NHL Realignment Project – Week 47

NHL Realignment Project - Week 47

La Key en Rose

Hello again, everyone. After a verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry long hiatus, I’m back with another reshaping of the NHL.

First, all apologies for going dark for so many months. Business is picking up over in the real world, so unlike the NHL and the PA, I’m working a lot these days. Another reason I’ve placed my attention elsewhere is the fact that Mrs. Fulery and I are expecting our first child soon and that really takes over your life… so far in a very good way.

Besides, not much has happened in hockey since I went away anyways, right? :P

This week we look at a scenario that involves two cities losing their teams (one unlikely and the other definitely possible) to two cities that are in the Pacific Northwest. Both have arenas that can hold hockey (one well (The Rose Garden) and one not well at all (Key Arena)). While we’re much more likely to see teams in Quebec City or Markham before Portland, this would be a fun scenario for this WHL-centric part of the world.

 

The Map

NHL Realignment Map - Week 47

NHL Realignment Map – Week 47

The Breakdown:

This week’s re-imagined league brings back one of my favorite breakdowns — two conferences, each made up of five divisions of three teams.

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Northwest Division
Portland Coyotes
Seattle Metros
Vancouver Canucks
Southwest Division
Anaheim Ducks
Los Angeles Kings
San Jose Sharks
Mountain Division
Calgary Flames
Colorado Avalanche
Edmonton Oilers
Lakes Division
Chicago Blackhawks
Minnesota Wild
Winnipeg Jets
Central Division
Dallas Stars
Nashville Predators
St. Louis Blues
EASTERN CONFERENCE
Niagra Division
Buffalo Sabres
Detroit Red Wings
Toronto Maple Leafs
Liberty Division
Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh Penguins
Washington Capitals
Southeast Division
Carolina Hurricanes
Florida Panthers
Tampa Bay Lightning
Northeast Division
Boston Bruins
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Empire Division
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers

 

Gained teams:

Seattle, Portland

 

Lost teams:

Phoenix, Columbus

 

The Benefits:

• Focus — With more divisions, the main focus of an NHL team’s season is to win its division to guarantee it’s spot in the playoffs. Beat the other two teams in your division and your in. If you don’t, you still have three wildcard slots to shoot for, so its not an “all or nothing” situation, but its a lot closer… and hopefully more exciting.

• Rivalries — As an addendum to the last point, the other two teams in your division will become such hated rivals, that all games against them will be insanely great. Even when you team is in a bit of a slight swoon, you still have something to play for… just beat the two main rivals a lot and a playoff chance is a good bet.

• Travel — With Detroit now in the Eastern Conference, and Dallas and Winnipeg playing in divisions that actually make sense for their geographic locations, travel will be the last thing teams can complain about… not that that will stop ‘em.

Scheduling:

Each team plays:

– against its two division-mates four times at home and four times on the road each:
 8 games x 2 teams = 16 games

– against the teams in the other divisions within the conference once at home and once on the road:
2 games x 12 teams = 24 games

– an additional home-and-home series agains the teams of two of the divisions within the conference (flips to the the other two divisions within conference each year):
2 games x 6 teams = 12 games

- against its fifteen non-conference opponents once at home and once on the road:
2 games x 15 teams = 30 games
16 + 24 + 12 + 30 = 82 game season

Playoffs:

• Top team from each division qualifies (Seeded 1-5 based on overall record)

• Three best records amongst non-division winners qualify as wildcards (Seeded 6-8 based on overall record).

• Pairings/home-ice reset to match seedings after each round

• All best-of-seven series (I don’t want sixteenwins.com to have to change their name)

Acknowledgements:

Again, I can’t imagine Portland would skip ahead of some of the other oft-mentioned cities for NHL franchises (Quebec City and Markham particularly), but it would create such an amazing crucible of hate in the Portland-Seattle-Vancouver corridor, I wouldn’t argue against it. If the NHL expands to 32 teams in the future (most think that is the ultimate goal) it would be great if the Pacific Northwest was a part of it… and it would be a far less-risky enterprise than Gary’s 90s push for sunbelt hockey.

As always, thanks for reading, and don’t forget to use the sharing buttons to spread the word and wish me luck on my impending fatherhood in February.

 

—Tom

7 Responses to NHL Realignment Project – Week 47

  1. david says:

    Glad you are back! Also Congrats on your coming child. First just a correction your western conference has the same division 3 times and the actual central division is unlisted.

    The pacific NW needs more hockey. Its like an untapped goldmine…

    • tom says:

      Hey, David. Thanks for the catch. I think I fixed the division listings.

      I totally agree that the Pacific NW is one of those hotbeds for our cool sport. If there is movement (PHX) and expansion in the NHL’s near future… I really hope at the very least, we use the opportunity to get Seattle into the mix. Time will tell.

      And thanks for the congrats on our little girl. We’re as excited as can be…. and a little freaked out. :)

      —TF

  2. Tom says:

    Congrats on the imminent mini-you. One other thing though, you have the Jets listed twice, looks like you just forgot the Sens in the Northeast

    • tom says:

      D’oh! I’m really rusty, and my QA was not up to snuff on this week’s entry. Thankfully readers like you comment or email me and let me know. The Sens are in now. Thanks for the eagle eye!

  3. AgentJ says:

    What is that funky blue and orange logo next to the New York Rangers? :)

  4. AgentJ says:

    Since we are looking at a two team expansion (if the rumors are to be believed) would it be prudent to focus on 32 team scenarios?

    West

    Northwest:
    Calgary
    Edmonton
    Vancouver
    Seattle

    Southwest:
    Los Angeles
    Phoenix
    San Jose
    San Diego

    Central:
    Dallas
    Denver
    Houston
    Salt Lake

    Midwest:
    Chicago
    Detroit
    Minneapolis
    Winnipeg

    East:

    Southeast:
    Atlanta
    Miami
    Tampa
    Washington

    Mideast:
    Brooklyn
    Philadelphia
    Pittsburgh
    St. Louis

    Northeast:
    Boston
    Buffalo
    Hartford
    New York

    Canadian East:
    Montreal
    Ottawa
    Quebec City
    Toronto

    Lost:
    Anaheim
    Carolina
    Columbus
    New Jersey
    Nashville

    Gained:
    Atlanta
    Hartford
    Houston
    Quebec City
    Salt Lake
    San Diego
    Seattle

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