52-Week NHL Realignment Project

NHL Realignment - Just the Maps

NHL Realignment Maps

As a companion to my NHL Realignment Project, this page will act as a compendium of the maps. For those of you who don’t want to wade through my rambling rationales for each realignment, this is the place for you. Just the maps. Click each map to see it larger.

If however you do want to view all the full blog entries in one place… click here to see the entire NHL Realignment Project.

Special thanks to OilersNation.com for the original map used in the first 40ish weeks.

And now for the maps:

Week One: Moving and Shaking (and Expanding) — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map — Week 1 (Map A)

NHL Realignment Project — Week 1 (Map A)

NHL Realignment Map - Week 1 (Map B)

NHL Realignment Map – Week 1 (Map B)

 

Week Two: Phoenix to Seattle — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 2

NHL Realignment Map – Week 2

 

Week Three: Damn, that’s Cold — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 3

NHL Realignment Map – Week 3

 

Week Four: The Devil You Say! — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 4

NHL Realignment Map – Week 4

 

Week Five: Get Real! — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 5

NHL Realignment Map – Week 5

 

Week Six: Get Real, Take Two! — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 6

NHL Realignment Map – Week 6

 

Week Seven: Bigger is Better — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 7

NHL Realignment Map – Week 7

 

Week Eight: Canadian Madness — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 8

NHL Realignment Map – Week 8

 

Week Nine: Barbecue and Desert — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 9

NHL Realignment Map – Week 9

 

Week Ten: A Long Trip Leads to Rivalry Overdose — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 10

NHL Realignment Map – Week 10

 

Week Eleven: The MLB Map — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 11

NHL Realignment Map – Week 11

 

Week Twelve: The NFL Map — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 12

NHL Realignment Map – Week 12

 

Week Thirteen: There and Back Again — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 13

NHL Realignment Map – Week 13

 

Week Fourteen: The Mother Lode! — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 14

NHL Realignment Map – Week 14

 

Week Fifteen: Triple Threat — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 15

NHL Realignment Map – Week 15

 

Week Sixteen: Champions League (Version 1) — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 16

NHL Realignment Map – Week 16

 

Week Seventeen: Champions League (Version 2) — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 17

NHL Realignment Map – Week 17

 

Week Eighteen: Champions League Plus — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 18

NHL Realignment Map – Week 18

 

Week Nineteen: Champions League (Semi) Final — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 19

NHL Realignment Map – Week 19

 

Week Twenty: Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 20

NHL Realignment Map – Week 20

 

Week Twenty-One: Pod Casting — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 21

NHL Realignment Map – Week 21

 

Week Twenty-Two: Nationalism — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 22

NHL Realignment Map – Week 21

 

Week Twenty-Three: Nationalism, Expanded — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 23

NHL Realignment Map – Week 23

 

Week Twenty-Four: Oh Six! — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 24

NHL Realignment Map – Week 24

 

Week Twenty-Five: Oh Six (Times Six)! — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 25

NHL Realignment Map – Week 25

 

Week Twenty-Six: Oh Six (One Last Time) — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 26

NHL Realignment Map – Week 26

 

Week Twenty-Seven: Dear, Gary — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 27

The Realigned NHL 2012-2013

NHL Realignment Map - Week 27 (PHX-to-KC)

The NHL Realigned – Possible Near Future (PHX-to-KC)

NHL Realignment Map - Week 27 (PHX-to-QBC)

The NHL Realigned – Possible Near Future (PHX-to-QBC)

 

  Week Twenty-Eight: Gary Christmas! — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 28

Gary Bettman’s NHL Realignment Map

 

Week Twenty-Nine: Where do we go from here? — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 29

NHL Realignment Map – Week 29

 

Week Thirty: Seeking 32 (KC, QBC, Hamilton, Portland) — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 30

NHL Realignment Map – Week 30

 

Week Thirty-One: Seeking 32 (Quebec City, Seattle, Houston) — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 31

NHL Realignment Map – Week 31

 

Week Thirty-Two: Seeking 32 (Quebec City, Portland, Kansas City, Houston) — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 32

NHL Realignment Map – Week 32

 

Week Thirty-Three: All the People, All the Time — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 33

NHL Realignment Map – Week 33

 

Week Thirty-Four: So Long, Sunshine and Buckeye States — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 34

NHL Realignment Map – Week 34

 

Week Thirty-Five: Merge and Move — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 35

NHL Realignment Map – Week 35

 

Week Thirty-Six: Getting Vertical, Eh! — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 36

NHL Realignment Map – Week 36

 

Week Thirty-Seven: West, West, West, West, East — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 37

NHL Realignment Map – Week 37

 

Week Thirty-Eight: Something Old, Something New(s) — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 38

NHL Realignment Map – Week 38

 

Week Thirty-Nine: Simply Seattle — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 39

NHL Realignment Map – Week 39

 

Week Forty: Arena Talk — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 40

NHL Realignment Map – Week 40

 

