Your new NHL division names: Pacific, Central, Atlantic and Metropolitan


Beginning next season, the realigned NHL will have a decidedly new look — and new division names.

On Friday, the league announced the Western Conference would be comprised of two divisions, Pacific and Central, while the Eastern Conference would be made up of two as well: Atlantic and Metropolitan.

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

Described as “more geographically-appropriate groupings,” the four new divisions will ensure that all 30 teams play in all 30 arenas at least once per season.

As for the playoff format, here’s more from NHL.com:

Playoff qualification will be primarily Division-based, with the top three finishers in each Division qualifying for the first 12 spots in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (and the first three “seeds” in each Division).

The two additional playoff spots in each Conference, designated as “Wild Cards,” will be awarded to the next two highest-placed finishers in each Conference, ranked on the basis of regular-season points and regardless of Division.

The League will play under this new alignment and playoff system for a minimum of three seasons, through the 2015-16 NHL season.

Under the previous alignment, the league was comprised of six five-team divisions.

Update: Here’s the NHL’s though process on naming the new divisions, as per ESPN.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said player names were considered for the division names but “dismissed rather quickly.”

“I don’t think there was any strong feeling that we needed to move away from geographic descriptors and orientations, which makes it easier for the fans to follow,” Daly wrote in a email.

“Also, while it’s the nature of any exclusive list, I’m not sure assigning division names to four all-time great players is fair to the all-time great players who would necessarily be excluded in that process.”

It looks like Havlat won’t make Panthers

Martin Havlat
Leave a comment

As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.

Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.

While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.

It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.

One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.

Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.

Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.

Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?

Silfverberg is set to practice again after Torres hit

Jakob Silfverberg
Leave a comment

Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.

The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.

The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:

That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.

Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:

Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.

Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.