NHL Realignment Project – Week 25

NHL Realignment Project - Week 25

Oh Six (Times Six)!

This week on the NHL Realignment Project we once again fool around with the idea that the Original Six deserve their own division/conference/whatever. Unlike last week where we had to contract six teams to get to an divisble-by-six (and still be an even number) to get this to work out in a manageable way, this week we’ve gone the other way… expanded to 36 teams (math still works, see?)

So our new 36-team NHL has two conferences, each made up of 3 divisions… Original Six, Gretzky, Dionne, Hull, Lemieux and Bossy. There’s a bit of a log-jam up in the top-right of the map… but keeping PIT and PHI together and NYI and NJ together is worth the spaghetti-look that we’ve created. Extra bonus, this week for Buffalo fans, you are no longer in a division name for a Hull.

Playoffs would be pretty similar to the current setup, except I’d qualify the top two teams in each division and then have two more next-best-records wildcard teams to round out each conferences 8 playoff qualifiers.

It’s been a while since I’ve referenced it, but for those of you out there ready to argue that there is no way the NHL can go to 36 teams, first, I’d say, “this week’s scenario is admittedly farcical” and if necessary, I’d then invoke the King of North America Defense.


The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 25

NHL Realignment Map - Week 25

The Breakdown:


Original Six Division: Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Montreal, New York, Toronto

Lemieux Division: Carolina, Florida, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington

Bossy Division: Buffalo, Columbus, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Quebec


Hull Division: Dallas, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis

Gretzky Division: Calgary, Edmonton, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Winnipeg

Dionne Division: Anaheim, Colorado, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose


Gained teams:

Kansas City, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Quebec, Portland, Seattle


Lost teams:



The Benefits:

• Tradition — The Original Six teams gets the recognition they deserve with their own division. Major rivalries such as PIT/PHI,  LAK/SJ, EDM/CGY to name a few have been maintained in-division.

• Travel — Other than Winnipeg (sorry guys), nobody has an in-division rival more than one time-zone over.

• Rivalries —  Even though Winnipeg is kinda screwed on travel, they do get a whole heapin’ mess’o rivals to content with. The Alberta teams and Vancouver are all in-division, through in what will sure turn into an awesome rivalry in Seattle/Portland, and the Gretzky division will be amazing. Cali, Colorado and the two desert cities will be great too. Oh, but wait, there will be a great Missouri rivalry… oh and Dallas/Minnesota have history… jeez, there’s also the current Southeast Division, but now with the awesome PIT/PHI rivalry… NYI/NJ will intensify… Quebec and Ottawa will heat up too. All awesome rivalry gold — oh and hey, and we haven’t even mentioned the original six!


Too tired to think through scheduling scenarios, but with this many teams, I’m thinking that we probably wouldn’t be able to see every team both home and away each season. Perhaps, but like I said to tired to think it through. Other than that… I like this little fantasy. Hope you did too.


(H/T to oilersnation.com for the original map)


Until next Sunday!

— TF

Make sure to check out the entire NHL Realignment Project ».

14 Responses to NHL Realignment Project – Week 25

  1. chris says:


    I’m from Quebec CIty and the Nordiques have to be in the same division than the Canadiens!!!!!!!

    We love to hate them so much!!! haha

    Good job overall!

    • tom says:

      I agree, that in any “normal” division breakdown, you guys and the Habs ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO be together… this week’s premise of the “Original Six Division” tied my hands. 🙂

      Thanks for the comment… check back next Sunday for more fun.

  2. Pingback: » NHL Realignment Project – Week 26 Tom Fulery – The Home Of The NHL Realignment Project

  3. Anthony Paolucci says:

    In my opinion, this is without a doubt the best scenario for the NHL. I think the NHL is destined to be 36 teams and no more. 6 divisions with 6 teams in each plus an original six division! Congrats mate! this is your best work 🙂 PS: I also like the idea of Las Vegas getting an NHL Team.

    • tom says:

      I, for one, would love to eventually see an NHL of this size… because it will have meant that the sport is thriving and has grown by leaps and bounds in all areas (youth, minor leagues, international participation, etc.).

      Maybe if I’m the next commish, I’ll put us on a 20-year master plan to grow right (in the right places) and eventually get us here. 🙂

      • Anthony Paolucci says:

        Yeah, if the NHL is gonna grow to that size it would have to mean the game has grown significantly everywhere. I think the game will grow though. Like I said earlier the NHL should be 36 teams and no more. I emphasize that because I think 36 teams is the perfect number. More than 36 can cause financial problems. This is just assuming if the game gets as popular as it should. Out of all the divisions, I think each team is where they should be. So like I said great job with this :)!