Week Forty-One: Whale of a Tweak — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 41

NHL Realignment Map – Week 41

 

 

Week Forty-Two: I’m Having Contractions — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 42

NHL Realignment Map – Week 42

 

 

Week Forty-Three: Five Alive — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 43

NHL Realignment Map – Week 43

 

 

Week Forty-Four: There Is No Spoon — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Matrix

NHL Realignment Map – Matrix

 

 

Week Forty-Five: Red Hot & Blue — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 45

NHL Realignment Map – Week 45

 

 

Week Forty-Six: Olé… Olé, Olé, Olé! — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 46

NHL Realignment Map – Week 46

 

 

Week Forty-Seven: La Key en Rose — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 47

NHL Realignment Map – Week 47

 

Week Forty-Eight: Gary’s Dream — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 48

NHL Realignment Map – Week 48

 

Week Forty-Nine: Gary’s Dream – With a Little Barbecue Sauce — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 49

NHL Realignment Map – Week 49

 

Week Fifty: Bulldogs and Metropolitans — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 50

NHL Realignment Map – Week 50

 

Week Fifty-One: A More Balanced East — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Project - Week 51

NHL Realignment Project – Week 51

 

Week Fifty-Two: Rivalry Pods — Read Post »

NHL Realignment Map - Week 52

NHL Realignment Map – Week 52

31 Responses to 52-Week NHL Realignment Project

  1. Ken Carnes says:

    Expansion? With what talent?

    • tom says:

      Every expansion has generated that same response. I think so long as the league capped any expansion to two more teams… we’d be okay. I personally would rather see the league go to 28 teams, but that’s just me.

      • M M says:

        Contraction is ridiculous and just won’t happen. Imagine that you are the guy who owns a franchise worth $250M. Are you suddenly going to say – okay, hockey needs me to close my business for the betterment of the game. Absurd. Contraction is usually raised by Original Six elitists that think the only hockey that is played is from the old school teams. They also think that newer teams or those with more Ls than Ws need contracted. If you look at how long it took many of these teams to become competitive, let alone win a cup you would realize that franchise development takes time. Building a fan base and being successful is more than just Ws and Ls.

  2. Alex says:

    i really like that pod idea its the best idea in hockey since the goalie mask

    • tom says:

      Thanks. I rather enjoy the pods myself. When the NHL expands someday, that’d be the way I’d go.

  3. Pingback: NHL’s Conference Realignment…In 10 Words « In 10 Words

  4. Pingback: Put Up Your Dukes: Union and League Spar Over Re-Alignment

  5. tuning blog says:

    Its such as you read my thoughts! You seem to understand so much approximately this, such as you wrote the e-book in it or something. I believe that you simply can do with a few p.c. to power the message house a bit, however instead of that, that is fantastic blog. An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

    • tom says:

      Please for to expressing my thank yous! I are thinked of soon to write eebook on subject! I will are continue to been greatfull with continued readings by yourselfing.
      —TF

  6. James says:

    Its just me but id like it for NY islanders to stay on LI but my idea of what to do 32 teams is:
    Smythe Norris Adams Patrick
    EDM CHI BUF PHI
    CAL DET BOS PIT
    LA COLUM OTT WAS
    SJ MIN TOR NYR
    ANA WINN MTL NJ
    COL DAL QBC (phoenix move) NYI
    SEATTLE (EXPANSION) NSH FLA CAR
    VAN STL TB HARTFORD (EXPANSION)

    pretty simple and adds some great rivalries with QBC/MTL, HART/CAR…VAN/SEA

    give me some feedback and your thoughts because i love your realignment plans and maps. Awesome stuff

    • tom says:

      Hey, James. Thanks for reading and for the compliments. Always nice to hear that my work isn’t all for naught.

      Agreed, that the new rivalries would be sweet. I hadn’t really thought of the HRT/CAR rivalry… it really would be great. And the Hurricanes are in desperate need of a rival to add to relevance these days. Nice work.

      I really don’t have any bones to pick with your alignment. It keeps major rivals together. It keeps time-zone travel to a minimum in-division. It gets the cool old division names back too. Excellently done, sir.

      Cheers and keep reading!

      —TF

      • M M says:

        Thanks for the great website. Is one of these models the straight GEO model. Group teams which are geographically closet as the crow flies?

        Clearly teams in the east have an advantage relative to travel time and travel costs. If you send the TOR, MTL, BOS, PIT and NYx of the world out west for a couple of trips they would be pxxxxing and moaning pretty quickly about travel costs and fatigue from travelling three time zones multiples times a season. Think about it. Teams like CBUS and DET are at huge disadvantages since they are on the eastern side of the Western Conference and are in the Eastern time zone.

  7. bbdonohue says:

    realignment seems less messy with one FINAL, two-team expansion. i clearly am not aware of all that goes into expansions nor the length of time required to create one, but two canadian expansions [quebec city (QBC) and hamilton (HAM)] would be sound decisions. so w/ 32 teams, you could have 4, 8-team divisions or 8, 4-team divisions.

