NHL Realignment Project – Week 34

NHL Realignment Project - Week 34

So Long, Sunshine and Buckeye States

Only a day late, this week! Not too shabby.

Today we’re gonna take a break from solving the league’s (and the association’s) problems… since they don’t want to have the problems solved to begin with. Week 34 is back into “what if” mode (a.k.a. “Tom, you’re an idiot, that’ll never happen”). The structure stays as it currently is in the NHL, but the Florida and Ohio teams have been moved. In doing so, we’ve minimized much of the “outliers” and created divisions that are a lot more sensible then they currently are—”Pacific” Division, I’m looking at you. Oh, and the Phoenix Coyotes survived this week… thought I’d cut ’em a break.

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 34

NHL Realignment Map - Week 34

The Breakdown:

Just what the NHL/PA have decided we’re gonna be stuck with for a while—two conferences of three divisions each.

The Wayne Douglas Gretzky Conference
Northwest Division Southwest Division Central Division
Calgary Flames Anaheim Ducks Chicago Blackhawks
Edmonton Oilers Colorado Avalanche Dallas Stars
Portland Eagles Los Angeles Kings Minnesota Wild
Seattle Metropolitans Phoenix Coyotes St. Louis Blues
Vancouver Canucks San Jose Sharks Winnipeg Jets
The Robert Gordon Orr Conference
Great Lakes Division Northeast Division Southeast Division
Buffalo Sabres Boston Bruins Carolina Hurricanes
Detroit Red Wings Montreal Canadiens Nashville Predators
Hamilton Tigers New Jersey Devils Pittsburgh Penguins
Ottawa Senators New York Islanders Philadelphia Flyers
Toronto Maple Leafs New York Rangers Washington Capitals

Gained teams:

Seattle, Portland, Hamilton


Lost teams:

Florida, Tampa Bay, Columbus


The Benefits:

• Travel — It’s not perfect, but at least there are no crazy “Dallas and Minnesota traveling two time zones for a divisional game” scenarios. Divisions are pretty much as compact as they can been given the realities of geography. Obviously the 15 western-most teams have to travel more, compared to what some of them currently do, I’m sure many would say this is pretty damn good.

• The Detroit Problem — Detroit finally gets their wish of moving East. Columbus did too… unfortunately for CBJ fans, they moved East AND North… to Hamilton.

• Cohesive Northwest — Moving the Florida teams to the Pacific Northwest instantly makes the Northwest Division infinitely more interesting and sensible… Seattle and Portland is far more likely to become what we hoped Tampa/Miami would become they they actually did become (at least the Lightning won a Cup, though).

• Rivalries —  Though we lose CHI/DET, we do get TOR/DET… not bad. The NYC-area teams, the Alberta teams, Pennsylvania teams, and BOS/MTL all stay together too, so check that off your list.


Not even gonna bother with scheduling or playoffs this week. I like my solution from last week so much, I’m just gonna bask in that glory for a while longer.


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


Don’t forget to share our lil’ project with your hockey fan friends. And, as always, thanks for reading. Until next Sunday!

— TF

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

4 Responses to NHL Realignment Project – Week 34

  1. G says:

    Wait, you get rid of the Tampa Bay Lightning but leave the Phoenix Coyotes? I guess this is very pie in the sky!

    Not sure I like Detroit being pulled away from Chicago, even if they get reunited with Toronto. And I’m almost certain that the NHL won’t break up the current Atlantic Division, hell they thought it made more sense to lump Florida and Tampa with the Northeast rather than move one or two teams away!

    • tom says:

      All franchise movement/expansion/contraction is just foolin’ at this point. I played around in “reality-based” ideas for quite a few weeks in a row, and the League and PA don’t really want to solve things… so decided this week to go back to the farcical for a bit.

      I really doubt the NHL would make the public relations backpedal of killing two teams in on state at the same time, but since since I’m just some Fool, I have the luxury of not worrying about PR. 🙂

      But to be honest, this plan is 100% more likely than some of my other insanity… especially Week 3, where I killed every team in the South.

  2. Common Sense says:

    Phoenix is as good as gone.
    Portland isn’t even on the NHL radar.
    TB and Florida are not going anywhere, anythime soon, regardless how how much we want them to.

    Quebec City is a very good possibility as is Seattle in the coming years.

    The Islanders may be gone in 2-3 years.

    • tom says:

      Agree with almost every one of your points… this week’s realignment was me just throwing out reality going with a “which three franchises besides PHX can I move?” exercise.

      As far as who is on the radar… the NHL (as evidenced by past movement) wouldn’t hesitate to allow a team to move just about anywhere if the the money/arena situation was right. There was no serious long-term clamoring for NHL hockey in Dallas, Tampa or Carolina before they got teams, but the right mix of billionaire influence and tax-payer dumbass-ery ended up making those cities become NHL homes (and Cup winners, even).

      I doubt it’d happen, but the with right Daddy Warbucks and a plan to quickly retrofit the Rose Garden Arena a move to Portland is more than a possibility… or any other city for that matter.

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