Last year's planned realignment. (via prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/TomFulery.com)

NHL Realignment Talks Once Again, A Bit Different This Time

Last December, the NHL announced plans of a radical conference realignment. It was later vetoed by the NHLPA over travel and fairness of the proposed playoff qualification system. This time, the NHL and NHLPA are working together to figure out the details and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly believes that everything could be settled in a week or two.

The above pictured shows what last year’s planned realignment would have looked. There were some concerns over the decision, but in my opinion, it was received pretty well. It is unknown what has changed from this alignment plan. We do know that the four conference system is still here. One of the major problems that some expressed about this realignment was about Tampa Bay and Florida being in a conference with teams in the Northeast of the United States and Canada instead of other teams in the South, like Nashville, Dallas and Carolina. Also, keeping Winnipeg away from other Canadian teams upset some people as well.

Personally, I think it might be tough to change much from this current plan. There are some very established rivalries that the NHL does not want to interrupt. They could have both Tampa and Florida in a division with Carolina, Nashville, Dallas, St. Louis, Columbus and Washington. However, that would hurt some of those teams’ rivalries.

Another idea would be to have this as a conference, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Colorado, Dallas, Nashville, Tampa Bay and Florida as a conference. However, that would alienate San Jose and they would most likely be in a conference with the Western Canada teams and some of the teams from the Central area. However, that could ultimately break up some original six rivalries. It’s a difficult process. I don’t think there is any way to not alienate some team from their rivals. In my opinion, just swap Winnipeg with Colorado, and Detroit/Columbus and Tampa Bay/Florida. How’s that? I don’t know, but we shall see by the end of February at the latest!

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Tags: Anaheim Ducks Bill Daly Carolina Hurricanes Colorado Avalanche Columbus Blue Jackets Dallas Stars Detroit Red Wings Florida Panthers Los Angeles Kings Nashville Predators NHL NHLPA Phoenix Coyotes Realignment St. Louis Blues Tampa Bay Lightning Washington Capitals Winnipeg Jets

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