    1E QBC/MTL/OTT/BOS
    2E BUF/PIT/HAM/TOR
    3E NYR/NYI/NJD/PHI
    4E WSH/CAR/TBL/FLA

    1W NSH/CBJ/CHI/DET
    2W COL/MIN/STL/DAL
    3W VAN/CGY/EDM/WPG
    4W PHX/ANA/LAK/SJS

    1E QBC/MTL/OTT/BOS/BUF/PIT/HAM/TOR
    2E NYR/NYI/NJD/PHI/WSH/CAR/TBL/FLA

    1W NSH/CBJ/CHI/DET/COL/MIN/STL/DAL
    2W VAN/CGY/EDM/WPG/PHX/ANA/LAK/SJS

    if PHX folds, they should be relocated to seattle (SEA) or saskatoon (SKN)

    3W SKN/CGY/EDM/WPG
    4W VAN/ANA/LAK/SJS

    3W VAN/CGY/EDM/WPG
    4W SEA/ANA/LAK/SJS

    2W SKN/VAN/CGY/EDM/WPG/ANA/LAK/SJS

    2W SEA/VAN/CGY/EDM/WPG/ANA/LAK/SJS

    i acknowledge that CAN/US customs would impact some of these divisions

    • tom says:

      Very thorough, my friend. Funny that lately, I’ve been leaning towards more divisions with less teams. It would be very interesting to have a playoffs that were made up of four champions and four “wildcards” in each conference. It certainly would make divisional rivalries way more intense.

      As much as I love the idea of Saskatoon getting a team, I don’t think the NHL would go for it since Corporate support in the market is comparatively lean when compared to Seattle, say. The population base is really small too especially when compared to Seattle as well. The positive would be a nice rivalry triumvirate with Minnesota and Winnipeg. Would be sweet.

      Thanks for you comments!

      — TeeEff

    • Caden says:

      Cool! That’s a clever way of lonkoig at it!

  8. RJ Lee says:

    Let me run this one by you.
    Canadian Conference
    East- Mtl,Ott,Que(expansion),Tor(leafs)
    West- Cgy,Edm,Van,Wpg

    Atlantic Conference
    North- NJ,NYR,Phi,Pit
    South- Car,Fla,TB,Wsh

    Northern Conference
    Northeast – Bos,Buf,Clb,Markham(or whatever,expansion)
    Central- Chi,Det,Min,StL

    Western Conference
    Midwest- Col,Dal,Nsh,Phx(Yotes stay)
    Pacific – Ana,LA,SJ,Sea(Islanders,name works there)

    4 teams make playoffs in each conference, at least one in each division.
    Guarantees a Canadian team in final 4. Makes TSN and CBC happy.
    Odds of 2 Canadian teams making final is virtually nil. Take a breath,Gary.
    Division teams play 6 against each other. 4 against teams in opposing divsion within conference.
    Home and home against rest of league. Deal with it Lou.

  9. Rob says:

    Have weeks 47 to 52 been posted?

  10. Derek says:

    I love the week 32 expansion with the Houston Aeros (my home town team). I think that would work especially with the rivalry between Houston and Dallas, I could see that bringing in tons of money for both teams. It would be even cooler if San Antonio had a team too like in the 44 team expansion, that would create an even bigger Texas Triangle Rivalry (although thats a long shot).

    • tom says:

      Thanks, Derek. As a Dallas Stars fan, nothing would make me happier (other than getting out of the Pacific Division) than seeing them get a great, in-state rivalry going. It would be so intense.

      —TF

  11. Ian McClennan says:

    What about (essentially) the same map as week #15 but without contraction. Then put the four top teams in each of the divisions into playoff brackets, plus a wildcard bracket of the next best four teams in the league. The four winners meet in the Stanley Cup semis.

    Pros: Travel; any two teams can meet for the cup (Toronto v Montreal anyone?)

  12. Ryan Crawford says:

    I thought that Nashville should relocate to the Eastern Conference`s Southeast Division, than relocate Winnipeg to the Western Conference`s Central Division.

    The move would have made more sense geographicallhy. However, it`s too late now…

  13. Kaseynhl says:

    if you can’t skate outside at LEAST once a year there should be no hockey team.

  14. Arch Leester says:

    This is close to week 21’s format.
    Orr Conference-east-BOS,FLA,MTL,QUE – west- BUF,OTT,TB,TOR
    Lemieux Conference-east-CAR,NJ,NYI,NYR-west-CLB,PHI,PIT,WSH
    Howe Conference-north-CHI,DET,MIN,WPG-south-COL,DAL,NSH,STL
    Gretzky Conference-north-CGY,EDM,SEA,VAN-south-ANA,LA,PHX,SJ
    4 teams make playoffs in each conference. Conf. champs go to final 4.
    Division rivals play 6 times against one another. Conf. rivals play 4 times and twice against everyone else.
    Howe was better than Hull. DET belongs in that conf. Old SE division destroyed. CAR to play with NY area teams, but stays in same conference with WSH along with old atlantic division teams. Florida teams placed up north in Orr conf.

