NHL Realignment: Details Emerge

More details are emerging about the proposed realignment scenario the NHL owners are proposing. Here are a few details:


For the Eastern Conference – Atlantic and Central Divisions:

  • 28 games vs. Western Conference (one home, one away)
  • 24 games vs. the other Eastern Conference division
  • 30 games vs. own division (vs. two teams five times, and four times against the other five teams)

For the Western Conference – Midwest and Pacific Divisions:

  • 32 games vs. Eastern Conference (one home, one away vs. every team)
  • 21 games vs. the other Western Conference division
  • 29 games vs. own division (four games vs each team)


The top three teams in each division are automatic qualifiers for the postseason, and will be seeded 1, 2 and 3. However, the 4 seeds will be given to the next two teams with the highest point total in the conference (the club with fewer points would play the top overall seed in the conference).

The new plan would keep the playoffs inside each conference, and the Stanley Cup Final would remain between the champions of the East and West (as is the case today). Under the old plan, which featured four stand-alone conferences, there was potential for a cross-continent playoffs series (Vancouver vs. Florida). This keeps the games, for the most part, in the appropriate time zones and would, in theory, help build/retain most rivalries.

Of course, they don’t care that the Blackhawks are the only Original Six team in the Western Conference.

Future Changes

The league-wide memo also indicates the NHL and the NHLPA will meet after the 2015-16 season, at which time they will evaluate the success of the realignment. There is also room for a discussion “earlier [than 2016] if circumstances warrant.”

This plan still has to be agreed upon by the Board of Governors and the NHLPA, but could be in play for next season.

15 thoughts on “NHL Realignment: Details Emerge

  1. The math for intradivsion games does not work in the WC. 29 games with 7 teams? It will not work. For instance the Hawks play everyone 5 times but Nashville who they play 4. That gets you to 29 for the Hawks, and 29 for Nashville. St Louis plays everyone but Minnesota 5 times. That gets both to 29 games. Winnipeg plays everyone but Dallas 5 times that gets them both to 29 games. But what about Colorado, how do they get to 29 games?

  2. The storyline of the Hawks being the only original six team left in the West doesnt bother me. With the Wings moving to the East, a rivalry dies and if not is put on life support. The rivalries are great, but its all about big business nowadays. With the development of the Vancouver rivalry I feel as though the Wings are almost a secondary now. I like the Midwest minus the fact the Wings are gone.

  3. The only consolation is that at least we’ll see the other Original 6 teams twice. But not much of one.

  4. It looks that all teams besides Blackhawks in the Midwest division are a trap – defense first mentality, so most of the games would be a hard to watch… Let’s make 1 division of Original Six teams and the rest of the garbage doesn’t matter ;-)

  5. @Brian – my understanding is that there will be teams that see more/less of each other each year in the Western Conference, but that will be rotated. So if the Hawks see the Kings more than the Sharks one year, they’ll see the Sharks more than the Kings the next & so on.

  6. Just semantics but it’s funny that the division with all the Central time zone teams is not called “Central.” That name is reserved for a division with all teams in eastern time. :)

  7. At the moment, the teams that are proposed for the Midwest conf, are indeed not very dynamic in the way they play. Our games with St Louis will remain spirited, but the other teams in there don’t inspire in the way of rivalries. I would miss playing Detroit more often, but the upgrade is that we will get home and away with original six teams. That should be tweaked a step further and make original six games home and away on weekends. It would make for some excellent road trip possibilities. This to me is kind of a no brainer and the fans would love it.

    Meanwhile, we have a tough game ahead of us tonight. Should be a rock em sock em affair. Everyone wants a piece of us with this brilliant start. To beat the Blues tonight out on the road would be a real feather in our caps. Lets Go Hawks!

  8. (The game is tomorrow, Phil)

    Love everything about this besides losing Detroit as a rival, however, you’d have to believe new rivalries would start.

  9. How are Boston and Florida, which are located on the Atlantic seaboard or close to in, in the Central while Pittsburgh and Columbus are nowhere near an Ocean, in the Atlantic?

  10. Thanks JS. Sorry about the date gaffe. I realized after I posted that reading about the game, and some new injuries to St Louis players in practice made me think somehow that today was Thursday. This happens as we get older…

  11. I would suggest they get the situation all cleared up in Phoenix before they work on realignment. If the Yotes are staying in Glendale, the suggested realignment makes good business sense. However, it they end up moving to Quebec, it would throw a bit of a monkey wrench into all this planning.

  12. I would have liked to have seen the playoffs structured differently. I liked the “Under the old plan, which featured four stand-alone conferences, there was potential for a cross-continent playoffs series (Vancouver vs. Florida).”

    I really felt like that would be great for new rivals to form, based on record and playoff success. It also would truely provide the best champ because their wouldn’t be conf limitations. Wouldnt it be great to have a Montreal V Hawks playoff rival? Or a New York vs Chicago match up in a conf final? The Hawks seem to have drawn a good division but it lacks sizzle. I for one hate the “forced Chicago/Minn rival because the Wild(horrible logo) are NOT the Hawks rival the North Stars were, who are now the Dallas Star who aren’t,…..now Im confused??!? Go Hawks!

  13. Under this plan I’d like to see Colorado in Pacific, Nashville go east, Det stay and Toronto also be added to Midwest or “Norris Division”.

    Along those lines, will we ever see Toronto back in the “Norris” or back in our division again?

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