The NHL announced its re-alignment some time ago. Friday the league announced the new names for the four new divisions. They are the Pacific, Central, Metropolitan and Atlantic. Personally, I would have gone with the Gretzky, Howe, Orr and Grimson divisions to honor the greats. Anyway, here’s the breakdown on the new alignment:
Pacific: Kings, Ducks, San Jose Sharks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Phoenix Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks.
Central: Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets.
Metropolitan: Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals.
Atlantic: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs.
You’ll notice the Red Wings and Blue Jackets are no longer in the West and the Jets are no longer in the East. You’ll also notice there are 16 teams in the East and 14 in the West. So that worked out well (potentially) for the West.
The playoffs will be different, based on division finish rather than conference. It means the Kings and Ducks could actually face each other in the playoffs. In fact, it’s darned likely since they’re probably the best two teams in the division on paper.