  15. Kruxx says:

    Orr Conference-east-BOS,FLA,MTL,QUE – west- BUF,OTT,TB,TOR
    Lemieux Conference-east-CAR,NJ,NYI,NYR-west-CLB,PHI,PIT,WSH
    Howe Conference-north-CHI,DET,NSH,STL-south-COL,DAL,MIN,WPG
    Gretzky Conference-north-CGY,EDM,SEA,VAN-south-ANA,LA,PHX,SJ
    4 teams make playoffs in each conference. Conf. champs go to final 4. No set east/west conference finals.
    Division rivals play 6 times against one another. Conf. rivals play 4 times and twice against everyone else.
    Howe was better than Hull. DET belongs in that conf. Old SE division destroyed. CAR to play with NY area teams, but stays in same conference with WSH along with old atlantic division teams. Florida teams placed up north in Orr conf.

  16. Maurine says:

    I see you share interesting content here, you can earn some
    extra cash, your blog has huge potential, for the monetizing method,
    just type in google – K2 advices how to monetize a website

  17. You can burn the grass with spray, other substances such as
    inhalants saliva divinorum and evaporator. ” Those who are sensitive to grasses and ragweed will want to maintain their medication through to the first frost. ‘ Bolster your immune system during cold and flu season with vitamins, herbs and good nutrition.

  18. weight loss says:

    Great info you post here, i have shared this article on my facebook

  19. Shirley says:

    Yesterday i spent 300 $ for platinium roulette system , i hope that i will earn my first money online

  20. Align1 says:

    NHL Realignment w/ 32 Teams – a New & Better Way

    I came up with and tested a new improved NHL realignment that is fair and balanced and keeps East/West playoff brackets. It works by including the 2 expansion teams (Las Vegas & Quebec) using 8 divisions, a 3-team FLEX concept, and select Rivalry games, with excellent team placement throughout:

    WESTERN CONFERENCE: (14 West teams (W) & 2 Flex teams (FLEX))
    Canada West Division:
    Winnipeg (W), Edmonton (W), Calgary (W), Vancouver (W)

    Pacific Division:
    San Jose (W), Los Angeles (W), Anaheim (W), Las Vegas (W)

    Big West Division:
    Arizona (W), Colorado (W), Dallas (W), St. Louis (W)

    Midwest Division:
    Minnesota (W), Chicago (W), Detroit (FLEX), Columbus (FLEX)

    EASTERN CONFERENCE: (15 East teams (E) & 1 Flex team (FLEX))
    Canada East Division:
    Toronto (E), Ottawa (E), Montreal (E), Quebec (E)

    Northeast Division:
    Boston (E), Buffalo (E), N.Y. Rangers (E), N.Y. Islanders (E)

    Atlantic Division:
    New Jersey (E), Philadelphia (E), Pittsburgh (E), Washington (E)

    Southeast Division:
    Carolina (E), Nashville (FLEX), Tampa Bay (E), Florida (E)

    West (W) teams play more West teams (W), East teams (E) play more East teams (E), and 3 Flex teams (FLEX) play a balanced schedule of West, East, & FLEX teams. The key to make things work fair and balanced is to use the playoff-qualifying FLEX teams by moving them to the weaker West or East playoff bracket as needed. In this way, the weaker bracket will have fewer teams qualifying with weak records, and at the same time the stronger bracket will have fewer teams having strong records missing the playoffs. The 3 Flex teams (FLEX) are all centrally located and will play a balanced schedule to legitimize their placement into either the West or East playoff brackets as needed. It really works well!

    For 12 West teams (W) in Canada West, Pacific, & Big West divs: 2 of 4 teams in each div play 15 games own div (5 games each), 2 of 4 teams in each div play 14 games own div (4.67 games each), 2 of 4 teams in each div play 7 games w/ all 3 Flex teams (FLEX) (2.33 games each), 2 of 4 teams in each div play 8 games w/ all 3 Flex teams (FLEX) (2.67 games each), 30 games w/ 10 other West teams (W) outside div (3 games each), 30 games w/ all 15 East teams (E) (2 games each).

    2 West teams (W) in Midwest div play 13 games own div (5 games w/ each other & 4 games each w/ 2 Flex teams (FLEX)), 36 games w/ 12 other West teams (W) outside div (3 games each), 1 of 2 teams plays 3 games w/ Nashville (FLEX), 1 of 2 teams plays 2 games w/ Nashville (FLEX), 1 of 2 teams plays 6 games w/ 3 East teams (E) from Southeast div (2 games each), 1 of 2 teams plays 7 games w/ 3 East teams (E) from Southeast div (2.33 games each), 24 games w/ 12 East teams (E) from Canada East, Northeast, & Atlantic divs (2 games each).

