Oh, You Want a RADICAL Realignment?

You all knew I wouldn’t be able to stop.

Here is the most radical, yet positively doable re-imagining of the NHL yet. It’s a crazy hybridization of the plans being tossed around lately, plus relocation and expansion. It addresses the biggest gripe of the latest realignment—Chicago losing Detroit as a more-than-two-games-per-season opponent. It does however keep the other gripe that half(ish) fans have, the “final four” playoff style. Also, since we’ve upped to 32 teams, there shall be no whining about uneven/unfair playoff chances.

The key to it all is this: In addition to Conference opponents, each team gets two non-confence rivals which whom they have an additional home-and-home series. I picked the pairings based on previous rivalry history (i.e. Chicago/Detroit), relocation history (i.e. Quebec City/Colorado), Stanley Cup finals history (i.e. LA/Montreal). These pairings can obviously be tweaked, but the idea is there, and dare I say, really interesting to me.

I’ll stop talking now… other than to apologize to the fans in Miami and Phoenix.

Additional Note: Florida to Houston could just as easily be to Kansas City or Milwaukee or some other Central Time Zone city.

Click the image to enlarge and read the details:

Radical NHL Realignment — Crazy can sometimes work.

Radical NHL Realignment — Crazy can sometimes work.

18 Responses to Oh, You Want a RADICAL Realignment?

  1. Michel says:

    If you are going to do an article on realignment you can at least get the realignment correct.

    • Gary says:

      you’re new here, eh Michel?

      Tom, might be your best work yet! (and I’ve been big fan of the “radical” ideas)
      Somewhat conventional with Markham and QBC — when league seems to be setting up SEA/Port and another “Midwest” Division expansion — but these are where the teams need to go, frankly.

      Brilliant idea with “Rivalry Pairs.” From looks of latest proposal, especially the Divisional “cross-over” playoff 4 seed, league seems to be going backwards / dumb with each new idea.
      Someone there needs to see this site!

    • tom says:

      This isn’t the NHL’s realignment as proposed lately. This is a totally different take on it. There is no “correct” realignment yet anyways (other than the awful current system we have). Nothing is set, nothing approved.

    • Jeff says:

      Great job reading before typing. Bravo.

  2. Shawn Jones says:

    You sir are a genius

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  4. Josh says:

    What about seeding pairs instead of rivalry pairs? In the NFL, each team always plays the other teams in its conference that finished with the same divisional positioning the previous year. If we use that method for this proposed NHL realignment, you’d have 3 “rivalry” pairs. For example, the teams that finish 1st in their conferences play an extra home-and-home amongst each other the following season, the teams that finish 2nd likewise, etc.

    Such a flexible re-adjustment mechanism for the rivalry pairings would:
    -Maintain an 82-game season.
    -Encourage rivalries to naturally develop among teams competing at the same level over a few years.
    -Reward quality play with quality match-ups. Top teams will often meet in the final four and it would be awesome to see extra revenge match-ups the following year. This would be better for fans for obvious reasons, and better for owners because they’d be rewarded for icing a quality team with more headline opponents and better-quality entertainment in their building!
    -Balance out the league a bit so you don’t always have a strong team beating up on a weak rival. Teams will probably complain about the system being unfair or biased if they are guaranteed extra games against a much stronger/weaker opponent.
    -Provide an objective standard for changing match-ups, so you don’t have to make arbitrary changes if teams relocate or if Detroit makes a fuss about being a model franchise that continually gets shafted.

    Most of your (awesome) realignment proposals have emphasized historical or regional (pods upon pods) rivalries to sort out scheduling challenges, and while those have merit I don’t recall you ever considering a system like this one that would dynamically encourage rivalries based on quality of play. Thoughts?

  5. Sam says:

    It’s amazing to me that you put a team in Houston before you put one in Hartford… yes the city itself would be the smallest in the NHL but it has a bigger Metro area than Quebec City but the city got robbed of the Whalers because of the NHLs assinine plan to put teams In non Hockey Markets so before Houston gets a team Hartford Should… it’s an hour away from NY and Boston… Hartford has been clamoring for an NHL team to come to Hartford and the city has been trying to fund a new arena for not just an NHL team but N NBA team as well I agree that Seattle deserves a Team that won’t make Vancouver isolated but I believe that Quebec and Hartford should have first dibs on getting a team… the Whalers Brand is still very popular and the Hartford/Springfield Metro is one of the fastest growing due to its ample jobs so we can see the city of Hartford Support a NHL Team. #BringBackTheWhalers

  6. Stef says:

    It’s not radical enough. Forget the East/West dividing line, and draw me up an alignment featuring five six-team divisions. Go!
    (I love your site, btw. I hate the current realignment.)

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