back at the original six and says “damn it, why did the league ever expand in 1967″ anymore (well if they do, they’re just old codgers).

    But when you think about it, going from 21 teams to 30 increases the amount of players in the NHL by over 200 players by today’s 23-man roster standards. That’s a fairly significant jump. 2 more teams isn’t going to kill us, but I’d rather head the other way.

    The other lesser reason is that we see these wasted franchise like Phoenix, Atlanta (who were moved of course), and such floundering around in the league with little fan support. I’d rather the NHL cut back 2 teams to 28, have 7 teams in each “conference” and considered moving teams to different markets (such as Seattle, Quebec, etc.).

    To a lesser extent, it also makes it a little easier on us to make the playoffs if we only have to finish ahead of 3 teams instead of 4 :P

    Anyways, I don’t think the league should think about expanding to new markets.. it should think about moving existing “failed franchises” into those new markets.

    Grass&sOIL: I’m not really sure but I thought we normally did alright against pacific teams.

    I think we’ve got a real tough conference here. Not just in the case of playing these teams, but we have to finish in points ahead of all those high point teams.

  27. Racki says:

    Looks like the Oilers are happy with the prospects of more balanced travel throughout the league:
    http://t.co/lVmqoVwk

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