    2 Flex teams Detroit (FLEX) & Columbus (FLEX) in Midwest div play 12 games own div (4 games each), 30 games w/ 12 West teams (W) outside div (2.5 games each), 40 games w/ all 16 teams in Eastern Conference (2.5 games each).

    For 12 East teams (E) in Canada East, Northeast, & Atlantic divs: 2 of 4 teams in each div play 14 games own div (4.67 games each), 2 of 4 teams in each div play 13 games own div (4.33 games each), 2 of 4 teams in each div play 7 games w/ all 3 Flex teams (FLEX) (2.33 games each), 2 of 4 teams in each div play 8 games w/ all 3 Flex teams (FLEX) (2.67 games each), 33 games w/ 11 other East teams (E) outside div (3 games each), 28 games w/ all 14 West teams (W) (2 games each).

    For 3 East teams (E) in Southeast div: 2 of 3 teams play 13 games own div (5 games w/ each other, 4 games w/ other East team (E), & 4 games w/ Nashville (FLEX)), 1 of 3 teams plays 12 games own div (4 games each), 2 of 3 teams play 4 games w/ 2 West teams (W) from Midwest div (2 games each), 1 of 3 teams plays 5 games w/ 2 West teams (W) from Midwest div (2.5 games each), 36 games w/ 12 other East teams (E) outside div (3 games each), 5 games w/ 2 Flex teams (FLEX) from Midwest div (2.5 games each), 24 games w/ 12 West teams (W) from Canada West, Pacific, & Big West divs (2 games each).

    Nashville (FLEX) in Southeast div plays 12 games own div (4 games each), 30 games w/ 12 East teams (E) outside div (2.5 games each), 40 games w/ all 16 teams in Western Conference (2.5 games each).

    For Select teams: 1 additional Rivalry game (4th game for 2 home/2 away) w/ 1 strong Rival team separated from division (replaces 1 game (5th game) with 1 team in own division) – additional Rivalry games are not applicable to 3 Flex teams (FLEX) requiring balanced schedules and not having an available 5th game with a division team to replace:

    Western Conference Rivalry Games:
    Arizona (W) 1 Rivalry game w/ Los Angeles (W) or Anaheim (W) – rotate each year
    Colorado (W) 1 Rivalry game w/ Anaheim (W) or Los Angeles (W) – rotate each year
    St. Louis (W) 1 Rivalry game w/ Chicago (W) – each year
    Dallas (W) 1 Rivalry game w/ Minnesota (W) – each year

    Eastern Conference Rivalry Games:
    New Jersey (E) 1 Rivalry game w/ N.Y. Rangers (E) or N.Y. Islanders (E) – rotate each year
    Philadelphia (E) 1 Rivalry game w/ N.Y. Islanders (E) or N.Y. Rangers (E) – rotate each year
    Boston (E) 1 Rivalry game w/ Montreal (E) – each year
    Buffalo (E) 1 Rivalry game w/ Toronto (E) – each year

    Playoff Brackets for my proposed realignment:

    Maintain current 16-team East/West playoff bracket system format, with the following modifications:
    Step 1 – Identify the top 16 teams in the League, but include each division winner.
    Step 2 – Adjust the 16-team list as needed to limit no more than 8 teams max qualifying from my 14 West teams (W) and limit no more than 8 teams max qualifying from my 15 East teams (E). Any, none, or all of my 3 Flex teams (FLEX) may qualify without restrictions.
    Step 3 – Detroit (FLEX) and Columbus (FLEX) are treated as special cases because they are in the Eastern Time Zone. If and when a matchup should occur in any round of the West bracket with either Detroit or Columbus and a team in or aligned with the Pacific Time Zone, perhaps only for such an occurrence the stronger seed(s) of Detroit’s and/or Columbus’ matchup(s) may choose either a traditional (2-2-1-1-1), staggered (1-2-2-2 – weaker seed gets 1st home game), or economy (2-3-2) playoff format (best of 7). Otherwise, follow the standard playoff format.
    Step 4 – If any Flex teams (FLEX) qualify, place them as needed into the weaker East or West playoff bracket to minimize the amount of teams w/ weak records entering the playoffs, while minimizing the amount of teams w/ strong records missing the playoffs. Sometimes some of the FLEX teams may need to be placed into each bracket, and if that happens, place the strongest FLEX teams into the weaker bracket while placing the weakest FLEX teams into the stronger bracket – the goal is to get the 2 East and West playoff brackets as near to each other in total strength as possible.

    What alignment benefits occur with this realignment?