      • Anthony Paolucci says:

        Yeah, if the NHL is gonna grow to that size it would have to mean the game has grown significantly everywhere. I think the game will grow though. Like I said earlier the NHL should be 36 teams and no more. I emphasize that because I think 36 teams is the perfect number. More than 36 can cause financial problems. This is just assuming if the game gets as popular as it should. Out of all the divisions, I think each team is where they should be. So like I said great job with this 🙂

  4. Anthony Paolucci says:

    Also one more thing! If you could, can you please link me to the image of the Portland and Las Vegas logo. Unless you created them of course, but if you didn’t can you please link me. It would be greatly appreciated 🙂

    • tom says:

      I’ve been looking forever for those two images again, myself.

      I finally found the scorpion: http://www.veryicon.com/icons/culture/wild-west-1/black-scorpion.html

      But cannot for the life of me find that hawk/eagle/falcon. I’ve tried every Google image search combination of Hawk/Eagle/Falcon/Raven and Haida/Tlingit/Northwest Art/Inuit/Eskimo/Native Canadian Art, but the exact match eludes me. It sucks because I’d love to link to the artist and give him/her credit. One the plus side, those searches have turned up some amazing stuff. 🙂

  5. Anthony Paolucci says:

    Lol I know I may be bugging you, but if this did happen how would this affect the AHL? would they realign and contract or expand. Maybe you can try to realign the AHL for this map! Im curious what you come up with.

    • tom says:

      Not bugging at all 🙂

      That’s an excellent question. Perhaps some lower tier teams would get promoted (ECHL for example). That would create a void in the lower tier(s) that was raided, but that is less problematic than having a void in the AHL, since the current (and I’m sure permanent, moving forward) structure of one AHL affiliate per each NHL team. The ECHL affiliations with NHL/AHL teams is less structured with some teams having multiple affiliations and some being completely independent.

      Expansion in the AHL instead of just promotion of ECHL teams would be possible too, but in my opinion harder, since you’d have to find cities without ECHL teams that still have enough thirst for hockey to be able to support a team in the second tier of North American hockey.

      • Anthony Paolucci says:

        Yeah I totally agree with you, Promotion would be the best option for the AHL, because each AHL teams needs an NHL affiliation. I was doing research and I think this would be best for the AHL with the realignment up above:

        Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles Kings)
        Portland Pirates (Portland Hawks)
        Providence Bruins (Boston Bruins)
        Springfield Falcons (Columbus Blue Jackets)
        St. John’s IceCaps (Winnipeg Jets)
        Worcester Sharks (San Jose Sharks)

        Adirondack Phantoms (Philadelphia Flyers)
        Albany Devils (New Jersey Devils)
        Binghamton Senators (Ottawa Senators)
        Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres)
        Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay Lightning)
        Utica Comets (Vancouver Canucks)

        Bridgeport Sound Tigers (New York Islanders)
        Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes)
        Hartford Wolf Pack (New York Rangers)
        Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals)
        Norfolk Admirals (Milwaukee Admirals)
        Wilkes-Barre Penguins (Pittsburgh Penguins)

        Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings)
        Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens)
        Iowa Wild (Minnesota Wild)
        Lake Erie Monsters (Colorado Avalanche)
        Rapid City Rush (Quebec Nordiques)
        Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs)

        Chicago Wolves (St. Louis Blues)
        Oklahoma City Barons (Nashville Predators)
        Quad City Mallards (Anaheim Ducks)
        Rockford IceHogs (Chicago Blackhawks)
        Tulsa Oilers (Edmonton Oilers)
        Wichita Thunder (Kansas City Scouts)

        Abbotsford Heat (Calgary Flames)
        Alaska Aces (Seattle Metroplitans)
        Bakersfield Condors (Phoenix Coyotes)
        Las Vegas Wranglers (Las Vegas Scorpions)
        San Antonio Rampage (Florida Panthers)
        Texas Stars (Dallas Stars)

        Your probably wondering how i figured this out? Well all I did was look at minor-professional leagues and found 7 teams that didn’t have an affiliation. Exactly 7! and with the Milwaukee Admirals being in the NHL now, the AHL needed 7 teams. So since these teams didn’t have any affiliation I figured it would be best to send them to the AHL and gave them all an NHL partner!!

        Tell me what you think of this :). Would you change anything differently?

        PS: Thanks for the Las Vegas logo! And that’s ok if you didn’t find the Portland logo :). I appreciate you looking so hard for it! Thanks again!

        • tom says:

          Now that’s the kind of obsessive behavior I’m talking about! It’s like I’m looking in a mirror 🙂

          Very nice. I like the pairings quite a bit too (and I appreciate the cleverness of the Portland/Portland, Admirals/Admirals and Ducks/Mallards match ups… well played). Only changes I’d suggest are maybe a relocation of the Las Vegas AHL team to somewhere w/o an NHL team (I’d suggest Houston since they just lost their team to Iowa).

          Excellent work, my friend.

  6. Anthony Paolucci says:

    Thanks for the good feedback!! Yeah I kind of get obsessed with this kinda stuff. Now its a perfect NHL and AHL map 🙂

    I took into consideration your realignment of the Las Vegas relocation to Houston and I think your right. Houston deserves a team where Las Vegas still needs to prove themselves.

    Thanks for everything,

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