It might be the most talked about subject over the next year in the NHL—division realignment.
Many ideas have been thrown around. Some think the same division structure should be kept with the Detroit Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets or Nashville Predators moving east, while others think a North/South Conference structure is better suited for the NHL.
The current structure of the NHL's divisions features six, five team divisions. The teams play six games against their division rivals, four games against conference rivals and 18 games against teams of the opposite conference.
I believe the best option for the NHL is to go from six divisions down to four divisions. Two having eight teams, and two having seven. With that said, here are the new NHL division with this proposed realignment.
While some might see these three teams as a loss for Pittsburgh, their rivalry with Philadelphia will still be maintained, and they will also be grouped into the same division as the Washington Capitals, which is sure to please many.
The Flyers are practically in the same exact situation as the Penguins here. They will lose all division rivals except Pittsburgh, but will also gain the advantage of a division rivalry with the Washington Capitals.
The Washington Capitals are a team that would grossly benefit from this realignment. Washington is currently housed in a division that doesn't necessarily have another big-money team. The closest they can get to that is the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Via the proposed re-alignment, Washington would still have their rivalry with Tampa Bay, but would also pick up Pittsburgh and Philadelphia as division rivals.
Carolina is another team that will benefit from this realignment, as they gain division rivals in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, while they still get to keep the Washington Capitals in their division.
The Florida Panthers are a team that could very well be on the move themselves, but as the current teams stand, Florida would land in the Eastern Division.
And if there ever were a chance to save them, adding big-money teams in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to their division should be adequate.
How does this realignment not benefit the Tampa Bay Lightning? Three of the NHL's biggest stars, Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos, all in the same division.
Like every other team, the addition of Pittsburgh and Philly as division rivals should be a boost for the Lightning.
Think it's a typo? Think again. In the interest of not breaking up rivalries, the Nashville Predators are the best option to make a big move.
Losing Detroit and Chicago as division rivals will hurt, but the Predators shouldn't stumble too far considering they would add Pittsburgh, Philly, Washington and Tampa Bay.
Buffalo might be one of the most improved teams in the NHL, and they'll certainly love adding fellow New York teams in the division realignment.
The Senators need all the help they can get, and should be willing to try anything. Maybe a division realignment will help.
No room to complain about this realignment for Toronto. The richest team in the league would add the second richest to their division in New York.
Money + Money = Money.
Much like the Ottawa Senators, just moreso off the ice, the New York Islanders need a serious spark. If adding three Original six teams to their division doesn't help, I don't know what can.
They might not be keen on the idea of losing Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, but if adding Toronto, Montreal and Boston as division rivals isn't an adequate replacement for the Devils, nothing is.
Remember when we said that Money + Money = Money? Add a fourth Original six team to the Northeast Division and my new question is what's Money to the fourth power?
I hate math, so the best I can say is that it's a whole lot of damn money.
Yes, the San Jose Sharks are the first of four Pacific teams that will help make up the new Western Division.
San Jose will keep all major rivals and maybe add a new one.
QUACK! QUACK! QUA— Wait... New NHL. We're supposed to forget that movie existed.
Regardless, the Ducks should be happy about this realignment, as they have the possibility of adding new division rivals.
Whoops... Wrong Picture.
The first of four Northwest teams in the new Western Division, the Colorado Avalanche would have a tremendous opportunity to build rivalries with the California teams.
Let's be honest. The runners up in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals should be in the Pacific division anyways, but with this realignment, they'll have the opportunity to keep most Northwest Rivals while adding Pacific Rivals.
If Calgary is thinking about trading their captain, Jarome Iginla, to a Pacific team, they might want to think again. That team could become a division rival.
Yes, the Los Angeles Kings will be in the Western Division. The question is, will Drew Doughty be in the Western Division?
Chicago is one of four current Central teams that will help make up the new Central division.
While keeping the Detroit Red Wings as their top rival, Chicago will have the opportunity to add the Minnesota Wild as a rival.
What's not to like about this move for the Wild? Sure, they might play in a tougher division, but they add rivalries with Detroit, Chicago and, maybe most importantly, Dallas.
Watch a game between the Stars and the Blues and I can almost guarantee you'll see a fight. With both teams looking to be sold, becoming division rivals could be beneficial to both of them.
Adding Detroit and Chicago as rivals certainly wont hurt the Stars either.
St. Louis shouldn't lose a step with this realignment, as they'll keep big-money teams in the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks, and will add the Dallas Stars in their division as potential rivals.
Like the St. Louis Blues, Columbus shouldn't have a problem with this realignment, as they will be able to keep the Red Wings and Blackhawks in their division, and they will have an opportunity to make new rivals.
No matter what, the Jets are going to find it difficult at first to develop new rivalries. Lucky for them they've already sold out most of their building for the next five years.
The excitement for a new team alone should be able to carry Winnipeg long enough until they can build new rivalries. Minnesota and Winnipeg alone in the same division is an exciting possibility.
Yes, the final team, the Detroit Red Wings, will stay where they are. The Red Wings have the opportunity of keeping the Chicago Blackhawks as their division rival, while adding Minnesota and Dallas as potential foes.
Sure, stars like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg could grossly benefit from Eastern exposure, but the Red Wings need to stay in the Central, and more important, with Chicago.
Jordan Matthews is fan of the NHL and the Detroit Red Wings. For more coverage you can become a fan of him on Bleacher Report or follow him on Twitter by clicking the follow button below.