NHL Realignment

I thought that I would jump in on the talk of the possible realignment in the National Hockey League (NHL).  Of contention is the move before the start of the 2011-2012 season of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg to become the new Winnipeg Jets.  The Thrashers had played in the Southwest Division of the Eastern Conference, meaning that the Jets have a lot of travelling to compete against other Divisional and Conference competitors.

The issue of realigning the NHL due to this move has raised questions about teams that could easily play in the Eastern Conference instead of the Western Conference, namely the Detroit Red Wings and the Columbes Blue Jackets.  The Blue Jackets are an obvious contender, while Detroit can certainly compete with the Chicago Blackhawks in the Central Division of the Western Conference as they do now.

The current structure of the NHL is as follows:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

WESTERN CONFERENCE

ATLANTIC

CENTRAL

New Jersey Devils Chicago Blackhawks
New York Islanders Columbus Blue Jackets
New York Rangers Detroit Red Wings
Philadelphia Flyers Nashville Predators
Pittsburgh Penguins St. Louis Blues

NORTHEAST

NORTHWEST

Boston Bruins Calgary Flames
Buffalo Sabres Colorado Avalanche
Montreal Canadiens Edmonton Oilers
Ottawa Senators Minnesota Wild
Toronto Maple Leafs Vancouver Canucks

SOUTHEAST

PACIFIC

Carolina Hurricanes Anaheim Ducks
Florida Panthers Dallas Stars
Tampa Bay Lightning Los Angeles Kings
Washington Capitals Phoenix Coyotes
Winnipeg Jets San Jose Sharks

The simpliest solution, which I contend is the best option, would be for the Winnipeg Jets to move from the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference to the Central Division of the Western Conference.  The Columbus Blue Jackets, located in central Ohio, would move in the exact opposite direction, and thus would become a member of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference.

As such, the new alignment would be as follows:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

WESTERN CONFERENCE

ATLANTIC

CENTRAL

New Jersey Devils Chicago Blackhawks
New York Islanders Detroit Red Wings
New York Rangers Nashville Predators
Philadelphia Flyers St. Louis Blues
Pittsburgh Penguins Winnipeg Jets

NORTHEAST

NORTHWEST

Boston Bruins Calgary Flames
Buffalo Sabres Colorado Avalanche
Montreal Canadiens Edmonton Oilers
Ottawa Senators Minnesota Wild
Toronto Maple Leafs Vancouver Canucks

SOUTHEAST

PACIFIC

Carolina Hurricanes Anaheim Ducks
Columbus Blue Jackets Dallas Stars
Florida Panthers Los Angeles Kings
Tampa Bay Lightning Phoenix Coyotes
Washington Capitals San Jose Sharks

This realignment is simple, but it would accomplish what is required – the Jets would become a member of the Western Conference where they clearly belong, but would also keep 15 teams in each conference.  The balance gives teams a more equal opportunity to reach the playoffs.

As for the playoffs, I believe that the current number of eight teams per conference should remain as is.  I would only make one change.  The division leaders currently are automatically in the playoffs and ranked number 1-3.  The number 4-8 positions are then based on the total points.  The change I would make is that the divisional leaders would be guaranteed a playoff spot, but would only be guaranteed the 6th, 7th, and 8th playoff spots.  To rank higher, a team would have to achieve enough points to do so.

Under this scenario, if a divisional leader – let’s say Carolina Hurricanes – they would be allowed to see post season action even if they finish 9th overall in the Eastern Conference.  Although this scenario is unlikely as a divisional leader is likely to be seeded in the top eight positions, a team in a weak conference cannot be automatically given the 3rd seed simply because it is a divisional leader.

So, let’s welcome the Jets to the Western Conference and the Blue Jackets to the Eastern Conference.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in National Hockey League, Sports and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to NHL Realignment

  1. Pingback: NHL’s New Alignment | Edward Brain's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s