NHL approves radical realignment

The NHL has been talking about realignment for some time now. The move of the Atlanta franchise to Winnipeg truly got the ball rolling this year, though there seemed to be a consensus that the changes would be minor, such as moving Detroit or Columbus from the Western to the Eastern Conference. Instead, the NHL is choosing to scrap its division and go with four regional conferences. Motivated by a chance to reduce travel costs, schedule formatting would be as follows:

  • 5 or 6 games against teams in conference
  • 2 games (home-and-home) against teams in the other three conferences

Here’s what we have now:

And starting next year:

Personally I would’ve preferred three conferences of ten teams each, but this should do. I hope this leads to seeding without regard to region/conference, even if it means five teams qualify out of one conference while only two or three come out of another conference.

12 thoughts on “NHL approves radical realignment

  1. At last, home and home series between every team in the league. None of this business where we don’t see teams coming to San Jose for several years.

  2. Agreed. This is great news.

  3. When is Cup coming to the Bay Area?

  4. I do not like this for one reason.

    Right now you have two conferences and regardless of division standing the top 8 reach the playoffs.

    By doing it this way with 4 conferences, there maybe teams who are stuck in a really good conference and end up 5th and out of the playoffs.

    While teams who may have had less points than a 5th place team in another conference get in.

    This plus the Eastern teams have 7 in each conference….They have a better shot of making the playoffs mathematically now.

    Bettman is an idiot. Just move Nashville or Columbus to the Southeast and Winnipeg to the West. How hard is this.

    Now he has created an unequal system where the Eastern teams have better odds of making the playoffs and where teams who would be top 8 under the old format in their conference get to go home because their new conference is stacked a particular year.

  5. I agree with Sid concerning the playoff structure , I liked the idea that the top 8 teams in the conference went to the playoffs. Plus there was variety in the first two rounds. Now it’s all about your division. It gets old seeing the same teams all the time.
    Another realignment idea would of been keeping Florida and Tampa Bay together with the Atlantic Teams and moving Pittsburgh with the NorthEast teams along with Columbus. That would be 15 in each Conference…although they apparently are trying to do away with the conference idea alltogether by having just 4 seperate divisions with cross over games..and then a 4 team tournament at the end with the 4 division “Playoff Winners” Don’t like this at all!!! Bettman continues to screw things up.

  6. This entire realignment was only done to appease the whining Penguins and not piss off the Red Wings by moving Columbus to the East. Atlanta/Winnipeg was not the big issue.
    I do like the fact that all teams will be playing each other at least once, but that could of been done without realignment.

  7. As a Stars fan, this is perfect. There’s more to it than geography (recently departed Tom Hicks) but being in the Pacific has been a big part of why the fan base has eroded over the last 10 years or so. We were one of the real successes of the 90s expansion/relocation push, both on-ice and in terms of fan support, but all of the late start times and the lack of natural rivalries have taken their toll. I think the last time we had a real rival in California was when Marchment was a Shark, and that pre-dated the current divisions anyway. It will also be nice to know Pittsburgh , Washington, and Boston will be here every year.

    Not that it necessarily means anything, but I think it’s interesting that the Coyotes could slide easily to the 7-team “Conference C” were they to move to, say, Quebec, without having anyone else move or any awkward temporary fixes like Winnipeg in the SE.

  8. Who knows what is going to happen with Phoenix now that Winnipeg has a team. There really is not an arena ready unless they move to Hamilton….Quebec is years away from a new place. Their old one is outdated.

    This would work for me if the top 8 in the West and East make the playoffs than I am fine with the re-alignment.

    Being Sharks fan, the Pacific Division was the best in the NHL last year and now we have to deal with Vancouver? One team will get screwed under this new system.

    I say run West and East with what they have now as 2 divisions each conference and let the top 8 make it regardless of it like they do now.

    Bettman gets booed in every arena in the NHL….except for Winnipeg. They think he is a god for allowing them to get a team again. haha!

  9. When I say 1 team gets screwed it is in the playoff format.

  10. I’ve been whining that they should go back to the 80’s format ever since it was abandoned in ’93, so I’m all for this.

    Improved divisional rivalries based on playoffs? Check
    Each team plays once in every building? Check

    I would’ve put all the Canadian teams in one division and split the US teams into three, but that’s me. I like it anyway.

  11. I’m not sure that the teams with 8 in their division will be playing every other team home and away. They will have 7×6 (42) division games. There wouild then be 22 teams tp play out of division (44 games) That equals 86 games. 4 too many. so A few teams may not come to certain arenas. The formula does however work for the teams with 7 in their division.

  12. /// Teams in the 8-team divisions will play 5 or 6 games against its division rivals.

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