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.