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.