NHL Realignment Project – Week 39

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NHL Realignment Project - Week 39

Simply Seattle

On time this week!

As much as a lot of us would like to see the NHL contract to 28 teams, the reality is it’d take a massive collapse in league-wide revenues for that to happen… not to mention that Heavy G and the Boyz™ (Gary Bettman and the Board of Governors) will pretty much do anything to avoid the egg-on-face press conference to admit that the league is overextended and that contraction is the only solution). Put bluntly, this isn’t going to happen. So franchise moves from  city to city and/or expansion are the only reality-based changes that the NHL will be seeing anytime soon. With this in mind, I’m gonna be sticking with “actually possible” scenarios for the next few weeks. (I’ll do a sensible contraction scenario soon enough, don’t worry).

With the Seattle arena thing still in the news we’re gonna run with the very viable scenario of the only change in the NHL for 2012-13, team-wise would be a relocation of the Phoenix Coyotes franchise from their home in the desert to the Pacific Northwest’s Emerald City, Seattle. (NOTE: Yes, I am aware of the fact that there has been a bit of buzz around a potential Coyotes buyer being approved by the league (meaning they approve of him to potentially buy the team, not they have approved the sale itself), but we’ll deal with the implications of that next week). So let’s look at a PHX-to-SEA move.

 

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 39

NHL Realignment Map – Week 39

The Breakdown:

Those of you who are fans of the current league set-up will (mostly) love this. We’re sticking with the two conferences, made up of three 5-team divisions set-up that has been the league’s preference since 1998 (aside: see sixteenwins‘ infographic on all of the league’s realignments over the years). Of all the realistic scenarios based on the current format, this is probably my favorite… not to mention one I wouldn’t be surprised seeing implemented (at least until expansion or the Islanders, Panthers, Jackets, Lightning, and/or Hurricanes throw a wrench into the works).

Seattle’s addition means there are actually five teams in the Pacific time zone (and on/near the Pacific Ocean for that matter), so that makes that division name make sense for the first time ever. Peeling Vancouver away from the two Alberta teams will undoubtedly ruffle some feathers, but replacing them with a rival in an amazing city only a three-ish hour bus ride away from their home makes up for it. Pulling Dallas out of the Pacific and Winnipeg out of the Southeast rounds out the “sensible” moves we’re implementing. Detroit’s yearning to be in the Eastern Conference has unfortunately not been appeased, but hopefully a smarter scheduling will make them a little less sad).

 

The Wayne Douglas Gretzky Conference
Pacific Mountain West Central
Anaheim Ducks Calgary Flames Chicago Blackhawks
Los Angeles Kings Colorado Avalanche Dallas Stars
San Jose Sharks Edmonton Oilers Detroit Red Wings
Seattle Totems Minnesota Wild Nashville Predators
Vancouver Canucks Winnipeg Jets St. Louis Blues
The Robert Gordon Orr Conference
Northeast Atlantic Southeast
Boston Bruins New Jersey Devils Carolina Panthers
Buffalo Sabres New York Islanders Columbus Blue Jackets
Montreal Canadiens New York Rangers Florida Panthers
Ottawa Senators Philadelphia Flyers Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Maple Leafs Pittsburgh Penguins Washington Capitals

 

Gained Teams:

none

 

Lost Teams:

none

 

(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 39

  1. Jason M. says:

    I really like your week 39 possible scenario for NHL realignment. As far as I’m concerned, the NHL must keep its 3 division per conference format. By eliminating 1 division per conference, the NHL will be right back to its pre 1998 congested divisions format. With 3 divisions per conference, more teams of course have another divisional title to battle for. I also like the way you have the divisions as being more time zone friendly. This also must be addressed by the NHL. When it comes to how many times divisional opponents play each other in a season, I fully agree that it needs to be cut down to 4 times from the current format which is 6. Also, I too, would like to see all teams play each other in a season and I know it can be done. Before I forget, I like how you have the Blue Jackets moved over to the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference. To me, it makes sence to move them over before Detroit as Columbus is that much further east than Detroit is and Detroit has a much more economical stable team that can handle the Western Conference travel better than what Columbus could. Someday I hope Detroit can have its wish and move to the east.

