NHL Realignment Project – Week 35

NHL Realignment Project - Week 35

Merge and Move

This week, we’re harkening back to a year in NHL history where it wasn’t about expansion and relocation, but something else… a merger. In 1976 the Cleveland Barons merged with the Minnesota North Stars, so we’re running with that precedence and doing a little house cleaning. In a cold, calculated move (based purely on numbers), we’re taking the four teams with the worst attendance this year and merging them into two new teams AND to make it even more fun, we’re moving the two resultant teams to two cities that lost their teams. OBVIOUSLY this never would happen, but I’m still in a farcical mood, avoiding reality-based realignment scenarios at least for another week. Let’s check out the fun…


The Map:

NHL Realignment Map - Week 35

NHL Realignment Map - Week 35


The Breakdown:

I’m actually gonna go back to the short-lived four-conference setup.

Pacific Conference Central Conference Northeast Conference Atlantic Conference
1. Anaheim Ducks 1. Chicago Blackhawks 1. Boston Bruins 1. Carolina Hurricanes
2. Calgary Flames 2. Detroit Red Wings 2. Buffalo Sabres 2. Florida Panthers
3. Colorado Avalanche 3. Kansas City Scouts 3. Montreal Canadiens 3. Hartford Whalers
4. Edmonton Oilers 4. Minnesota Wild 4. Ottawa Senators 4. New Jersey Devils
5. Los Angeles Kings 5. Nashville Predators 5. Philadelphia Flyers 5. New York Rangers
6. San Jose Sharks 6. St. Louis Blues 6. Pittsburgh Penguins 6. Tampa Bay Lightning
7. Vancouver Canucks 7. Winnipeg Jets 7. Toronto Maple Leafs 7. Washington Capitals


Gained teams:

Kansas City, Hartford


Lost teams:

Phoenix, Dallas, New York Islanders, Columbus


The Benefits:

• Travel — No team has conference-mates more than a single time zone over. And while the Pacific and Atlantic Conferences have pretty big north-south trips as part of their make-up, anyone who has traveled understands that that is much less taxing than east-west travel.

• TV Times — Kind of an added bonus from the previous entry, the lack of time zone insanity, keeps start times for most games within reasonable hours. Meaning better ratings and better exposure to/for young fans

• REVENGE — The folks in Hartford and Kansas City can do some happy-flips for getting their teams back. It worked for Winnipeg, right?

• Rivalries —  CHI/DET get to stay together. NY/NJ, PIT/PHI, EDM/CGY too. And KC/STL is reborn! Sorry we couldn’t get Hartford together with Boston, but they do get to jostle with their other traditional rival, NYR.

• Equity —  The conferences are all the same size… seven teams, so no whining.


(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 ».