NHL Realignment Map 2013-14

Now that it has been approved, here is “The Official Tom Fulery Version” of the 2013-14 NHL realignment (click image to enlarge):

 

UPDATE: The league has officially announced division names.

An updated map can be found here »

 

 

NHL Realignment 2013-14

NHL Realignment 2013-14

Proposed NHL Realignment 2013-14

Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada (@FriedgeHNIC) reported that the forth-coming NHL Realignment Plan will be similar, but not exactly the same as the one the NHL proposed back in December of 2011. It’ll still be four conferences (two of 8 teams, two of 7 teams), but Detroit and Columbus would be moved to the “eastern” two conferences to reduce travel and better reflect the fact that they are actually in the Eastern time zone. I’m still processing it all, and considering the implications it has with future expansion and/or relocations.

In the meantime, here is one of my maps reflecting the proposed breakdown (click it for a larger version):

Proposed-NHL-Realignment-Map-2013-14

Interesting times ahead.

Bring on the super-happy few… and the very pissed off masses.

—TF

 

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 33

NHL Realignment Project - Week 33

All the People, All the Time 

Okay, our short-lived happiness (or hatred for many others) of having finally gotten a bold new NHL that accentuates rivalries tries something new and isn’t just and NBA-on-ice is over and done with. Yes, we understand a good chunk of the purpose behind the plan in the first place was to act as a veiled first salvo against the NHLPA in the forthcoming CBA renegotiation… and begrudgingly I have to admit that it was a pretty brilliant calculation by the billionaires getting them the ever-elusive “win-win situation” against the millionaires. But whatever the reasons/ploys/shenanigans (for both the proposal and rejection) NHL realignment is where it is now… a necessary ingredient for future NHL success that is in more treacherous waters than ever AND now with tons of declared “issues” that one side or the other doesn’t want to have included.

So where do we go from here?

My seething anger at the snafu in general, and more specifically, the dark CBA implications that it foreshadows has died down a bit in the last 24 hours and  I’m ready to continue with the NHLRP. This week I’m gonna root my efforts in reality and do my very best to please all the people (we’re supposedly able to do this some of the time, no?).

I’ve cut out the BS, and sold the Phoenix franchise to suitors from Quebec City. The NHL (the league office, that is) is no longer in the business of running teams. If you’re an owner and want out, you find a buyer and you sell. If you can’t, your team is auctioned, and if necessary moved to a new city… and we do the re-alignment dance again.

The basis of this week’s map is this: there are TWO CONFERENCES made up of FIVE DIVISIONS each. Your principal job as a team in the new NHL is to win your division… basically, have a better record than the other two teams in your division and you’re in to the playoffs. The in-division hatred and rivalry will be amped up beyond belief with 8 games versus each of your two division-mates each season. To satisfy the “But wait, I’m in a stronger conference—boo-hoo” camp, if you don’t win your division, there are three wild-card spots in each conference available to sneak in you into the playoffs too. More on all this later. First let’s look at the map.

 

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 33

NHL Realignment Map - Week 33

 

The Breakdown:

Again, we have two conferences, named after (arguably) the best defenseman and the best forward of all time, Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky. In something more akin to the pod structure we’ve featured in a few past NHLRP entires, the conferences are divided into very small divisions of three teams each. In addition to being all equal in size (addressing one of the grumblings of the NHLPA and others in the now-dead plan), these smaller conferences lend themselves to a much better scheduling/travel structure as we’ll see in a bit as well (addressing an issue both sides have sited). Here is how the teams fit into the divisions. I tried my best to keep geographic and traditional rivals together (this one is mostly for the fans).

The Wayne Gretzky Conference The Bobby Orr Conference
Northwest Northeast
Calgary Flames Boston Bruins
Edmonton Oilers Montreal Canadiens
Vancouver Canucks Quebec Nordiques
   
Central North
Colorado Avalanche Buffalo Sabres
Minnesota Wild Ottawa Senators
Winnipeg Jets Toronto Maple Leafs
   
Heartland Empire
Chicago Blackhawks New Jersey Devils
Columbus Blue Jackets New York Islanders
Detroit Red Wings New York Rangers
   
Pacific Mid-Atlantic
Anaheim Ducks Philadelphia Flyers
Los Angeles Kings Pittsburgh Penguins
San Jose Sharks Washington Capitals
   