    We all know about the Phoenix situation. One day the team is moving to Seattle, the next day it’s Quebec City. As of this moment, it looks like they will be staying in Phoenix, or to be more accurate, Glendale. What ever happens to the franchise, there should be drafts on how the divisions should look like whatever happens with Phoenix.. Your week 39 covers a possible Seattle move or to stay in Glendale. If the team goes anywhere else, I believe this is how the divisions should look like.

    Western Conference

    Pacific Division
    Anaheim Ducks
    Colorado Avalanche
    Los Angeles Kings
    San Jose Sharks
    Vancouver Canucks

    Northwest Division
    Calgary Flames
    Chicago Blackhawks
    Edmonton Oilers
    Minnesota Wild
    Winnipeg Jets

    Central Division
    Dallas Stars
    Detroit Red Wings
    Kansas City (Coyotes)
    Nashville Predators
    St Louis. Blues

    Eastern Conference
    All divisions would stay the same as you had it in your original week 39 article.

    As you can see here, I have the Coyotes team moving to Kansas City, (Central Division). This team along with a Dallas move also to the Central, would push the Blackhawks and the Blue Jackets out of the Central Division. The Blue Jackets would go to the Southeast Division and would push out the Winnipeg Jets who would then go to the Northwest Division, while the Blackhawks would go to the Northwest as well. They would replace Vancouver and Colorado. Note: Chicago would be the closest city to the Northwest Division. You last would have Vancouver and Colorado move to the Pacific Division to replace Dallas and Phoenix.

    Western Conference

    Pacific Division
    Anaheim Ducks
    Colorado Avalanche
    Los Angeles Kings
    San Jose Sharks
    Vancouver Canucks

    Northwest Division
    Calgary Flames
    Chicago Blackhawks
    Edmonton Oilers
    Minnesota Wild
    Winnipeg Jets

    Central Division
    Columbus Blue Jackets
    Dallas Stars
    Detroit Red Wings
    Nashville Predators
    St. Louis Blues

    Eastern Conference

    Northeast Division
    Buffalo Sabres
    Montreal Canadiens
    Ottawa Senators
    Quebec City (Coyotes)
    Toronto Maple Leafs

    Atlantic Division
    Boston Bruins
    New Jersey Devils
    New York Islanders
    New Yorks Rangers
    Philadelphia Flyers

    Southeast Division
    Carolina Hurricanes
    Florida Panthers
    Pittsburgh Penguins
    Tampa Bay Lightning
    Washington Capitals

    In my final division realignment, I have Quebec City as the place where the Coyotes team would end up. They would go to the Northeast Division and would replace Boston who move to the Atlantic Division and replace Pittsburgh who would move into the Southeast Division. When it comes to the Western Conference, this is the only scenario where Columbus would have to stay in the Central Division. As for the Northwest and Pacific Divisions, both of them would stay the same as what you seen in my previous divisional lineup scenario. I personally can’t see there being too many teams being upset with these possible scenarios. They are for the most part fair to every team. It will be interesting to see what comes out of this whole thing.

    • tom says:

      Thanks for the input… very thorough :)

      Folks in Pittsburgh would be unhappy to lose the Flyers, but I hear a lot of chatter that Philly fans are as into their rivalry with the Rangers as they are with the Pens… so they might be willing to go for it.

      Nice work.

  2. Whiskey Mcclinton says:

    This is great. I think a Seattle Or Portland team would be great. There may even be spillover fans from Vancouver, just like Toronto fans that show up at Buffalo games.
    Not to mention the Pacific Division would actually contain cities on the Pacific, all in one time zone.
    I also like seeing Dallas and Nashville as rivals in the same division.

    I approve. Now make it happen.

    • tom says:

      Thanks for the feedback. I think this might be one of the most sensible scenarios I’ve done in this whole realignment project. One could actually see this happening if PHX moved to SEA (or POR) and if Gary Bettman would be willing to let the 2 Conferences/6 Divisions status quo continue.

      The move to 4 Conferences will probably just have to wait until expansion gets us to 32 teams.

      Thanks for reading!

      —TF

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