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 ».

NHL Realignment Project – Week 15

NHL Realignment Project - Week 15

Triple Threat

Okay, last week we took things to the limit by having 44(!) teams, so this week we pull back. The number of the week is THREE. We’re scuttling the THREE teams that get the most chatter on the internets about being in trouble… The Islanders, The Coyotes and The Blue Jackets.

The thing with this plan is we now have 27 teams… an uneven number. That is true my mathematical mates, but it isn’t a prime number so we can still divide. This week’s plan calls for breaking the NHL into THREE divisions of 9 teams each… No conferences.

In my new NHL Realignment, the top 5 teams in each of the THREE divisions make the playoffs, and the team with the next best record qualifies for the playoffs as a wildcard. Division champs plus next best record are the #1 seeds in a 16-team playoff bracket. The four #1 seeds go through a “draft-and-position” process to build their respective quadrants of the bracket. Woot!

NHL Realignment Map - Week 15

NHL Realignment Map - Week 15


Gained teams:


Lost teams:

Columbus, Phoenix, New York (Islanders)


• Travel — Minnesota and Winnipeg won’t think so, but there is a better balance of travel than in the current NHL. The Wild and the Jets are playing the role that the Stars currently play as the “WTF is up with our travel” teams… but to be fair, they at least have each other as divisional rivals which isn’t that far to travel. No Eastern Time Zone teams have West Coast Conference rivals (hard to compare completely, since there are no more conferences), but the Red Wings would love this.

• Talent — Less teams (theoretically) mean better hockey. The rosters of the three eliminated teams get pilfered for their best talent, who in turn replace the dregs of the teams that are left. I’m of the mind that there is TONS of talent in this league and that this won’t be as pronounced an influence as proponents of contraction say it will be, but on the other hand, you can’t argue against the fact that A’s and B’s are better than D’s and F’s.


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


Until next week!

— TF

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