    Excellent divisional groupings League-wide. All 8 divisions make logical and reasonable sense. All 8 Canadian teams now form 2 divisions of their own. All of the Original 6 teams now have an Original 6 division rival. Chicago/Detroit pairing is restored, with an added Original 6 team presence (Detroit) benefiting the Western Conference. All 3 New York state teams are now grouped together w/ Buffalo finally getting New York division rivals. Boston and New York are now paired together. The Southeast Division teams are as tightly grouped together as is possible. Nashville is closer to the Florida teams than Washington or Columbus would be, Washington keeps its more desirable Atlantic Division, and Columbus gets a closeby rival Detroit. The Flex scheduling for the League for this alignment is very reasonable and, although a little complex, it has been worked out and confirmed. Having an even number of 4 teams per division allows more options to schedule all teams to play divisional games simultaneously.

    Any alignment difficulties with this realignment?

    Eastern teams Detroit and Columbus placed back into the Western Conference is an obvious difficulty, so a compromise was developed for fairness. These 2 teams will become Flex teams (FLEX) and play a balanced schedule so as to not overly burden their travel and time zone challenges. They will play 42 games w/ the Western Conference (4 of those games are with each other) and 40 games w/ the Eastern Conference (2 or 3 of those games are w/ Nashville). Conversely, western team Nashville placed over into the Eastern Conference for the benefit of the Southeast Division may seem somewhat of an oddity for the rest of the Eastern Conference, so again a compromise was developed for reasonableness. Nashville will also become a Flex team (FLEX) and play a balanced schedule. They will play 42 games w/ the Eastern Conference and 40 games w/ the Western Conference.

    St. Louis may rather be placed w/ rival Chicago, but it’s not unreasonably placed w/ Dallas and Colorado, and it seems to become too far or strange to swap w/ Minnesota to pair up Minnesota w/ Arizona. New York and New Jersey separating is another obvious concern, but the results are very reasonable: New Jersey while losing rival New York teams will maintain its Atlantic Division status w/ 3 great rivals Philly, Pitt, & Washington. The New York teams while losing rival New Jersey and the Atlantic will hold onto each other, gain bitter long-time foe Boston, and gain natural cross-state rival Buffalo. Boston and Montreal separating is very significant, but again the results are very reasonable: Boston while losing rival Montreal will keep rival Buffalo and gain bitter long-time foes New York. Montreal while losing rival Boston will join an all-Canadian East Division w/ rivals Toronto, Ottawa, & Quebec. Arizona would prefer to swap with Las Vegas to stay in the Pacific w/ its L.A. area rival teams, however Las Vegas is located closer to the overall cluster of the Pacific teams, Las Vegas is in/aligned with the Pacific Time Zone all year while Arizona is not, and it’s not unreasonable for Arizona to group w/ Colorado and Dallas.

    Besides, virtually all of these difficulties have been addressed with the selected Rivalry scheduling discussed earlier.

  21. Align1 says:

    R E V I S E D – NHL Realignment w/ 32 Teams – a New & Better Way – 4 Flex Teams

    I came up with and tested a new improved NHL realignment that is fair and balanced and keeps East/West playoff brackets. It works by including the 2 expansion teams (Las Vegas & Quebec) using 8 divisions, a 4-team FLEX concept, and select Rivalry games, with excellent team placement throughout:

    WESTERN CONFERENCE: (14 West teams (W) & 2 Flex teams (FLEX))
    Canada West Division:
    Winnipeg (W), Edmonton (W), Calgary (W), Vancouver (W)

    Pacific Division:
    San Jose (W), Los Angeles (W), Anaheim (W), Las Vegas (W)

    Big West Division:
    Arizona (W), Colorado (W), Dallas (W), St. Louis (W)

    Midwest Division:
    Minnesota (W), Chicago (W), Detroit (FLEX), Columbus (FLEX)

    EASTERN CONFERENCE: (14 East teams (E) & 2 Flex teams (FLEX))
    Canada East Division:
    Toronto (E), Ottawa (E), Montreal (E), Quebec (E)

    Northeast Division:
    Boston (E), Buffalo (E), N.Y. Rangers (E), N.Y. Islanders (E)

    Atlantic Division:
    New Jersey (E), Philadelphia (E), Pittsburgh (E), Washington (E)

    Southeast Division:
    Carolina (E), Nashville (FLEX), Tampa Bay (FLEX), Florida (E)

    14 West (W) teams play more West teams (W), 14 East teams (E) play more East teams (E), and 4 Flex teams (FLEX) play a balanced schedule of West, East, & FLEX teams. The key to make things work fair and balanced is to use the playoff-qualifying FLEX teams by moving them to the weaker West or East playoff bracket as needed. In this way, the weaker bracket will have fewer teams qualifying with weak records, and at the same time the stronger bracket will have fewer teams having strong records missing the playoffs. The 4 Flex teams (FLEX) are all centrally located [the NHL “center divide” between East and West on a map is a north/south vertical line thru Columbus, which almost extends right thru Detroit, with Nashville just slightly to the left, and Tampa Bay ever so slightly to the right – beyond these 4 Flex teams (FLEX) on either side are 14 other West teams (W) and 14 other East teams (E)]. The 4 Flex teams (FLEX) will play balanced schedules to legitimize their placements into either the West or East playoff brackets as needed. It really works well!

