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:

Nobody

 

Lost Teams:

Phoenix, Columbus

 

Scheduling:

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)

 

Playoffs:

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 ».


 

NHL Realignment Project – Week 37

NHL Realignment Project - Week 37

 

West, west, west, west, east

This week we’re adding four new teams to the map west of the Gretzky-Orr line (two via expansion and two via relocation). Just to make sure the eastern side of the map doesn’t feel completely neglected we’ve allowed another relocation to stay within the Orr Conference. The Pacific Northwest has a love of hockey that is untapped and the MLS is showing us that the Vancouver/Seattle/Portland corridor has great fans that love great rivalries with their “neighbors”. Houston and KC round out the central part of our map and Quebec gets the team they deserve. I also threw Columbus a bone, and let them keep their team this week. Let’s check it out.

 

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 37

NHL Realignment Map - Week 37

 

The Breakdown:

We’re going with a 2 conferences of 2 divisions each format. Again, we’ve named the conferences are  for Gretzky and Orr while the division names are our old favorites—Patrick, Adams, Norris, and Smythe. Eight teams in each division giving us a total of 32 teams.

The Wayne Douglas Gretzky Conference
Smythe Division Norris Division
Anaheim Ducks Chicago Blackhawks
Calgary Flames Colorado Avalanche
Edmonton Oilers Dallas Stars
Los Angeles Kings Houston Aeros
Portland Eagles Kansas City Scouts
San Jose Sharks Minnesota Wild
Seattle Totems St. Louis Blues
Vancouver Canucks Winnipeg Jets
The Robert Gordon Orr Conference
Patrick Division Adams Division
Buffalo Sabres Boston Bruins
Columbus Blue Jackets Carolina Hurricanes
Detroit Red Wings Montreal Canadiens
Nashville Predators New Jersey Devils
Philadelphia Flyers New York Rangers
Pittsburgh Penguins Ottawa Senators
Tampa Bay Lightning Quebec Nordiques
Toronto Maple Leafs Washington Capitals

Gained Teams:

Seattle, Portland, Kansas City, Houston, Quebec City

 

Lost Teams:

Miami, Long Island, Phoenix

 

The Benefits:

• Geography — Like last week, every team has to travel to Canada for divisional games. Every division is stretched vertically (the two easternmost a little less, but still very stretchy), so that is reasonably equal as well. All this means that nobody can whine about “Our travel leaves us at a massive disadvantage”.

• Travel — Once again, North-South is the way. Divisional games may necessitate long trips, but again, staying within your time zone or only having to travel one over makes all the difference for player fatigue and for TV ratings.

• Rivalries —  Though we lose CHI/DET, we do get TOR/DET… not bad. The NYR/NJD, the Alberta teams, Pennsylvania teams, and BOS/MTL all stay together too, so check that off your list. New teams give us great rivalries too, SEA/POR/VAN, DAL/HOU, KC/STL

• Heritage —  C’mon! The division names are awesome. Hockey is special, now the conference and division names reflect that.

 

Scheduling:

Divisional Games: 3 home & 3 away vs. 7 teams = 42 games

Non-Divisional Games: 1 home & 1 away vs. 24 teams = 48 games

TOTAL = 90 games—yay, more hockey.

 

Playoffs:

Top three from each division qualify, plus next two best records from the conference (as wildcards).

Division Champs seeded 1 & 2, based on record. All other qualifiers seeded 3-8, based on record (so yes, a wildcard can have a higher seed than a top-three qualifier. This keeps the regular season more interesting and division-focused, as finishing top-three is the first ticket into the playoffs. Wildcard is just a backdoor option to keep things a little fair for 4th and 5th placed teams in a division who is having “a super-stacked-with-awesomeness year”.

Once qualification happens (division-centric), other than division champions getting 1 & 2, it’s all about your record for seeding (conference-centric). This way we are more likely to avoid a “two-best-teams-meeting-too-early-in-the-playoffs scenario”.

(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 ».


NHL Realignment Project – Week 24

NHL Realignment Project - Week 24

Oh Six!

This week on the NHL Realignment Project we are finally getting around to creating a scenario where the Original Six get their own division. To get this to work out in a more manageable way, we had to do a major contraction of the NHL… down to 24 teams. It was either this or go up to 36 (can you say, “Week 25 foreshadowing?”).

So our new 24-team NHL has four conferences… Original Six, Gretzky, Lemieux and Hull. Each conference would qualify four teams for the playoffs, play down to a conference champion… then we would have a “Final Four” league semi-final where the team with the best regular season record of the four left standing would choose its opponent.

