31-team NHL

Hi all. Here’s a real quickly put together map of what the “New NHL” will likely look like. I don’t foresee the league bothering with realignment yet until they get to 32 teams (and hopefully incorporating my four-conference plan). For now Las Vegas is just added to the current 7-team Pacific. Also in case you can’t squint enough to see, the logo I threw together for the “Las Vegas Black Knights” is a quick construct of letters found in, or inspired by the ol’ classic Bicycle Cards logo.

Here it is bigger: Las-Vegas-Black-Knights-Logo

Okay, here’s the map:

NHL Las Vegas Map

Basically, the same old map I’ve been doing for a while with a little bit of flair (and the new Florida Panthers logo).

NHL Las Vegas is a reality… next up is landing on a nickname for the franchise and seeing if indeed, the league will stick with the current alignment (plus Vegas in the Pacific), or if they’ll opt for realignment and mix things up… I hope they go with something like my four-conference alignment plan. Time will tell, but for now, we’ve got a 31-team league and a new and interesting market in the mix. Good luck, Las Vegas!

Feel free to tweet/facebook/whatever this out to others.


— Tom

Quebec City and Las Vegas

With the news coming down that only two cities actually ponied up the $10M to apply for expansion, we have to look at the very real possibility that the perceived “Westward Expansion” ain’t happening. That said, I threw together a quick map that I shared on twitter (feel free to follow me @NHLMaps), but neglected to post here. Below is that map. I’m actually pulling together some thoughts on a real solid argument for the four standalone conferences you see in this map and will post that soon(ish… newborns and blogs aren’t a good pairing it turns out).

Until then, enjoy this map:


NHL Realignment Project – Week 36

NHL Realignment Project - Week 36

Getting Vertical, Eh!

Only a day late this week! Getting better.

So this week we’re not quite as farcical as in the past few weeks, but haven’t completely re-entered the world of “reality-based” realignment either. This week’s theme is all about going Canadian. By relocating some teams and re-jiggering the divisional alignments, we’ve been able to get at least one Canadian team in each division. Let’s have a look at how this plays out.


The Map (Complete with goofball division names based on landmarks found at the border):

NHL Realignment Map - Week 36
NHL Realignment Map – Week 36

The Breakdown:

We’re going with the current 2 conferences of 3 divisions each format. The conferences are named for Gretzky and Orr while the division names are a little more fun—they are named for landmarks found at the borders, more-or-less where one might cross to visit the Canadian team(s) in your division… well, if the boys weren’t crossing tens-of-thousands of feet overhead in first-class luxury. This includes border straddling bridges, airports, monuments, etc. Obviously this would never fly, but whatever. Its fun.

The Wayne Douglas Gretzky Conference
Peace Arch Chief Mountain Piney Pinecreek
Anaheim Ducks Calgary Flames Chicago Blackhawks
Los Angeles Kings Colorado Avalanche Dallas Stars
San Jose Sharks Edmonton Oilers Minnesota Wild
Seattle Metropolitans Las Vegas Scorpions St. Louis Blues
Vancouver Canucks Utah Coyotes Winnipeg Jets
The Robert Gordon Orr Conference
Ambassador Thousand Islands Blackpool
Detroit Red Wings Buffalo Sabres Boston Bruins
Florida Panthers Carolina Hurricanes Montreal Canadiens
Nashville Predators Ottawa Senators New Jersey Devils
Tampa Bay Lightning Pittsburgh Penguins New York Rangers
Toronto Maple Leafs Philadelphia Flyers Washington Capitals

Gained Teams:

Seattle, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas


Lost Teams:

Phoenix, Long Island, Columbus


The Benefits:

• Equality — Every team has to travel to Canada for divisional games (Las Vegas, Colorado and Utah need to do it a little more often… but I wasn’t about to break up the Alberta rivalry). Every division is stretched vertically (the two easternmost a little less, but still somewhat stretchy), so that is reasonably equal as well. All this means that nobody can whine about “Our travel leaves us as a massive disadvantage”. Even previously all alone Colorado gets a fairly near neighbor in the new Salt Lake City franchise.

• Travel — North-South is the way. Divisional games may necessitate long trips, but again, staying within one time-zone makes all the difference for player fatigue and for TV ratings.

• Rivalries —  Though we lose CHI/DET, we do get TOR/DET… not bad. The NYR/NJD, the Alberta teams, Pennsylvania teams, and BOS/MTL all stay together too, so check that off your list. All apologies to fans who live for the BUF/TOR games, but somebody has to sacrifice for the good of the league, right?



Divisional Games: 3 home & 3 away vs. 4 teams = 24 games

Non-Divisional Games: 1 home & 1 away vs. 25 teams = 50 games

One additional home-and-away series against a conference opponent from each of the two divisions not your own (a five-year cycle that rotates through the conference) = 4 games

TOTAL = 78 games (bonus: we get to the playoffs quicker)



Same as current format.

(H/T to oilersnation.com for the original map)


Don’t forget to share our lil’ project with your hockey fan friends. And, as always, thanks for reading. Until next Sunday!

— TF

Make sure to check out the entire NHL Realignment Project ».