    For 12 West teams (W) in Canada West, Pacific, & Big West divs: 14 games own div (4.67 games each), 30 games w/ 10 other West teams (W) outside div (3 games each), 10 games w/ all 4 Flex teams (FLEX) (2.5 games each), 28 games w/ all 14 East teams (E) (2 games each).

    2 West teams Minnesota (W) & Chicago (W) in Midwest div play 13 games own div (5 games w/ each other & 4 games each w/ 2 Flex teams (FLEX), 36 games w/ 12 other West teams (W) outside div (3 games each), 5 games w/ 2 Flex teams (FLEX) from Southeast div (2.5 games each), 28 games w/ all 14 East teams (E) (2 games each).

    2 Flex teams Detroit (FLEX) & Columbus (FLEX) in Midwest div play 12 games own div (4 games each), 30 games w/ 12 West teams (W) outside div (2.5 games each), 40 games w/ all 16 teams in Eastern Conference (2.5 games each).

    For 12 East teams (E) in Canada East, Northeast, & Atlantic divs: 14 games own div (4.67 games each), 30 games w/ 10 other East teams (E) outside div (3 games each), 10 games w/ all 4 Flex teams (FLEX) (2.5 games each), 28 games w/ all 14 West teams (W) (2 games each).

    2 East teams Carolina (E) & Florida (E) in Southeast div play 13 games own div (5 games w/ each other & 4 games each w/ 2 Flex teams (FLEX), 36 games w/ 12 other East teams (E) outside div (3 games each), 5 games w/ 2 Flex teams (FLEX) from Midwest div (2.5 games each), 28 games w/ all 14 West teams (W) (2 games each).

    2 Flex teams Nashville (FLEX) & Tampa Bay (FLEX) in Southeast div play 12 games own div (4 games each), 30 games w/ 12 East teams (E) outside div (2.5 games each), 40 games w/ all 16 teams in Western Conference (2.5 games each).

    For Select teams: 1 additional Rivalry game (4th game for 2 home/2 away) w/ 1 strong Rival team separated from division (replaces 1 game (5th game) with 1 team in own division) – additional Rivalry games are not applicable to 4 Flex teams (FLEX) requiring balanced schedules and not having an available 5th game with a division team to replace:

    Western Conference Rivalry Games:
    Arizona (W) 1 Rivalry game w/ Los Angeles (W) or Anaheim (W) – rotate each year
    Colorado (W) 1 Rivalry game w/ Anaheim (W) or Los Angeles (W) – rotate each year
    St. Louis (W) 1 Rivalry game w/ Chicago (W) – each year
    Dallas (W) 1 Rivalry game w/ Minnesota (W) – each year

    Eastern Conference Rivalry Games:
    New Jersey (E) 1 Rivalry game w/ N.Y. Rangers (E) or N.Y. Islanders (E) – rotate each year
    Philadelphia (E) 1 Rivalry game w/ N.Y. Islanders (E) or N.Y. Rangers (E) – rotate each year
    Boston (E) 1 Rivalry game w/ Montreal (E) – each year
    Buffalo (E) 1 Rivalry game w/ Toronto (E) – each year

    Playoff Brackets for my proposed realignment:

    Maintain current 16-team East/West playoff bracket system format, with the following modifications:
    Step 1 – Identify the top 16 teams in the League, but include each division winner.
    Step 2 – Adjust the 16-team list as needed to limit no more than 8 teams max qualifying from my 14 West teams (W) and limit no more than 8 teams max qualifying from my 14 East teams (E). West teams (W) must stay in the West bracket and East teams (E) must stay in the East bracket. Any, none, or all of my 4 Flex teams (FLEX) may qualify without restrictions.
    Step 3 – If any Flex teams (FLEX) qualify, place them as needed into the weaker East or West playoff bracket to minimize the amount of teams w/ weak records entering the playoffs, while minimizing the amount of teams w/ strong records missing the playoffs. Sometimes some of the playoff-qualifying Flex teams (FLEX) may need to be placed into each bracket, and if that happens, place the strongest FLEX teams into the weaker bracket while placing the weakest FLEX teams into the stronger bracket – the goal is to get the 2 East and West playoff brackets as near to each other in total strength as possible.
    Step 4 – Detroit (FLEX), Columbus (FLEX), & Tampa Bay (FLEX) are treated as special cases because they are in the Eastern Time Zone. If and when a matchup should occur in any round of the West bracket with either Detroit, Columbus, or Tampa Bay and a team in or aligned with the Pacific Time Zone, perhaps only for such an occurrence the stronger seed(s) of Detroit’s, Columbus’, and/or Tampa Bay’s matchup(s) may choose either a traditional (2-2-1-1-1), staggered (1-2-2-2 – weaker seed gets 1st home game), or economy (2-3-2) playoff format (best of 7). Otherwise, follow the standard playoff format.