South Southeast
Dallas Stars Carolina Hurricanes
Nashville Predators Florida Panthers
St. Louis Blues Tampa Bay Lightning
   

Gained teams:

Quebec City

 

Lost teams:

Phoenix

 

The Benefits:

• Scheduling/Travel — Listen up, NHL and PA (and you too, Red Wings and Stars)! Here is the solution the biggest issue of the day (besides the egos of many of the combatants in the forthcoming CBA battle):

3-team divisions mean that the season is made up of 3 things:

  • Divisional Play:
    • Home-and-home series against divisional opponents
  • Play outside of your Division:
    • 3-game road trips (each trip is against all three teams in a single division)
    • 3-game home-stands (same thing as above except at home)
- It’s simple enough for fans, players and owners to grasp.
- Road trips are reasonably short, and as an added bonus, the travel from game-to-game during each a road trip isn’t too bad since divisions are “reasonably small” in geographic scope.
- Everyone loves home-and-home series which mean to 120+ minutes of game-time agains “those same bastards” in a very few days (PIMs galore!). Toss in the fact that “those bastards” are who you are in essence, fighting against for a spot in the playoffs, and you play each of your two division-mates eight times(!) per season, those games will be more intense then we can imagine.
- Oh, and every team plays every other team both home and away (Something the NHL and the fans wanted). See the Schedule Breakdown section a little further down the page for even more on the sublime simplicity (and “you can’t argue against this-ness”) of the plan. By the way, if you need someone to write a program that will whip out a sample schedule (another of the NHLPA’s beefs, I know a guy… just send us a slice of your millions and billions and consider it done.

• Fairness — Unlike the  NHLPA, I don’t subscribe to the “the teams in the 7-team conferences have are more likely to make the playoffs” argument (listen, you are more likely to qualify for the post-season in an awful 8-team conference than a really competitive 7-team conference), but this point is moot now anyways. This new plan calls for all teams play in equal-sized divisions with the same coin-flip percentage of making the playoffs, so everyone is happy, right? Additionally, with the “escape hatch” of there being three wild-card spots available to the non-division champs with the three best records, and there should be no whining.

• Rivalries —  The majority of the principal divisional rivalries are preserved. PIT/PHI, the 3 NYC-area teams, DET/CHI, MTL/BOS, the 3 California teams, the 3 Western Canada teams are all keep alive and well.

• Homage/Heritage — We get to name the two Conferences after two great players who I hear are great guys as well. (Plus with 10 divisions mostly having directional names, I wasn’t about to throw two more directional names into the mix)

• John Williams — With a division named “Empire”, there definately be a lot of in-arena playing of Vader’s theme from Star Wars. Bahn-bahn-bahn, bahn-BA-duh, bahn-BA-dah!!

 

Scheduling:

Each team plays all it’s non-divisional opponents once at home and once on the road: 2 games x 27 teams = 54 games (played in three-game road trips to a single division, and three-game home-stands against a single division)

Each team plays its in-division opponents four times at home and four times on the road: 8 games x 2 teams = 16 games (played in home-and-home series)

Each team plays another set of games against the three teams from two divisions in their same conference: 2 games x 6 teams = 12 games (again, played in a three-game road trip and three-game home-stand (which divisions you play rotates each year, complete in 2-year cycles)

 

54 games + 16 games + 12 games = 82 games

Pretty simple. It doesn’t completely keep Detroit and Columbus from having to make long in-conference road trips, but the trips are shorter in duration and more logistically sensible. Plus, as far as non-Eastern Time Zone road-trips go, the Wings and Jackets would only have two more of those than they would have Eastern Time Zone road-trips. The Stars, Ducks, Kings and Sharks no longer have to deal with a divisional opponent two time zones away either. Two MAJOR scheduling issues resolved! If they gave out Nobel Prizes for this kind of work… I’d like your support during the process, everyone. If a Nobel Prize is outta the question, I’d settle for life-time tickets to the Stanley Cup finals……….. or some backlinks.

 

Playoffs:

Playoff qualification is now a reward for hard-earned divisional championships with three wildcards available for the “fell-just short” teams. While this is a bit different, the structure of the playoffs themselves is pretty much what we currently have (addressing yet another major concern of many players, teams, fans).

