NHL Realignment Project – Week 45

NHL Realignment Project - Week 45


Red Hot & Blue

This is probably going to be the shortest write up of all time, because I’d written the longest write up of all time, then thanks to my Magic Mouse and OS X Lion on my Mac, an accidental and tiny single finger swipe acts as a “back button” and I lost it all. Good times. Anyhoo… this is only 8 days later than it was scheduled to be released, but here we go (additional excuse is the badass History of the NHL infographic i posted today).

This week, the King of North America makes folks in Carolina red with rage and people in Columbus ever so blue. But to compensate, the residents of Seattle and Quebec City are now very loyal and happy subjects.


The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 45

NHL Realignment Map - Week 45


The Breakdown:

Seems like more fans prefer the 2 Conference alignment, than the 4 Conference one, so I’ll go with majority opinion this week. But, since I now follow Gary Bettman on Twitter (he has THREE tweets!), let’s make him happy too and keep the conference names geographic.

The Pacific is now called the Southwest Division since Colorado and Phoenix are not even in the same time zone as the Pacific Coast. I couldn’t come up with a name to replace “Atlantic” but I’m sure that Detroit fans will be so overjoyed to be out of the Western Conferene, that they won’t mind. If any of you have a name that makes more sense for an eastern division that strays pretty far away from the coast, I’m all ears (aka put it in the comments).


Gained teams:

Quebec City, Seattle


Lost teams:

Columbus and Carolina (hey, Phoenix won their division, we’ve got to throw them a bone this week, right?)


The Benefits:

• Travel — Only team with any legitimate beef is Winnipeg. But the folks in Manitoba will be more than thrilled to trade some late starts out West for much more meaningful rivals from Alberta and BC. Other than the Jets no team has to travel more than one time zone over for in-division games. Commence rejoicing, people of Dallas and the Twin Cities!

• The East gets its Wings — Commence rejoicing, people of Detroit!

• Fairness — Divisions are made up of exactly the same number of teams. Everyone has the exact same chance to make the playoffs as everyone else… math says so! (Math doesn’t care that one five team division might have 4 amazing teams while another division might only have 2). Happy now, NHLPA?

• Rivalries —  While I admit that some traditional rivalries are lost (PHI/NYR, DET/CHI), the vast majority of the big rivalries remain intact (TOR/MTL, TOR/OTT, NYR/NJD, NYR/NYI, PIT/PHI, EDM/CGY to name a few). Besides my scheduling (see below) demands that every team plays every team both home and away at least once each… even the Wings and Hawks will still have a couple of tilts (not to mention what an amazing Stanley Cup finals that would be). Watch for great new rivalries in SEA/VAN, MTL/QBC and even DAL/NSH (trust me on this one).



Each team plays all it’s non-conference opponents once at home and once on the road: 2 games x 15 teams = 30 games

Each team plays its in-division opponents three times at home and three times on the road: 6 games x 4 teams = 24 games

Each team plays its in-conference (non-divisional) opponents once at home and once on the road: 2 games x 10 teams = 20 games

And finally, each team plays an additional home-and-home series against two teams from each of the in-conference divisions not its own. This will cycle through all 10 such opponents in less than 3 seasons: 2 games x 4 teams = 8 games

30 games + 24 games + 20 games + 8 games = 82 games



Just ‘cuz, I’m making playoff qualification be mostly about divisional positioning, but with more conference “escape hatches” than Gary’s rejected “top four are in” plan.

• Top two teams in each division qualify automatically (Division Champ and Runner Up)

• Two best records in the conference outside of the divisional “top-two” also qualify.

• Divisional positioning only guarantees a spot in the tournament, not seeding. The eight teams that qualify are seeded 1-8 based on record.

• Round One: Conference Quarterfinals — #1 vs #8, #2 vs #7, #3 vs #6, #4 vs #5

• Round Two: Conference Semifinals — Round One survivors are reseeded. Highest seed vs lowest seed, 2nd highest vs 2nd lowest

• Round Three: Conference Finals

• Round Four: Stanley Cup Finals

• All series best-of-seven (2-2-1-1-1 format. Best record earns home-ice advantage)



The next NHLRP installment (or maybe the one after that) will finally touch on something for you football (round ball, actual foot use) fans. Two words for you… AHL & Relegation! ***DROPS MIC—WALKS OUT DOOR***


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 45

  1. Dave says:

    I don’t like the schedule breakdown. Focus it on divisional rivalries and keep it simple.
    32 divisional games and a home-and-home against everyone else.

    • tom says:

      This is the best argument for less divisions with more teams. I think in a six division NHL, you miss out on way too many big rivalry games… best example in this alignment scenario would be the Flyers & Rangers.

      Whether it be a 32-team NHL or a 28-team NHL with four balanced divisions… or a 30-team NHL with unbalanced divisions, having bigger divisions better allows the league to align more rivals and then you can more easily convince teams and fans that the non-divisional games can be limited to a single home-and-home.

      But compared to the current scheduling the league uses… I’ll take yours 100 times out of a 100. Not having every team play in every building each year is a travesty.

      — TF

  2. Ryan says:

    Just so I understand, the CBJ, who just signed a 30 year deal to keep them in Nationwide Arena, who have ownership partners with no interest in selling the team, who have a remarkably strong fan base in the face of their on ice performance,and oh yeah, are hosting the All Star game next season, are just going to decide out of the blue to relocate to BFE Canada.

    Nice fantasy game you are playing. Hope you’re having a good time.

  3. Nate says:

    Yeah, Columbus never should’ve have gotten an NHL franchise. Not a big league town. 27th in the league in attendance, 25th in revenue, one playoff appearance in 11 seasons and no playoff victories. Sorry, but Columbus should be moved or contracted out of the league with Tampa Bay, Phoenix and Nashville.

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