The new look NHL relies on geographical location taking into consideration the time zones where the teams are based. The league is split into two conferences, east and west, with two divisions per conference. New branches as follows:
Division A – Pacific
Division D – Metropolitan
Could they possibly have been less imaginative? With the new look NHL they could have chosen branch names to honor hockey greats, events or milestones from the past.
The new look NHL relies on geographic location taking under 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 west has 14 teams with 7 teams per division. The Pacific Division teams will be 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 in their own division, 21 games against another branch and a home and home series versus each of the 16 eastern conference teams (32 games) for a total of 82 games.
The eastern conference has 16 teams, 8 teams per division. The Atlantic Division comprises the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs. They’ll play 30 games in their own division, 24 games versus the other branch and 28 matches (1 home and 1 off per group ) against western rivals.
The top three 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 branch. It will be possible for one branch 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. The 2nd and 3rd place team in each division will play each other.
Second Round – Here’s were it could find a little tricky. The winners in the first round play against each other in their division for the division championship. The issue is, it’s possible for 3 winners to be from the same division.
Again, both of these teams may be from the same division.
Fourth Round – Conference champions play for the Stanley Cup.
The new look NHL is not set in stone. The playoff format is on a three year trial period after which it’ll be re-evaluated.
My Playoff Thought – All 16 teams making the playoffs are thrown in the same pool and seeded in accordance with their regular season point total. Ties decided the same way as previously. In each round the highest seed plays the smallest, second seed the second 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 the other conference.