• 5 division winners from each conference qualify for the playoffs (seeded #1-#5 by record)

• 3 best records amongst the non-division winners in each conference are awarded wild-card spots (seeded #6-#8 by record)

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

• Round Two: Conference Semifinals — 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, with highest seeded team (not necessarily best record) with home-ice advantage)

 

The Closing Argument:

NHL is just better when divisions mean more than conferences. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present to you exhibit A in this argument: The NFL… and exhibit B: The NBA. It makes infinitely more sense for teams to identify with their own division and rally against division-mates in epic struggles to qualify for the playoffs, than to think of them as just another few teams to deal with in a vague quest against 14 other teams for one of 8 spots.

In short, we’d rather have teams claw, scratch and fight for 5 division crowns (with 3 consolation prizes), than meander through a season in search of one of 8 prizes (3 of which have a lil’ bonus attached).

“LAYWERED!”

*Drops Mic*

 

(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 ».


The New NHL – Conference Names

The internets are abuzz on the new NHL. There is a lot of chatter about what the names of the four new conferences will be. This is a place where we can speculate until Gary and the Boyz make a decision. If you have suggestions, put ‘em in the comments and I’ll make a map with those names (when I can get around to it). As always, click anywhere on the lil’ maps to get a bigger version.

Thanks, and don’t forget to send me your naming options.

— TF

 

Geography 1:

The New NHL - Conference Names - Geography 1
Geography 1

 

Classic:

The New NHL - Conference Names - Classic

Classic

 

Geography 2:

The New NHL - Conference Names - Geography 2

Geography 2

 

Homage 1:

The New NHL - Conference Names - Homage 1

Homage 1

 

Geography 3:

The New NHL - Conference Names - Geography 3

Geography 3

 

Tomfoolery 1

The New NHL - Conference Names - Tomfoolery 1

Tomfoolery 1

 

Tomfoolery 2

The New NHL - Conference Names - Tomfoolery 1

Tomfoolery 2

 

Tomfoolery 3

The New NHL - Conference Names - Tomfoolery 3

Tomfoolery 3 - by Drew Kline

 

Tomfoolery 4

The New NHL - Conference Names - Tomfoolery 4

Tomfoolery 4 - by Drew Kline

NHL Realignment Project – Week 26

NHL Realignment Project - Week 26

Oh Six (One Last Time)

It’s hard to believe, but we’re HALF WAY THROUGH our lil’ project. Week 26 sees us visit our “Original Six” theme a final time… I promise, next week we’ll be going in a different direction again. Similar to last week, we’ve upped the number of teams in the league to 36 teams. We’re breaking the league down into six divisions of six teams each—one of which is made up of all of the Original Six teams.

This week we’ve changed up the map just a bit. The clustering along the east coast is a little less confusing. The non-original-six NYC-area teams have joined the lower-coast teams (Caps, Canes, and the Florida teams) in a division. Along with that change, the Pennsylvania-duo join the Sabres, Jackets, Sens and Nordiques to round out the Eastern Conference.

The West is pretty clean as is, so we’ve left it along this week. Let’s check out what we’ve got…

 

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 26

NHL Realignment Map - Week 26

 

The Breakdown:

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

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

Bossy Division: Carolina, Florida, New Jersy, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay, Washington

Lemieux Division: Buffalo, Columbus, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Quebec

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

Hull Division: Dallas, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis

Gretzky Division: Calgary, Edmonton, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Winnipeg

Dionne Division: Anaheim, Colorado, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose

 

Gained teams:

Kansas City, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Quebec, Portland, Seattle

 

Lost teams:

none

 

The Benefits:

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

• Travel — Other than Winnipeg (sorry guys), nobody has an in-division rival more than one time-zone over.

• Rivalries —  Even though Winnipeg is kinda screwed on travel, they do get a whole heapin’ mess’o rivals to content with. The Alberta teams and Vancouver are all in-division, through in what will sure turn into an awesome rivalry in Seattle/Portland, and the Gretzky division will be amazing. Cali, Colorado and the two desert cities will be great too. Oh, but wait, there will be a great Missouri rivalry… oh and Dallas/Minnesota have history… jeez, there’s also the current Southeast Division, but now with the awesome PIT/PHI rivalry… NYI/NJ will intensify… Quebec and Ottawa will heat up too. All awesome rivalry gold — oh and hey, and we haven’t even mentioned the original six!