    What alignment benefits occur with this realignment?

    Excellent divisional groupings League-wide. All 8 divisions make logical and reasonable sense. All 8 Canadian teams now form 2 divisions of their own. All of the Original 6 teams now have an Original 6 division rival. Traditional Chicago/Detroit pairing is restored, with an added Original 6 team presence (Detroit) benefiting the Western Conference. All 3 New York state teams are now grouped together w/ Buffalo finally getting New York division rivals. Boston and New York are now paired together after being separated far too long. The Southeast Division teams are as tightly grouped together as is possible. Nashville is closer to the Florida teams than Washington or Columbus would be, Washington keeps its more desirable Atlantic Division, and Columbus gets a nearby rival Detroit. The Flex scheduling for the League for this alignment is very reasonable, perfectly balanced from East to West – providing League symmetry to an otherwise asymmetrical League, able to help reduce travel or avoid overly burdening extra travel for teams, not too complex, and has been worked out & confirmed. Having an even number of 4 teams per division allows more options to schedule all teams to play divisional games simultaneously. The Flex concept allows East/West playoff bracket fine-tuning in an organized, methodical, and legitimate way to make impactful strides toward getting the best 16 teams to the playoffs without having to throw out League divisions and conferences altogether – having your cake and eating it, too.

    Any alignment difficulties with this realignment?

    Eastern teams Detroit and Columbus placed back into the Western Conference are obvious difficulties, so a compromise was developed for fairness. These 2 teams will become Flex teams (FLEX) and play balanced schedules so as to not overly burden their travel and time zone challenges. They will play 42 games w/ the Western Conference (4 of those games are with each other) and 40 games w/ the Eastern Conference (5 of those games are w/ Nashville & Tampa Bay combined). As it turns out, Detroit & Columbus used as Flex teams (FLEX) will not have to play any more than 1 to 3 additional away games per year, in the Mountain and Pacific Time Zones combined, above the minimum of 9 away games per year there than if they had been placed in the Eastern Conference as East teams (E) [avg. 2.25 additional away games per year there (11.25 away games total there based on 1 additional away game per year in each sister div) – would be avg. 4.5 additional away games per year there or 13.5 away games total there if placed as West teams (W) instead of Flex teams (FLEX) (based on 2 additional away games per year in each sister div)]. Thus, the Flex schedules for Detroit & Columbus are not bad at all, with MUCH fewer distant away games than the insane 8 additional away games (16 away games total) per year they each had in the Mountain & Pacific Time Zones combined back when the NHL had 6 divisions w/ Detroit & Columbus in the former 5-team Central div. of the Western Conference and forced to play heavily skewed Western schedules. Away games in the Central Time Zone are no big deal for any of the 4 Flex teams (FLEX) – Winnipeg (W) & Dallas (W) are roughly similar distances to Columbus (FLEX) as Quebec (E) & Florida (E) are to Columbus (FLEX).

    Conversely, western team Nashville placed over into the Eastern Conference for the benefit of the Southeast Division may seem somewhat of an oddity for the rest of the Eastern Conference, so again a compromise was developed for reasonableness. Nashville will also become a Flex team (FLEX), group with another logical Flex team Tampa Bay (FLEX), and both will play balanced schedules. These 2 teams will play 42 games w/ the Eastern Conference (4 of those games are with each other) and 40 games w/ the Western Conference (5 of those games are w/ Detroit & Columbus combined). Just like Detroit & Columbus, the very same few additional away games are required in the Mountain and Pacific Time Zones. Again, away games in the Central Time Zone are no big deal. Very reasonable Flex scheduling for teams located on the NHL East/West “center divide.”

    St. Louis may rather be placed w/ rival Chicago, but it’s not unreasonably placed w/ Dallas and Colorado, and it seems to become too far or strange to swap w/ Minnesota to pair up Minnesota w/ Arizona. New York and New Jersey separating is another obvious concern, but the results are very reasonable: New Jersey while losing rival New York teams will maintain its Atlantic Division status w/ 3 great rivals Philly, Pitt, & Washington. The New York teams while losing rival New Jersey and the Atlantic will hold onto each other, gain bitter long-time foe Boston, and gain natural cross-state rival Buffalo. Boston and Montreal separating is very significant, but again the results are very reasonable: Boston while losing rival Montreal will keep rival Buffalo and gain bitter long-time foes New York. Montreal while losing rival Boston will join an all-Canadian East Division w/ rivals Toronto, Ottawa, & Quebec. Arizona would prefer to swap with Las Vegas to stay in the Pacific w/ its L.A. area rival teams, however Las Vegas is located closer to the overall cluster of the Pacific teams, Las Vegas is in/aligned with the Pacific Time Zone all year while Arizona is not, and it’s not unreasonable for Arizona to group w/ Colorado and Dallas.

    Besides, virtually all of these difficulties have been addressed with the selected Rivalry scheduling or FLEX scheduling discussed earlier.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *