NHL Realignment Project – Week 42

NHL Realignment Project - Week 42

I’m Having Contractions

Back by popular demand, I’m going to be putting forth a realignment scenario that involves… Gary, hide your eyes… contraction.

The more I think about it, the more I realize it just won’t ever happen. The following forces would rise up to fight it:

  • The league — it doesn’t want that kind of egg on it’s face
  • The NHL Players Association — they REALLY don’t want it, because it would force them act like normal human beings and have to deal with a massive job layoff
  • The many cities that want NHL franchises
  • The smattering of billionaires out there that want to milk said cities for subsidized funds that they put towards what really is just a fun toy to show off to their other billionaire friends

But, since I am King of North America, let’s ignore all those factors and just do it one more time. Here we go…

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 42

NHL Realignment Map - Week 42


The Breakdown:

Since I am a great and kind king (unless you’re a Coyotes or Columbus fan), I’ve tossed Gary a bone by sticking with his 4-Conference set up, and tossed the players (well, the 93.3% percent that didn’t get pink slips) one as well by even-ing up the number of teams in each conference and keeping the travel reasonably limited to north-south in nature.


NHL West
Anaheim Ducks Los Angeles Kings
Calgary Flames San Jose Sharks
Colorado Avalanche Vancouver Canucks
Edmonton Oilers
NHL Central
Chicago Blackhawks Nashville Predators
Dallas Stars St. Louis Blues
Detroit Red Wings Winnipeg Jets
Minnesota Wild
NHL North
Boston Bruins New York Rangers
Montreal Canadiens Ottawa Senators
New Jersey Devils Washington Capitals
New York Islanders
NHL East
Buffalo Sabres Pittsburgh Penguins
Carolina Hurricanes Tampa Bay Lightning
Florida Panthers Toronto Maple Leafs
Philadelphia Flyers


Gained Teams:



Lost Teams:

Phoenix, Columbus



Conference Games: 3 home & 3 away vs. 6 teams = 36 games

Inter-Conference Games: 1 home & 1 away vs. 21 teams = 42 games

An additional Home-and-Away versus a single opponent in each of the conferences not your own (to rotate through the league every 7 years): 1 home & 1 away vs. 3 teams = 6 games

TOTAL = 84 games (a.k.a. still not enough for Gretzky’s single season records to be threatened)



Top four in each conference qualify. First two rounds determine Conference Champions. Third round is the semi-finals (with the team with the best regular season record choosing his opponent). Fourth round is the Stanley Cup Finals.


Bonus Note:

Dear, Columbus and Phoenix, I promise you get to keep your teams next week. I’ve been mean enough for long enough. Everyone deserves a break, right?

(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 ».


6 Responses to NHL Realignment Project – Week 42

  1. Glen R says:

    Uhhhh…Detroit is in the Western half, did you change it after you wrote it?

    I mostly like this one, I would like to swap Washington and Toronto, but that is pretty minor, otherwise it’s great!

    • tom says:

      D’oh. My brain-drain totally made me miss the “benefits” section. That was just left-over from the previous week that I use as a template when creating each week’s entry.

      Thanks for the catch. I’ll add in the benefits for this week soon as I get a sec.

      Thanks again,

      — Tom

  2. Carmichael says:

    I really don’t get the obsession with the four conferences. If it were like 40+ teams like from awhile go that’s one thing, but with 30 or 28 teams like in this scenario two conferences with two or three divisions each are fine.

  3. Pingback: » NHL Realignment Project – Week 43 Tom Fulery – The Home Of The NHL Realignment Project

  4. Jason M. says:

    The NHL should keep its two confrences and 6 divisions and not have what they were trying to create earlier in the season. Teams do not need to be contracted or added to the league. 30 teams is plenty enough. If a team needs to move out of a certain city because of poor attendance or not making good money, then have the league do what is needed.

    The only thing that needs to be tweaked a bit are the teams in the 6 divisions. There should be a rule made that teams a division can be no more than one hour ahead or behind each other. Right now we see it being an issue with Dallas, (2 hours ahead of it’s other divisional opponents), and Minnesota, (2 hours ahead of divisional opponent Vancouver). This is how 1 of 2 ways I’ve come up with how the divisions should look like.

