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NHL proposes realignment

Wednesday, 02.27.2013 / 8:52 AM ET / News
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NHL proposes realignment

The National Hockey League is proposing a new realignment plan that would see the league go from six divisions to four divisions and introduce a form of divisional playoffs instead of the current conference system in place for the Stanley Cup playoffs, according to a report by ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun.

The plan was detailed in a memo sent to the League's clubs Tuesday, according to LeBrun.

The plan needs approval from the National Hockey League Players' Association and the league's Board of Governors. If it passes, it would take effect for the 2013-14 regular season.

"We have been in discussions with the players' association for the past several weeks on the issue of realignment and we are trying to get to a solution that everybody can live with," deputy commissioner Bill Daly told NHL.com. "There are no perfect answers here, so we have to do the best we can in trying to adequately address a number of competing concerns. Once we get to a point where we have the union's go-ahead, we will present it to our Board of Governors for its consideration. We certainly hope to be in a position to announce something in the relatively near term."

Under the new plan, the conferences would be realigned with the Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets moving from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference. There would be no corresponding moves by Eastern Conference clubs, resulting in unbalanced-conference alignment that would see 16 teams in the Eastern Conference and 14 in the Western Conference.

The schedule matrix would see each team play teams in the other conference both home and away.

In the seven-team divisions, teams would play intraconference foes three times per season and five of the six intradivision foes five times a season. The sixth opponent within the division would be played four times. In the eight-team divisions, teams would play intraconference opponents three times and intradivision opponents either four or five times per season on a rotating basis.

Due to the unbalanced conferences, the league has proposed introducing a wild-card element to the Stanley Cup playoffs, according to LeBrun.

Under the proposed system, the top three teams in each of the four divisions would qualify for the postseason. The final four spots would go to the two teams in each conference with the next-best records. So, in theory, five teams from one division and just three from the other division in each respective conference could make the postseason.

CBC's Elliotte Friedman first broke many of the details of the potential realignment plan, including the composition of the divisions, Saturday.

The Atlantic and Central divisions would be in the East, while the Midwest and Pacific divisions would be in the West.

According to the memo, the Pacific Division would include the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks, while the Midwest Division would be the Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets.

The Central Division would be the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs. The reconfigured Atlantic Division would include the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 54 18 20 25 38
H. Zetterberg 55 10 28 5 38
T. Tatar 54 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 55 14 16 -1 30
P. Datsyuk 40 9 21 14 30
J. Abdelkader 55 14 15 -2 29
M. Green 47 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 41 5 11 6 16
D. DeKeyser 51 7 8 12 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 21 10 5 .933 1.94
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89