After the NHL received just two bids for expansion teams — one for Las Vegas, the other for Quebec City, but nothing for Seattle or Portland — could the league be headed for another realignment?
When the NHL last realigned, the commitment was only for three years. It was thought that the possibility of further change was left open merely to see how the then-ongoing Arizona Coyotes saga played out.
But now, it could also give way to a radical realignment with, among other things, the possibility of eight four-team divisions, the model used by the National Football League. Under that scenario, you could actually create two Canadian divisions – Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver in the West; Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City in the East.
If Las Vegas and Quebec City are granted franchises — a big if, mind you — perhaps an eight-division NHL could look something like:
1. Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg
2. Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Las Vegas
3. Arizona, Dallas, Colorado, Nashville
4. Minnesota, Chicago, St. Louis, Columbus
5. Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City
6. Carolina, Florida, Tampa Bay, Washington
7. NY Rangers, NY Islanders, New Jersey, Buffalo
8. Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Detroit, Boston
Cue Blue Jackets fans hollering about moving back to the Western Conference and Caps fans wondering why they have to be in a division with two teams from Florida. The Arizona- Dallas-Colorado-Nashville division is kinda far-flung, too.
The thing is, when it comes to realignment, there’s no perfect solution. Or, if there is, we haven’t seen one.
Feel free to add your ultimate eight-division alignment in the comments. Maybe you can craft the perfect formula.