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 24

NHL Realignment Map - Week 24

The Breakdown:

Original Six Conference: Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Montreal, New York, Toronto

Lemieux Conference: Carolina, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington

Hull Conference: Buffalo, Dallas, Minnesota, Ottawa, St. Louis, Winnipeg

Gretzky Conference: Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Los Angeles, San Jose, Vancouver

 

Gained teams:

none

 

Lost teams:

Anaheim, Columbus, Florida, Nashville, New York Islanders, Phoenix

 

The Benefits:

• Tradition — The Original Six finally gets the recognition they deserve with their own conference. Major rivalries such as PIT/PHI,  LAK/SJ, EDM/CGY to name a few have been maintained in-conference.

• Travel — Conferences span no more than two time-zones. Eastern and Central Time Zone teams have a minimized slate of games starting super-late because of Pacific Time Zone locations… the same goes for Pacific and Mountain Time Zone teams playing super-early because of Eastern Time Zone locations.

• Talent — Killing off six teams will result in a major uptick in talent level as the surveying teams split the spoils. Ponder and love on this: the term “Top 9 Forward” will come in to use!

 

Scheduling Notes:

36 outside conference (1 home/1 away vs each of the 18 opponents)

40 in-conference (4 home/4 away vs. each of the 5 opponents)

6 extra games outside conference (1 home/1 away vs 3 teams in another conference… to rotate through all 18 non-conference opponents every 6 six years)

 

(H/T to oilersnation.com for the original map)

 

See you next Sunday!

— TF

Make sure to check out the entire NHL Realignment Project ».


NHL Realignment Project – Week 22

NHL Realignment Project - Week 22

Nationalism 

Week twenty-two in the NHL Realignment Project has a “country” flavor to it.  The main thing we’re doing differently this week is how we arrived at our honorific division names. The NHL is mostly made up of North American players and European, right? So I took the two (present-day) countries from each continent that have provided us our leading scorers… Canada/US and Czech Republic/Slovakia. The divisions are named after each of those nation’s leading scorer… Wayne Gretzky, Mike Modano, Jaromir Jagr and Stan Mikita.

In addition to the awesome naming, we’ve gone with a horizontal formatting for dividing up the league. And contracted the two teams that had the lowest average attendance last year (Islanders and Coyotes) to get us to a more divisible 28 teams.

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 22

NHL Realignment Map - Week 22

The Breakdown:

Northern Conference

- Gretzky Division: Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg

- Mikita Division: Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York

Southern Conference

-  Jagr Division: Colorado, Columbus, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, St. Louis, Washington

- Modano Division:  Anaheim, Carolina, Dallas, Florida, Los Angeles, Nashville, Tampa Bay

 

Gained teams:

None

Lost teams:

New York Islanders, Phoenix Coyotes

 

The Benefits:

• Respect — Hockey is a global game… and stars from various countries have made the game grow at home and abroad. With these division names, we do a major hat tip to that.

• Division Pride —  Having a division that is “Canada-only”, one that is “all-South”, one that has four of the Original Six, and one that has the leagues two biggest stars (not to mention the most cup-hungry fans (San Jose)) will give each division its own unique brand and identity. The rivalries within each, and the pride across each would be an interesting dynamic to watch.

• Rivalries — I did my best to keep some great rivalries intact. PIT/PHI, NYR/BOS, TOR/MTL, CGY/EDM, ANA/LAK to name a few. I’d build a non-division schedule where everyone played everyone else at least once at home and once away… that way other big rivalries can still live on as well.

• Travel — 3 of the 4 divisions have coast-to-coast representation. So everyone is gonna have to travel a bunch. Only the Mikita Division has just two time-zones represented… but there is a really good chance that in a subsequent (*COUGH* NEXTSUNDAY *COUGH*) NHLRP map, an expansion will remedy this.

• Modano Retirement — Since Modo recently retired, I felt it appropriate to hit him up with a shoutout… thanks for making hockey work in Texas… thanks for being a class act… thanks for inspiring us, Mike.

 

(H/T to oilersnation.com for the original map)

 

See you next week (gonna try to post every Sunday moving forward, so put it on your calendar)!

— TF

Make sure to check out the entire NHL Realignment Project ».

