NHL Proposes New Realignment Plan

Love or Hate the proposal? Comment below.

Something that every Red Wings fans has desired: a schedule plan that decreases the amount of insane west coast trips the team embarks on every season. Most importantly, we will be seeing a true balanced schedule that the NBA has where every team will play a home-and-home against every team in the National Hockey League.

The NHL’s Board of Governors are meeting in Pebble Beach, Calif. to discuss realignment and other topics. We have covered this meeting a few times in recent weeks. While this isn’t a perfect plan that every team will love, it is a plan that had it’s benefits and drawbacks for every team. Still pending Gary Bettman’s approval, this format will go into effect next season.


Here are the proposed Yet-To-Be-Named Conferences:


  1. West Coast teams : Anaheim, Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver
  2.  Midwest teams: Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis, Winnipeg
  3. Mid-Atlantic teams: Carolina, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington
  4. East Coast teams: Boston, Buffalo, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Toronto

Some of the highlights:

  • Four conferences instead of two. Two teams will have eight teams while the other two have seven. They are based on region and geography.
  • Designed to alleviate travel concerns Western teams had where they crossed as many as three time zones. Teams such as Detroit and Columbus frequently had games in Los Angeles, San Jose and Vancouver starting as late as 10:30 p.m. Eastern. The Red Wings and Blue Jackets will venture to western Canada and the west coast twice a season versus four they currently have.
  • The schedule will also force every team to make a trip to California, Arizona, and western Canada. Something some Eastern teams do one trip per city every-other-year.
  • In the seven-team conferences, teams would play intra-conference six times (three and and three away).
  • In the eight-team conferences, teams would play each other five or six times on a rotating basis. Three teams play each other six times and the other four will square off five times. If you play a team six times one season, they will play them five times the following season.
  • Similar to the Pre-Bettman NHL, the first round will be intra-conference the first two rounds. With the division champion playing the fourth seed and the second seed hosting the third. The third round will consist of the conference champions with the two teams left playing for the Stanley Cup.
  • UPDATE AT 11:45 p.m. From Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie), “Four conference winners are seeded on total points, 1 vs 4, 2 vs 3, so an all-East or all-West final is possible.”

Before it reaches Bettman’s desk, two-thirds of the Board of Governors must approve the proposal.

One comment

  1. So it passed. And I couldn’t be happier. I love the way the playoffs are going to take place. What I’m happy about as well is playing every team home and home. It was crazy that often we were unable to see the great players of the game visit our home ice. This will help smaller market teams with the guarantee they will get to see Ovie, Crosby, Datsyuk and other greats every year. Personally I plan on buying more tickets. I’m sad to lose some of our newer rivalries but with the new format I think those rivals will be replaced in short order. The only downside is if we get tired of seeing the same opponents each year but that may make us crave to beat them more. The great thing about the balancing is also getting your best teams in the playoffs. Its nice to know that every team that makes the playoffs in their new conference is playing the same schedules as other people in there conference. No longer will a team get in because they “play in a weak conference”
    There are still plenty of questions out there (like why are two Florida teams in a conference with all Canadian/far north teams). But most teams agree with the new plan and it is opening a new exciting time for hockey.

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