NHL Realignment Project – Week 7

NHL Realignment Project — Week Seven

Week 7 – Bigger is Better

Busy work week delayed this week’s entry, but here it is. This week, we go all kinds of crazy. We throw caution to the wind and make the NHL the biggest league in North American professional sports — 36 teams!

Florida’s unbelievable movement on the first day of free-agency has inspired me to remove them (for now) from being on the list of teams that gets relocated pretty much every week. In fact, the only team that got relocated this week was the Phoenix Coyotes (poor, Glendale).

NHL Realignment Map - Week 7

NHL Realignment Map - Week Seven

Gained teams:

Houston, Seattle, Portland, Quebec City, Hamilton, Kansas City, Las Vegas

Lost teams:



• We’re the biggest! — Niche sport, my ass! This NHL is bigger than the NFL… four teams bigger. People will argue about talent levels, attendance numbers, blah, blah, blah… but again refer to my King of North America Defense. This is totally a fantasy world… but oh what a fun one it’d be.

• Somewhat less travel — It’s not as buttoned-up as last week’s effort, but it’s still pretty good. Divisional games for teams in the Hull Division would always be Central Time Zone accept for when Colorado is involved. Gretzky Divisions teams never go to the Central Time Zone for divisional games, just Pacific and Mountain Time Zones. Both divisions of the Eastern Conference are entirely within the Eastern Time Zone. Much better than now (for almost everyone)… sorry, Avalanche.

• Detroit and Columbus outta the West — Same as last week… Wings and Blue Jackets finally get their  wish.

• Canadian Teams Galore — Hamilton and Quebec (re)join the NHL, bringing the number of Canadian teams up to nine.

• Better Geographic Distribution — By adding four teams to the West vs. two teams for the East, we have a little more balanced league, geographically speaking. Nice little clusters of cities start to emerge allowing for lots of outta-town road trips to see your team play. Portland/Seattle/Vancouver… Edmonton/Calgary… San Jose/Las Vegas/LA/Anaheim… Dallas/Houston… KC/St. Louis… pretty much everyone in the Northeastern US and Eastern Canada.

(h/t to oilersnation.com for the original map)

See you next week!

— TF




NHL Realignment Project – Week 4

NHL Realignment Project — Week Four

Week 4 – The Devil You Say!

All apologies to Kevin Smith, but this week, the biggest victims are the New Jersey Devils. The Devils have underachieved in attendance forever, and there are just too many teams in the Greater NYC area. In this make believe world, I could just has easily taken the axe to the Islanders, but let’s say they’ve just signed an agreement to move to the new arena in Brooklyn, so they stay.

I’m sure in a future installment, I’ll move the four-time champs instead of the three time champs.

Anyhoo, I’ll be sticking with the 30-team (with 9 in Canada) set up for this week again. Unlike last week, we’ve kept the sunny states in the mix, though. And GASP… Phoenix has kept their team!

There’s been a little bit of a change in my homage division names. This week, Orr is out and Richard is in, plus there are more divisions, so we’ve added Lemieux and Dionne.

NHL Realignment Map - Week 4

NHL Realignment Map - Week Four


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NHL Realignment Project – Week 3

NHL Realignment Project — Week Three

Week 3 – Damn, that’s Cold

Okay, I’m going a bit radical this week. This one is for all those anti-southern city folks.

NOTE: I am not one of the anti-southern city peeps. I live in Texas, after all.

So basically, with this plan, we’ve decided that the NHL hockey is a purely niche sport that has no place in the warmer climates where there isn’t a culture of hockey, or at least a cold enough winter to cultivate one. Niche sport means niche salaries, so some of the smaller market teams could survive with a slightly lower salary cap. My completely arbitrary line of demarcation (other than the fact it is used as a border for quite a few states) is the 37th parallel north. Four former champs (Stars, Hurricanes, Lightning, Ducks) get bounced, not to mention another runner-up (Kings). Damn, that’s cold. Oh well.

Sticking with the current 30-team makeup… just relocating current further north. Also sticking with Week Two’s division names.

NHL Realignment Map - Week 3

NHL Realignment Project — Week Three

Gained teams:

Quebec City, Portland, Sacramento, Kansas City, Seattle, Indiana, Salt Lake, Hamilton

Lost teams:

Dallas, Tampa Bay, Florida, Nashville, Carolina, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Anaheim


Honestly, not all that much. That being said, here we go:

• Easier support for/from youth leagues. — With longer winters (a.k.a. less outdoor sport competition), youth hockey leagues and grassroots interest in the sport can thrive more than in the South.

• More Canadian teams — Hamilton and Quebec City join the league bringing the home of hockey up to 9 teams.

• Interesting(?) new rivalries — Sacramento/San Jose, Portland/Seattle, Seattle/Vancouver, KC/St. Louis, Toronto/Hamilton, Quebec City/Montreal, Salt Lake/Colorado (admittedly inter-divisional)

• More balanced East/West — Decent split geographically, allowing for the Wings and Blue Jackets to be Eastern Time Zone teams in the Eastern Conference. Indiana is (at least a tiny portion) partially in the Central Time Zone… so that’s my excuse for the team in Indianapolis.

Fear not, Texas/Florida/Carolina/SoCal/Tennessee/Arizona folks… a change this drastic can never happen. There are just too many people and money south of the 37th. But don’t get too cozy, Phoenix and Miami, there’s a really good chance you’ll be losing your teams in the next 1-3 years. D’oh! (h/t to oilersnation.com for the original map)

Until next week!

— TF