The NHL Board of Governors has approved realignment that will go into place next season.
The league will stay in two conferences and have two divisions within each conference.
There will be 14 teams in the Western Conference and 16 teams in the Eastern Conference.
- The top three teams in each division make the playoffs (6 of 8 conference teams)
- The remaining two spots (wild cards) will be awarded to the teams with the highest point totals in the conference, regardless of division.
- The division winner with the most points in the conference will be matched against the wild-card team with the lowest number of points; the division winner with the second-most points in the conference will play the wild-card team with the second fewest points.
- It is possible for one division to have five teams and the other to have three teams make the playoffs.
The wild card spots will be based on points as well and the division winner with the most points in each conference will face the wild card team with the fewest points. The other division winner will play the other wild card team.
- Permanent names will be announced but the NHL is currently using A,B,C,D as names for the divisions.
- A: Ducks, Flames, Oilers, Kings, Coyotes, Sharks and Canucks
- B: Blackhawks, Avs, Stars, Wild, Predators, Blues and Jets
- C: Bruins, Red Wings, Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Sabres, Panthers, Senators and Lightning
- D: Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Penguins, Flyers, Capitals, Hurricanes and Blue Jackets
Eastern Conference Schedule:
- 30 divisional games (5 games vs. 2 teams and 4 games vs. 5 teams. Teams are rotated every year)
- 24 conference games (3 games vs each team.
- 28 non-conference games (1 home/1 away vs the 14 Western Conference teams)
The NHLPA announced last week that realignment will be re-evaluated after the 2014-15 season.
According to Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press, the NHL board of governors will vote tomorrow, via fax, on realignment.
Laweless says that the Atlantic Division and Pacific Division will keep their names, but the second Western Conference division will be called the Central and the other Eastern Conference division will have a new name.
Last week the NHLPA gave their consent to realignment.
The Rangers division will feature the Islanders, Devils, Penguins, Flyers, Capitals, Blue Jackets and Hurricanes.
The NHLPA has given it’s consent to go forward with the NHL proposed realignment.
The NHL will stay in two conferences, East and West, but break into two divisions per conference starting next season.
The Rangers division will include the Islanders, Penguins, Flyers, Devils, Hurricanes, Capitals and Blue Jackets.
Donald Fehr said in a statement that the players will re-evaluate realignment after the 2014-15 season.
The Eastern conference will have 16 teams and the West will have 14.
The top three teams in each division will have a playoff spot while the final two playoff spots will go to the teams with the best remaining records in the conference, so one division could have five teams and the other would have three teams.
The playoffs are divisional play for the first two rounds and the winners of each division play each other in the conference finals.
THIS SECTION has all the info on realignment.
The proposed realignment for the NHL would have the Rangers stay with their Atlantic Division rivals but also add Columbus, Washington and Carolina.
At ESPNNY, Martin Biron and Brad Richards were asked about realignment and both said that not much changes for the Rangers and that being where the Rangers are, the travel is pretty easy.
The reported schedule break down would include five games each against two teams in the Rangers division and they would play the other four teams in the division four times each.
12:03PM: Kypreos says that the Players will have the chance to re-open the realignment discussion if/when the NHL relocates or expands.
11:55AM: According to Nick Kypreos, the NHL and NHLPA will soon announce that a deal for realignment will soon be announced.
THIS SECTION is all about realignment.
3:32PM: Elliotte Friedman writes at CBC that the NHL and NHLPA will meet after the 2016 season to discuss if this realignment plan is working out. He adds that the clause in the NHL memo suggesting that also says that the two sides could meet sooner if “circumstances warrant.”
That would allow the NHL and NHLPA to alter some things if there is expansion or relocation.
Friedman also notes that teams, like the Rangers with eight teams in their division, will play two teams in their own division FIVE times and the other five teams in the division will be played FOUR times to equal 30 games.
1:54PM: At ESPN.com, Pierre LeBrun obtained a document that has the NHL’s plans for realignment.
LeBrun says that the NHL will continue to have an Eastern and Western Conference, but only have two divisions instead of three.
Those divisions would be the Atlantic and Central in the East and the Mid-West and Pacific in the West.
LeBrun says that the playoffs would be divisionally based instead of conference based as they currently are, “The division winner with the most regular-season points will play the lowest-seeded wild-card team in the first round, with the other division winner playing the other wild-card team.”
The wild card spots in each conference would go to the teams with the best records that didn’t make the playoffs, so one division could have five teams make the playoffs while the other division would only have three.
For the Rangers, their division would include the Islanders Devils, Flyers, Penguins, Capitals, Hurricanes and Blue Jackets.
Bob McKenzie says that one schedule plan would see each team visit every other team team.
The schedule would break down as
- 28 games (2 games each vs the 14 Western Conference Teams)
- 24 games (3 games against the 8 teams in the other Eastern division)
- 30 games against your own division.
On TSN, Bob McKenzie provided an update on the proposed realignment plan from the weekend.
He says that, while nothing is final, the playoffs will not be expanded and 16 teams will make it.
One thing that would change is how the playoff teams are determined.
McKenzie says that three teams from each conference will be guaranteed a playoff spot (12) while the final four spots will be wild card spots based on total points.
In last year’s proposal, the top four teams from each conference would make the playoffs