    Western Conference
    Pacfic Division
    Anaheim Ducks (PST)
    Los Angeles Kings (PST)
    Phoenix Coyotes/Seattle (PST)
    San Jose Sharks (PST)
    Vancouver Canucks (PST)

    Praire Division (formally Northwest Division)
    Calgary Flames (MST)
    Colorado Avalanche (MST)
    Edmonton Oilers (MST)
    Minnesota Wild (CST)
    Winnipeg Jets (CST)

    Central Division
    Dallas Stars (CST)
    Detroit Red Wings (EST)
    Chicago Blackhawks (CST)
    Nashville Predators (CST)
    St. Louis Blues (CST)

    Eastern Conference (Note: All teams would be in Eastern Time Zone EST)
    Northeast Division
    Boston Bruins
    Buffalo Sabres
    Montreal Canadiens
    Ottawa Senators
    Toronto Maple Leafs

    Atlantic Division
    New Jersey Devils
    New York Islanders
    New York Rangers
    Philadelphia Flyers
    Pittsburgh Penguins

    Southeast Division
    Carolina Hurricanes
    Columbus Blue Jackets
    Florida Panthers
    Tampa Bay Lightning
    Washington Capitals

    As you can see in this first possibility, I have all the teams in each division either in the same time zone or no more than 1 hour apart from each other. Also, as you see, I have the Coyotes team staying in Glendale AZ, or moving to Seattle, WA. In any case, the team can stay in the Pacific Division. The biggest changes would be to move Vancouver to the Pacific Division to replace Dallas who would go to the Central Division and replace Columbus who would move to Southeast Division to replace Winnipeg who would skip over to the Praire Division (formally Northwest Division) and replace Vancouver. The reason why I believe the Northwest name should be changed is that 4 teams except for Colorado would be in the Praires. As for Detroit or Columbus switching over to the Eastern Conference, Columbus should go first. Columbus is that much more east than Detroit and therefore, it is a no brainer. To make things fairer for Detroit, when it comes to the playoffs, if Detroit plays a Pacific or a Praire (Northwest) team, the series should have a 3-3-1 format. This format makes it easier for travel and a players biological clock. Also, instead of divisional teams playing against each other 6 times a season, have them play only four times a season and two times a season against their conference rivals. By doing this, you can have more teams playing the other conference teams, which fans want.

    My 2nd idea on how the division should look like coming shortly.

    • tom says:

      Hey, Jason.

      I tend to agree that the 30 team NHL is good for now, but my Spider-sense is tingling with this: Gary Bettman and the league are using the Phoenix situation to tease and entice potential cities into committing to NHL arenas. Quebec basically already has and Seattle is pretty close. Gary then will work out a deal to keep the Coyotes in Arizona and then the cities will have only one option to get in the league… expansion. I’m almost certain that unless the fit hits the shan, the league’s top priorities are 1) avoid the egg-on-face scenario of a second team relocating in a year and 2) collect those huge expansion fees that the league absolutely loves. I think Gary showed his hand when he proposed a setup that made more sense for 32 teams than 30.

      So while a 30-team NHL is gonna be the way of the world for the next 1-3 years, I don’t think we’re gonna avoid the growth. We can’t expect the league to relocate three or more teams to wanting cities because of the business/PR realities of looking like you’re struggling if you do so. Toss in the big money for expansion and it’s hard to deny. Expansion or some mix of relocation and expansion is probably more likely. A great deflecting argument for critics of the NHL would be, “No moving a team out of XXXXX doesn’t mean the league is troubled… how can you say than went we just added two expansion teams? That relocation was just an isolated incident.”

      Anyways, back to your alignment scenario. I absolutely love the sticking’ to the time-zones rule you use. I’ve tried my best to use it frequently in my scenarios (except some of the farcical ones).

      Not sure if the league would drop a deuce on Mike Ilitch like that, though. He’s powerful enough to create some waves there… but on the other hand, keeping a second Original Six team in the West with Chicago is a powerful “keep it somewhat balanced” argument too. I don’t think the 3-3-1 format is necessary to appease them should they stay in the West. Probably a better regular season scheduling system with far-western road trips being lumped together more would be more helpful for the players and for Mr. Ilitch’s wallet.

      Thanks for participating. Always great to hear the reader’s ideas!


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