At SI, Stu Hackel looks at the identities each of the new divisions could develop starting this season.
Hackel notes that the Rangers division, the Metropolitan, is pretty much the old Patrick Division plus the Hurricanes and Blue Jackets and the Patrick Division was considered the most intense based on the bitter rivalries between each of the teams.
Those rivalries, as Hackel writes, have not faded.
Adam Rotter: Beyond the teams the Rangers came over from the Atlantic division with, each of the new teams in the division has their own direct storyline with the Rangers. The Rangers can Capitals play nearly every year in the playoffs, Columbus and the Rangers have made two big trades with each other and Carolina has the Staal brothers and the potential that Marc could join them down the line.
In The Chronicle Journal, a Thunder Bay newspaper, they spoke with many NHLers from the Thunder Bay area including the Staal brothers and Taylor Pyatt about the NHL’s new diviional alignment.
The Rangers new division will see Marc in direct competition with his brothers in Carolina, Eric and Jordan.
Marc was asked about realignment and said that it seems like it will be tougher to make the playoffs than it has been in the past.
The top three teams in each division make the playoffs while the teams in each conference with the best remaining records pick up the last two spots.
Taylor Pyatt said that he will enjoy the variety of playing each team in the league twice instead of playing the same teams over and over again and that it should lead to a fun season.
The article did not provide an update on the status of Marc’s eye.
4:10PM: Paul Grant, of ESPN.com, spoke with Bill Daly about the division names and Daly said that there was no perfect answer for the Metropolitan division but that at a certain point you need to pick a name and go with it.
Daly said that the idea of using historic players was considered but dismissed quickly because they feel it’s easier to keep the divisions with geographic names.
1:12PM: The NHL has released the names for the realigned divisions: Pacific and Central in the Western Conference and Metropolitan and Atlantic in the East.
The Rangers will play in the Metropolitan Division along with the Flyers, Islanders, Devils, Hurricanes, Capitals, Penguins, Blue Jackets.
The Atlantic Division will include the Bruins, Sabres, Red Wings, Panthers, Montreal, Senators, Tampa Bay and Toronto.
The top three teams in each division are all guaranteed a playoff spot. The final two playoff spots will go to the teams with the best remaining record in each conference.
In the Edmonton Journal, Jim Matheson writes that the NHL should look to some of it’s best players when considering the names for the new divisions that came about after realignment last season.
He thinks that the NHL should honor the four greatest players who ever played; Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux.
Matheson thinks that the division with the Oilers, Coyotes and Kings is perfect to be named for Gretzky, the former North East division which includes the Bruins would be named for Orr and the former Atlantic Division with the Rangers and Penguins would be named for Lemieux. While not ideal, he names the fourth division for Howe even though the Red Wings would be in the Orr division.
Gary Bettman has said that the NHL has decided on names for the divisions but wasn’t ready to release them yet.
The new division names are expected to be released by the NHL when the 2013-14 schedule comes out.
Starting this season, the Atlantic Division will expand and add the Hurricanes, Blue Jackets and Capitals.
Based on how the standings finished last season, the Rangers would have been one of the three teams guaranteed a playoff spot.
At ESPN.com, Scott Burnside writes that with realignment and the Red Wings joining the Eastern Conference, the toughest division in the league will be the former North East division which, besides the Red Wings, will add Tampa Bay and Florida.
Based on last season, the Northeast division would have taken five of the eight Eastern Conference playoff spots. The top three teams in each division are guaranteed a playoff spot and the remaining two spots are filled by the remaining teams with the best record.
Adam Rotter: It was already tough to make the playoffs when it was the top eight teams in the conference and it becomes tougher with the loss of one division and the addition of guaranteed spots and the two wild card spots.
Starting this coming season, the NHL will realign their divisions and the Rangers division will include the Penguins, Flyers, Devils, Islanders, Capitals, Blue Jackets and Hurricanes.
Via Sports Club Stats, the realigned standings for this division would be:
- Penguins (72 points)
- Capitals (57)
- Rangers (56)
- Islanders (55)
- Blue Jackets (55)
- Flyers (49)
- Devils (48)
- Hurricanes (42)
The top three teams in each division make the playoffs and the final two teams are the highest remaining point totals between the two divisions in each conference.
In the other Eastern Conference division, Montreal, Boston and Toronto all would have clinched playoff spots and Detroit and Ottawa (both with 56 points) would have taken the two remaining playoff spots.
The Islanders, who finished in eighth place in the East this year, would not have made the playoffs.
The core of the Rangers division next year will remain the same, Flyers, Islanders, Devils, Penguins, but will add Carolina, Washington and Columbus.
Based on the current point totals, the division standings would be:
- Pittsburgh (X) (38)
- Carolina (X) (31)
- New Jersey (X) (31)
- Rangers (28)
- Islanders (25)
- Flyers (25)
- Blue Jackets (25)
- Capitals (21)
X indicates guaranteed playoff spot.
Montreal, Boston and Ottawa would have the guaranteed playoff spots in the other division.
The two wild card spots would go to Toronto (31 points) and Detroit (29 points).
The Rangers (28 points) thought have two games in hand on Toronto, Detroit and New Jersey and Sports Club Stats lists them as having a 73.1% chance of making the playoffs under this format.
They think the Rangers would likely overtake New Jersey for the third spot in their division.