NHL Realignment: How It Could Impact Each NHL Team

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NHL Realignment: How It Could Impact Each NHL Team

For NHL fans, the three months from July to October are some of the longest of the year.

The parades have concluded, the draft is finished, and any major free agent moves have already happened.

However, this offseason was spiced up when ESPN broke the news of Commissioner Bettman’s plans to realign the league following the 2011-12 season.

As we learned that the Atlanta Thrashers would become the Winnipeg Jets, it was clear that change would be coming to the NHL. Many speculated on which Western Conference team would be headed East.

However, it appears that rather than just swapping two teams, Bettman is poised to make a much more dramatic change.

In ESPN’s report, it was stated that Bettman plans on moving from six divisions to four, though it appears he will retain the current East/West format for the conferences.

This adjustment would shake up the first round of the playoffs as well, as Bettman wants to see a divisional matchup for the opening series. 

This is how I see the Divisions playing out:

Western Conference

Pacific Division: Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Phoenix Coyotes and  the Colorado Avalanche.

Midwest Division: Dallas Stars, Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis BluesChicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators and the Columbus Blue Jackets.                   

Eastern Conference

Northeast Division: Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings.

Atlantic Division: Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders and the Boston Bruins.

Assuming things go as discussed above, let’s look at how each team would be affected moving forward.

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