NHL Realignment Project – Week 37

NHL Realignment Project - Week 37


West, west, west, west, east

This week we’re adding four new teams to the map west of the Gretzky-Orr line (two via expansion and two via relocation). Just to make sure the eastern side of the map doesn’t feel completely neglected we’ve allowed another relocation to stay within the Orr Conference. The Pacific Northwest has a love of hockey that is untapped and the MLS is showing us that the Vancouver/Seattle/Portland corridor has great fans that love great rivalries with their “neighbors”. Houston and KC round out the central part of our map and Quebec gets the team they deserve. I also threw Columbus a bone, and let them keep their team this week. Let’s check it out.


The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 37

NHL Realignment Map - Week 37


The Breakdown:

We’re going with a 2 conferences of 2 divisions each format. Again, we’ve named the conferences are  for Gretzky and Orr while the division names are our old favorites—Patrick, Adams, Norris, and Smythe. Eight teams in each division giving us a total of 32 teams.

The Wayne Douglas Gretzky Conference
Smythe Division Norris Division
Anaheim Ducks Chicago Blackhawks
Calgary Flames Colorado Avalanche
Edmonton Oilers Dallas Stars
Los Angeles Kings Houston Aeros
Portland Eagles Kansas City Scouts
San Jose Sharks Minnesota Wild
Seattle Totems St. Louis Blues
Vancouver Canucks Winnipeg Jets
The Robert Gordon Orr Conference
Patrick Division Adams Division
Buffalo Sabres Boston Bruins
Columbus Blue Jackets Carolina Hurricanes
Detroit Red Wings Montreal Canadiens
Nashville Predators New Jersey Devils
Philadelphia Flyers New York Rangers
Pittsburgh Penguins Ottawa Senators
Tampa Bay Lightning Quebec Nordiques
Toronto Maple Leafs Washington Capitals

Gained Teams:

Seattle, Portland, Kansas City, Houston, Quebec City


Lost Teams:

Miami, Long Island, Phoenix


The Benefits:

• Geography — Like last week, every team has to travel to Canada for divisional games. Every division is stretched vertically (the two easternmost a little less, but still very stretchy), so that is reasonably equal as well. All this means that nobody can whine about “Our travel leaves us at a massive disadvantage”.

• Travel — Once again, North-South is the way. Divisional games may necessitate long trips, but again, staying within your time zone or only having to travel one over makes all the difference for player fatigue and for TV ratings.

• Rivalries —  Though we lose CHI/DET, we do get TOR/DET… not bad. The NYR/NJD, the Alberta teams, Pennsylvania teams, and BOS/MTL all stay together too, so check that off your list. New teams give us great rivalries too, SEA/POR/VAN, DAL/HOU, KC/STL

• Heritage —  C’mon! The division names are awesome. Hockey is special, now the conference and division names reflect that.



Divisional Games: 3 home & 3 away vs. 7 teams = 42 games

Non-Divisional Games: 1 home & 1 away vs. 24 teams = 48 games

TOTAL = 90 games—yay, more hockey.



Top three from each division qualify, plus next two best records from the conference (as wildcards).

Division Champs seeded 1 & 2, based on record. All other qualifiers seeded 3-8, based on record (so yes, a wildcard can have a higher seed than a top-three qualifier. This keeps the regular season more interesting and division-focused, as finishing top-three is the first ticket into the playoffs. Wildcard is just a backdoor option to keep things a little fair for 4th and 5th placed teams in a division who is having “a super-stacked-with-awesomeness year”.

Once qualification happens (division-centric), other than division champions getting 1 & 2, it’s all about your record for seeding (conference-centric). This way we are more likely to avoid a “two-best-teams-meeting-too-early-in-the-playoffs scenario”.

(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 37

  1. Glen R says:

    Great work Tom! I think this is actually one of your more likely visions. I would consider swapping Ottawa-Montreal-Quebec-Boston for Tampa-Nashville-Pittsburgh-Philly, this will keep the Pennsylvania teams with the New York area teams where I think they would like to be. Also Buffalo and Boston have long had a strong rivalry which is good to keep it together.

    It may make one division too Canadian though, but Detroit, Buffalo, Boston, and Columbus are close enough, we’ll take ’em 🙂

  2. hjs06460 says:

    Sometimes I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

    I’m a Flyers fan, and honestly, I care a LOT more about rivalries with the Rangers and Devils than with the Penguins. Sure, it would be nice to keep playing them, but I honestly don’t have that much attachment to it. Am I really the only Flyers fan like this? All these realignment plans people come up with make a big deal of the PHL-PIT rivalry, and I don’t understand why.

    But maybe that’s just me…

    • tom says:

      Nice to hear that sentiment. I’m “outside the bubble” when it comes to that particular rivalry, so I have to rely on perceived “stink” that happens whenever the talk of separating the two Pennsylvania teams comes up. Maybe you are part of a silent majority that no one realizes is there.

      Good to know. I’ve always felt kinda bad when I’ve split you guys up in some of my scenarios (any of those tickle your fancy more?)… maybe I’ll try some more with PHI/NYR/NJD maintained as rivals and PIT hanging with some new enemies.

      Thanks for reading!


  3. Chase says:

    YES! NHL to Portland and Seattle NOW please!

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