 

NHL Realignment Project – Week 19

NHL Realignment Project - Week 19

Champions Leage (Semi) Final

So this is the final iteration of the idea started three weeks ago, that of the “Champions League”. We started with a league that consisted of only teams that had won the Cup, and then we expanded it to include teams that had made it to the Stanley Cup finals, but not necessarily won it. This we we push it a bit more, and admit any team who have at least made it to the Conference Finals… 26 teams in all.

Our league is divided them into four conferences, two of six team and two of seven. As per our most common custom in the NHL Realignment Project, the top four teams in each division qualify for the playoffs. Each division determines its champion followed by the two conferences crowning champs who square off for the Stanley Cup

So Here is The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 19

NHL Realignment Map - Week 19

The Breakdown:

Western Conference:

Gretzky Division: Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, San Jose, Vancouver

Howe Division: Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota, St. Louis

Eastern Conference:

Lemieux Division: Buffalo, Carolina, Florida, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington

Orr Division: Boston, Montreal, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Toronto

 

Gained teams:

None

Lost teams:

Phoenix, Winnipeg, Columbus, Nashville (Can you believe there are only four teams that haven’t made it to at least the conference finals?)

 

The Benefits:

• Fairness — While the Western Conference teams have to travel further during the season, the Eastern Conference teams have more opponents in their respective divisions that they have to beat out for the “top four spot” to make the playoffs.

 

(H/T to oilersnation.com for the original map)

 

See you next week!

— TF

Make sure to check out the entire NHL Realignment Project ».

NHL Realignment Project – Week 18

NHL Realignment Project - Week 18

Champions League Plus

Expanding on the idea that started two week ago, this week we’re expanding by six teams (à la 1967). The six teams we’ve allowed into our “Champions League” are the teams that have be able to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, but haven’t won. They’ve earned their stripes, and now have the chance to make that final step.

We’re a 24-team league in this format, and we’ve divided them into four conferences, each of which fill out a playoff bracket with their top four teams. Playoffs involve the four teams deciding a Conference Champion which lead to a “final four” that reseed to determine semi-final opponents… best record plays fourth best… second best record plays third best.

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 18

NHL Realignment Map - Week 18

 

The Breakdown:

Gretzky Conference: Anaheim, Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Vancouver

Hull Conference: Carolina, Dallas, Florida, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Washington

Howe Conference: Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Toronto

Orr Conference: Boston, Montreal, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia

 

Gained teams:

None

Lost teams:

San Jose, Phoenix, Winnipeg, Minnesota, Columbus, Nashville

 

The Benefits:

• Talent — While we’re not cutting 40% of the teams out of the NHL like the last two weeks, we are still doing some significant chopping. Teams will have plenty of talent to choose from to replace their lesser players with guys from the six shuttered franchises.

• Amazingly Finals — Making the playoffs reseed for the semi-finals, should (more often than not) yield a better Finals matchup. No more “the last round help better matchups than the Finals” talk.

• Tradition — When the league is made up of only teams that have won it all or made it to the Finals, tradition is pretty much built in.

 

(H/T to oilersnation.com for the original map)

 

See you next week!

— TF

Make sure to check out the entire NHL Realignment Project ».

NHL Realignment Project – Week 17

NHL Realignment Project - Week 17

Champions League (Version 2)

As some of you geniuses may have figured out by the title of last week’s post, we are doing a variation this week instead of a full-on new idea. Things are super-busy at work right now, and this is the way we’re gonna go. Gotta pay the bills… what can you do?

So this week, our league, comprised of only Stanley Cup Winning teams, is divided by a horizontal demarcation line. Orr to the north and Howe to the south. It seems a little more fair than last week’s option since there is at least a little less travel discrepancy between the two conferences.

NHL Realignment Map - Week 17

NHL Realignment Map - Week 17

 

The Breakdown:

Howe Conference: Anaheim, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh

Orr Conference: Boston, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Toronto

 

Gained teams:

None

Lost teams:

Vancouver, San Jose, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Winnipeg, Minnesota, St. Louis, Buffalo, Columbus, Nashville, Florida, Washington

 

The Benefits:

• Talent — Whoa nelly! My math may be off, but wouldn’t cutting 40% of the teams out of the NHL mean we’d be leaving the bottom 40% of the talent out of the league too? It’d be like my fantasy league (speaking of, we’re desperate for people to join). Basically we’d have an All-Star Game level of talent, but with checks.

• Amazingly Historical Match-ups in the Stanley Cup Finals (potentially) — Lots of potential for old school finals. Lots and lots of potential for never-before-seen finals matchups. Lots of potential for Canadian teams to be in the finals.

