Welcome to the fifth installment of my NHL Realignment series.
From the first time, recall that NHL realignment is on the horizon for the 2012-13 season.
The Winnipeg Jets are most certainly leaving the Southeast Division, and the dominoes will start to fall from there.
But it doesn't take a geographer to realize the Detroit Red Wings simply do not belong in the Southeast Division.
Any alignment needs the following four points to be considered:
- Travel Time
- Schedule balance
- Games outside of a team's time zone
- Games against traditional rivals
I will be posting slightly outside-the-box possibilities for NHL realignment. In some way, these all stretch the paradigm in some way.
In this edition we look to European Soccer Leagues for inspiration. The National Hockey League will be divided in two. On one hand we will have the Premier Hockey League, consisting of the elite teams in the league, and then the National Hockey League, which will have the rest.
For the purposes of this alignment, we will have 12 teams in the Premier Hockey League and 18 teams in the National Hockey League. Obviously, we could get this to be much bigger if we incorporated some American Hockey League teams, but for the purposes of this post we'll leave that alone.