The new look NHL relies on geographic location taking under consideration the time zones where the teams are based. The league is divided into two conferences, east and west, with two divisions per conference. New divisions as follows:
Division A – Pacific
Division C – Atlantic
Could they possibly have been less imaginative? With the new look NHL they might have chosen division names to honor hockey greats, events or landmarks in the past.
The new look NHL relies on geographic location taking into consideration the time zones in which the groups are based. The league is divided into two conferences, east and west, with two divisions per conference. The Pacific Division teams are the Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, LA Kings, San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks. The Central Division is made up of the Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets. Western teams will play 29 matches within their own branch, 21 games against another division and a home and home series versus each of the 16 eastern conference teams (32 matches ) for a total of 82 games.
The Atlantic Division includes the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Metropolitan Division has the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals. They’ll play 30 games in their own branch, 24 games versus another branch and 28 games (1 home and 1 off per team) against western opponents.
The top 3 teams in each division will make the playoffs. Four wild card spots will be filled by another two highest placed finishers in each conference, according to regular-season points and regardless of division. It’ll be possible for a single division to send five teams into the postseason while the other sends three.
First Round – The 1st place team with the highest seasonal point total will play the lowest point total wild card team and the other 1st place team will play the other wild card team.
Second Round – Here’s were it could find a little tricky. The winners in the first round play against each other within their own division for the division championship. The issue is, it’s possible for 3 winners to be from the exact same division.
Third Round – Division winners play for the conference championship. Again, these two teams could be from the exact same division.
Fourth Round – Conference champions play for the Stanley Cup.
The new look NHL isn’t set in stone. The playoff format is on a 3 year trial period and it’ll be re-evaluated.
My Playoff Thought – All 16 teams making the playoffs are thrown into the same pool and seeded in accordance with their regular season point total. Ties decided the same way as in the past. In each round the maximum seed plays the lowest, second seed the next smallest and so on. The possible drawback, of course, could be that the last two teams standing are from the same conference. This has the potential for causing disinterest among fans of another conference.