• Tradition — When the league is made up of only teams that have won it all, tradition is pretty much built in (*cough cough* tampadallascarolinaanaheim? *cough*)

 

(H/T to oilersnation.com for the original map)

 

Check back next week for a bigger vision of this concept!

— TF

Make sure to check out the entire NHL Realignment Project ».

NHL Realignment Project – Week 16

NHL Realignment Project - Week 16
Champions League (Version 1)

Just like, last week, we’re gonna go into contraction mode again. But we’re pushing it much further this time. In this, the sixteenth week of the NHL Realignment Project, we’re going to contract the NHL to only the current teams that have already won the Stanley Cup (yes, I know the NHL doesn’t recognize the current Ottawa Senators to be the same as the original, actually-has-won-the-cup team, but I wanted to make it an even split, so I let it slide). That leaves us with eighteen teams. So does that mean all but two teams in the league make the playoffs? My answer to that riddle is a very scientific and well thought out one: “Sure, why not?”

Here’s the map with the divisional breakdown (2 Conferences, no divisions):

NHL Realignment Map - Week 16

NHL Realignment Map - Week 16

The Breakdown:

Gretzky Conference: Anaheim, Calgary, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Toronto

Orr Conference: Boston, Carolina, Montreal, Ottawa, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

 

Gained teams:

None

Lost teams:

Vancouver, San Jose, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Winnipeg, Minnesota, St. Louis, Buffalo, Columbus, Nashville, Florida, Washington

 

The Benefits:

• Talent — Whoa nelly! My math may be off, but wouldn’t cutting 40% of the teams out of the NHL mean we’d be leaving the bottom 40% of the talent out of the league too? It’d be like my fantasy league (speaking of, we’re desperate for people to join). Basically we’d have an All-Star Game level of talent, but with checks.

• Amazingly Historical Match-ups in the Stanley Cup Finals (potentially) — The Original Six Teams have been divided evenly between the two Conferences. So lots of potential for old school finals. Not to mention the potential for a Pittsburgh/Philadelphia final. I don’t know if Pennsylvania would survive that, actually.

• Tradition — When the league is made up of only teams that have won it all, tradition is pretty much built in (*cough cough* tampadallascarolinaanaheim? *cough*)

 

(H/T to oilersnation.com for the original map)

 

Check back for version 2 of this concept next week!

— TF

Make sure to check out the entire NHL Realignment Project ».


NHL Realignment Project – Week 15

NHL Realignment Project - Week 15

Triple Threat

Okay, last week we took things to the limit by having 44(!) teams, so this week we pull back. The number of the week is THREE. We’re scuttling the THREE teams that get the most chatter on the internets about being in trouble… The Islanders, The Coyotes and The Blue Jackets.

The thing with this plan is we now have 27 teams… an uneven number. That is true my mathematical mates, but it isn’t a prime number so we can still divide. This week’s plan calls for breaking the NHL into THREE divisions of 9 teams each… No conferences.

In my new NHL Realignment, the top 5 teams in each of the THREE divisions make the playoffs, and the team with the next best record qualifies for the playoffs as a wildcard. Division champs plus next best record are the #1 seeds in a 16-team playoff bracket. The four #1 seeds go through a “draft-and-position” process to build their respective quadrants of the bracket. Woot!

NHL Realignment Map - Week 15

NHL Realignment Map - Week 15

 

Gained teams:

None

Lost teams:

Columbus, Phoenix, New York (Islanders)

Benefits:

• Travel — Minnesota and Winnipeg won’t think so, but there is a better balance of travel than in the current NHL. The Wild and the Jets are playing the role that the Stars currently play as the “WTF is up with our travel” teams… but to be fair, they at least have each other as divisional rivals which isn’t that far to travel. No Eastern Time Zone teams have West Coast Conference rivals (hard to compare completely, since there are no more conferences), but the Red Wings would love this.

• Talent — Less teams (theoretically) mean better hockey. The rosters of the three eliminated teams get pilfered for their best talent, who in turn replace the dregs of the teams that are left. I’m of the mind that there is TONS of talent in this league and that this won’t be as pronounced an influence as proponents of contraction say it will be, but on the other hand, you can’t argue against the fact that A’s and B’s are better than D’s and F’s.

 

(H/T to oilersnation.com for the original map)

 

Until next week!

— TF

Make sure to check out the entire NHL Realignment Project ».