 

Since this week is very similar to last week, as far as structure goes, I can work out the scheduling too. Here we go…

6 games against five in-divsion opponents = 30 games

2 games against thirty non-division opponents = 60 games

Well that was easy… other than the objection that the player’s union will have with 8 extra games on the schedule, we get the benefit of every team playing in every building. The shape that guys are in these days, they can handle 8 more games… plus the extra revenue  generated will find their way into those pockets anyhow. Another plus… MORE HOCKEY. Sold.

 

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

 

Until next Sunday!

— TF

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


 

NHL Realignment Project – Week 25

NHL Realignment Project - Week 25

Oh Six (Times Six)!

This week on the NHL Realignment Project we once again fool around with the idea that the Original Six deserve their own division/conference/whatever. Unlike last week where we had to contract six teams to get to an divisble-by-six (and still be an even number) to get this to work out in a manageable way, this week we’ve gone the other way… expanded to 36 teams (math still works, see?)

So our new 36-team NHL has two conferences, each made up of 3 divisions… Original Six, Gretzky, Dionne, Hull, Lemieux and Bossy. There’s a bit of a log-jam up in the top-right of the map… but keeping PIT and PHI together and NYI and NJ together is worth the spaghetti-look that we’ve created. Extra bonus, this week for Buffalo fans, you are no longer in a division name for a Hull.

Playoffs would be pretty similar to the current setup, except I’d qualify the top two teams in each division and then have two more next-best-records wildcard teams to round out each conferences 8 playoff qualifiers.

It’s been a while since I’ve referenced it, but for those of you out there ready to argue that there is no way the NHL can go to 36 teams, first, I’d say, “this week’s scenario is admittedly farcical” and if necessary, I’d then invoke the King of North America Defense.

 

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 25

NHL Realignment Map - Week 25

The Breakdown:

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

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

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

Bossy Division: Buffalo, Columbus, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Quebec

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

Hull Division: Dallas, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis

Gretzky Division: Calgary, Edmonton, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Winnipeg

Dionne Division: Anaheim, Colorado, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose

 

Gained teams:

Kansas City, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Quebec, Portland, Seattle

 

Lost teams:

none

 

The Benefits:

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

• Travel — Other than Winnipeg (sorry guys), nobody has an in-division rival more than one time-zone over.

• Rivalries —  Even though Winnipeg is kinda screwed on travel, they do get a whole heapin’ mess’o rivals to content with. The Alberta teams and Vancouver are all in-division, through in what will sure turn into an awesome rivalry in Seattle/Portland, and the Gretzky division will be amazing. Cali, Colorado and the two desert cities will be great too. Oh, but wait, there will be a great Missouri rivalry… oh and Dallas/Minnesota have history… jeez, there’s also the current Southeast Division, but now with the awesome PIT/PHI rivalry… NYI/NJ will intensify… Quebec and Ottawa will heat up too. All awesome rivalry gold — oh and hey, and we haven’t even mentioned the original six!

 

Too tired to think through scheduling scenarios, but with this many teams, I’m thinking that we probably wouldn’t be able to see every team both home and away each season. Perhaps, but like I said to tired to think it through. Other than that… I like this little fantasy. Hope you did too.

 

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

 

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 23

NHL Realignment Project - Week 23

Nationalism, Expanded

Week twenty-three in the NHL Realignment Project is a larger variation on the theme established last week:

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.

We’re going the the same “horizontal divisions” concept, but with four additional teams. The Islanders and Coyotes are back after being dropped last week, and Portland and Quebec City get teams too, bringing us to a 32-team NHL. We divvy up into four divisions of eight teams each… one of which is an all-Canadian affair.

The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 23

NHL Realignment Map - Week 23

 

The Breakdown:

Northern Conference

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

- Mikita Division: Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Minnesota, New Jersey, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Portland

Southern Conference

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

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

 

Gained teams:

Portland, Quebec

Lost teams:

none

The Benefits (lots of repetition from last week):

• 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 three 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 — All four of the divisions have coast-to-coast representation. So everyone is gonna have to travel a bunch.

• 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 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 ».