NHL Needs to Realign

Evander Kane

When the Atlanta Thrashers were sold and relocated to Winnipeg and became the second version of the Jets the NHL left them in the Southeast Division for the 2011-12 season because the schedule was already done and it was too late to re-do.

They were supposed to move for this season and a realignment plan was drawn up and it was rejected.  Then along came the lockout and all the CBA stuff and low and behold the Winnipeg Jets are still in the Southeast Division playing the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers on a regular basis.  There’s no excuse or reason for this.

If you break out your map of North America there is no way Winnipeg is close to any of those cities.  So I looked at two ways of realignment.  One that is very close to the divisions we have now and one that is much more radical.  Both are based on geography.

Currently the NHL looks like this:

Eastern Conference - Western Conference
Northeast Division - Central Division
Boston - Chicago
Montreal - Detroit
Ottawa - Nashville
Buffalo - St. Louis
Toronto - Columbus
Atlantic Division - Northwest Division
New York Rangers - Calgary
New York Islanders - Colorado
New Jersey - Edmonton
Philadelphia - Vancouver
Pittsburgh - Minnesota
Southeast Division - Pacific Division
Washington - San Jose
Carolina - Los Angeles
Tampa Bay - Anaheim
Florida - Phoenix
Winnipeg - Dallas

To see the realignment proposals, please click on the continue reading button below if you're on the home page.

Realignment Proposal A:

Eastern Conference - Western Conference
Northeast Division - Central Division
Boston - Chicago
Montreal - Detroit
Ottawa - Minnesota
Buffalo - St. Louis
Toronto - Columbus
Atlantic Division - Northwest Division
New York Rangers - Calgary
New York Islanders - Colorado
New Jersey - Edmonton
Philadelphia - Vancouver
Pittsburgh - Winnipeg
Southeast Division - Pacific Division
Washington - San Jose
Carolina - Los Angeles
Tampa Bay - Anaheim
Florida - Phoenix
Nashville - Dallas


  • Nashville moves from the Central Division in the Western Conference to the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference.
  • Winnipeg moves from the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference to the Northwest Division in the Western Conference.
  • Minnesota stays in the Western Conference but changes from the Northwest Division to the Central Division.

Proposal A doesn’t take much effort and there’s very little involvement from other teams.  It keeps the four western Canadian teams together, moves Nashville into their true geographic alignment as it does for Minnesota.

Realignment Proposal B:

Eastern Conference - Western Conference
Northeast Division - Central Division
Boston - Chicago
Montreal - Detroit
Ottawa - Columbus
Buffalo - Toronto
Pittsburgh - St. Louis
Atlantic Division - Northwest Division
New York Rangers - Calgary
New York Islanders - Colorado
New Jersey - Edmonton
Philadelphia - Winnipeg
Washington - Minnesota
Southeast Division - Pacific Division
Florida - San Jose
Carolina - Los Angeles
Tampa Bay - Anaheim
Dallas - Phoenix
Nashville - Vancouver


  • Pittsburgh stays in the Eastern Conference and moves from the Atlantic Division to the Northeast Division.
  • Washington stays in the Eastern Conference and moves from the Southeast Division to Atlantic Division.
  • Nashville moves from the Central Division in the Western Conference to the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference.
  • Dallas moves from the Pacific Division in the Western Conference to the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference.
  • Toronto moves from the Northeast Division in the Eastern Conference to the Central Division in the Western Conference.
  • Winnipeg moves from the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference to the Northwest Division in the Western Conference.
  • Vancouver stays in the Western Conference but would change divisions from the Northwest to the Pacific.

Realignment Proposal B is a bit more radical with more teams moving.  It would make Dallas, Nashville, Toronto and Winnipeg flip conferences in order to align the teams up geographically.  Washington would play with the more territorial rivalries of Philadelphia, New Jersey and the New York’s.  While Vancouver would play less Canadian road games for more in the Western United States.

So if you had to pick which realignment plan do you like best?  Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet me.

Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveMichaelsII

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