“After discussions with the executive board, the NHLPA has given consent to realignment, to be re-evaluated following the 2014-15 season,” said NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.
The league has proposed a somewhat lopsided yet perfectly even schematic for realigning the NHL, offering up an Eastern Conference with 16 teams and a Western Conference with 14. There will be four divisions. The plan is hopefully effective in the 2013-2014 season and will need a board of governors vote first.
The caveat for the players, who’ve been somewhat vocal about having a lopsided playoff pool to play against, is the re-evaluation slated to follow 2014-2015. If things aren’t working out and if the membership raises enough problems with the realignment, it’ll be back to the drawing board.
“The NHL Players’ Association confirmed to us today that it has consented to a revised Plan for Realignment, effective for the 2013-14 season. Our next step will be to bring the proposed Plan for Realignment to the NHL Board of Governors for its consideration. We will update the status of the process as future developments warrant,” said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly.
As far as the playoffs go, the top three teams in each of the four divisions will make the post-season. There will also be four wild card clubs, which will be the best two non-division winners in each conference.
So how does realignment look? Take a peek:
Pacific Division: Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks
Mid-West Division: Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets
Central Division: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs
Atlantic Division: Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals