October 9, 2013

NHL 2013-14: Realignment Location-maps, with the 4 new divisions shown (Western Conference/Pacific Division, Western Conference/Central Division; Eastern Conference/Atlantic Division, Eastern Conference/Metropolitan Division).

Filed under: Hockey,Hockey, NHL re-alignment — admin @ 8:35 pm
    NHL 2013-14: Realignment
    Below are maps of the 4 new divisions in the NHL…

Please note… Each NHL Divisional Realignment map page below features 2 maps: an all-color-logos location-map of the 30 NHL teams [on the left-hand-side of the map page], plus the Divisional maps [on the right-hand-side of the map page], which only show color-logos of those teams in that division (with all the other NHL team-logos in grey-tone). You can see the divisional realignments just by scrolling down, but if you click on any of the four images below, you will get the whole dual-map map page.

    NHL Western Conference / Pacific Division (7 teams: Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks).

Click on image below for full maps…
2013-14 NHL Re-alignment map Western Conference / Pacific Division

    NHL Western Conference / Central Division (7 teams: Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets.

Click on image below for full maps…
2013-14 NHL Re-alignment map Western Conference / Central Division

    NHL Eastern Conference / Atlantic Division (8 teams: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Monteal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs).

Click on image below for full maps…
2013-14 NHL Re-alignment map Eastern Conference / Atlantic Division

    NHL Eastern Conference / Metropolitan Division (8 teams: Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals).

Click on image below for full maps…
2013-14 NHL Re-alignment map Eastern Conference / Metropolitan Division

    Aspects of 2013-14 NHL Realignment

3 teams switch conferences
Columbus to Eastern Conference,
Detroit to Eastern Conference /
Winnipeg to Western Conference
The mighty Detroit Red Wings (with 22 straight playoff appearances), and the perennial basement-dwellers the Columbus Blue Jackets switch from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference. /
The newest NHL team, the Winnipeg Jets (II), switch from the Eastern Conference to the Western Conference [Winnipeg Jets (II) are the former Atlanta Thrashers, who moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada prior to the 2011-12 season].

Divisional shifts to consolidate teams within similar time zones…
-Columbus Blue Jackets – now are in a division of all Eastern Time Zone teams [the bizarrely-named Metropolitan Division (Eastern Conference), which is made up of 8 teams: Carolina, Columbus, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, NJ Devils, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Washington], whereas before, from 2000-01 to 2012-13, Columbus was in the Western Conference in a division with 3 Central Time Zone teams. Columbus now could have a theoretical rivalry with Pittsburgh (who are only 3 hours away by car [distance from Columbus to Pittsburgh is about 162 mi. or about 260 km].
-Detroit Red Wings – like Columbus, are also now in a division of all Eastern Time Zone teams [the Atlantic Division (Eastern Conference) which is made up of 8 teams: Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Florida, Monteal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Toronto)]. Detroit had long been promised by league officials a switch to the more natural-for-them Eastern Conference, and Wings fans will certainly get more sleep come playoff time. Detroit loses its rivalry with Chicago, but gains a long-dormant rivalry with the Toronto Maple Leafs (who are only 4 hours away by car [distance from Detroit to Toronto is about 230 mi. or about 332 km]).
-Winnipeg Jets (II) – now in the Central Division (Western Conference), a division of mostly Central Time Zone teams (except for Colorado, who are a Mountain Time Zone team). Winnipeg will now cut their travel distance considerably. Winnipeg can also now look forward to a rivalry with the Minnesota Wild (who are around 6-and-a-half hours away by car [distance from Winnipeg to Minneapolis/St.Paul is about 389 mi. or about 626 km]).
-Dallas Stars – like Winnipeg, are also another Central Time Zone team now in the Central Division (Western Conference), having switched from the former Pacific Division. Dallas no longer plays in a division which is primarily made up of Pacific Time Zone teams, as they did from 2006-07 to 2012-13.

Every team now plays in every other NHL arena each season…
This is one of the best things about the NHL realignment. Each team will play 50 or 54 games within their conference, depending on whether they are in a 7-team or an 8-team division, and two games (home and road) against each non-conference club (28 or 32 games outside their conference).

Dismantling the much-ignored Southeast Division… (Southeast Division lineup circa 1999-2013)
-Winnipeg (formerly based in Atlanta) switches conferences (see first paragraph above).
-The 2 Florida teams (Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning) now play in the Atlantic Division (Eastern Conference), which otherwise is all cold-weather sites (Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto). [3 Original Six teams in the Atlantic Division].
-The Carolina Hurricanes now play in the Metropolitan Division (along with Columbus, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, NJ Devils, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Washington). [2 Original Six teams in the Metropolitan Division].
-The Washington Capitals are also now in the Metropolitan Division (see sentence above), and are no longer stuck in a division of Southern/Sunbelt teams, and now finally get to be back in a division with more natural (but untapped) rivalries, most specifically with the nearby Philadelphia Flyers (who are only 2 hours away by car [distance from Washington DC to Philadelphia is about 125 mi. or about 200 km]), as well as the somewhat nearby Pittsburgh Penguins, plus the three Greater New York City-area teams (Devils, Islanders, Rangers).

There are now 4 divisions instead of 6, and the conferences are now unbalanced…
2 divisions of 7 teams in the Western Conference (14 teams) – Western Conference, Pacific Division & Western Conference, Central Division.
2 divisions of 8 teams in the Eastern Conference (16 teams) – Eastern Conference, Atlantic Division & Eastern Conference, Metropolitan Division.

As before, 16 teams qualify for the playoffs – 8 teams per conference.
1st place, 2nd place, and 3rd place in each division qualify for the playoffs (12 playoff spots).
4 playoff spots go to wild card teams…Two wild card spots for each conference (wild card teams are the teams with the 7th and 8th best points total in each conference).
That means both wild card teams could come from the same division, with 5 teams conceivably making the playoffs from one division, and thus with only 3 teams from the other division making the playoffs.

Playoff format 1st Round now has a Divisional aspect (see second sentence below)…
In each conference, the divisional-winner-with-the-higher-points-total plays the 8th seed [wild card team]; while the divisional-winner-with-the-lower-points-total plays the 7th seed [wild card team]./
In each of the 4 divisions, the 2nd-place-finishers plays the 3rd-place-finishers.

The 2nd Round Playoffs (between 4 teams) are seeded (to put highest-points-total-in-regular-season vs. lowest, and 2nd-highest-points-total-in-regular-season vs. 3rd).

The 3rd Round Playoffs (between 2 teams, for the conference title) are also seeded (for home ice advantage).

Stanley Cup Finals (Western Conference champions vs. Eastern Conference champions)…
This is when the fans traditionally boo Gary Bettman when he makes the Cup presentation to the winners (seriously…see next link, below).
-From, by Sean McIndoe on June 24, 2013, ‘20 Years of Awkwardness: A Celebration of Gary Bettman Stanley Cup Presentations‘.
-From (a Canadian news outlet], from 30 September, 2013, by Stephen Whyno, NHL preview 2013: Realignment has benefits but creates plenty of questions (

The NHL went out of their way to make unbalanced conferences…
The NHL re-alignment now makes it mathematically harder for any given Eastern Conference team to make the playoffs than any given Western Conference team – 7.1% harder. That is because there are only 14 teams in the West and 16 teams in the East, but there are nevertheless 8 playoff spots in each conference.

Here is what much-reviled NHL commissioner and failed-Sun-Belt-expansion-architect Gary Bettman has to say about that…
…”frankly, the addition of a team, seven versus eight, those aren’t the teams that are really competing for the playoffs. It’s really the top five or six teams that are doing it. I don’t think it’s a good idea for clubs to be using this as an excuse as to whether or not they make the playoffs.”…{excerpt from article linked to 2 paragraphs above}.

Bettman is obfuscating the central issue here. This is not rocket science. At the end of the day, only 6 teams will miss out on the playoffs in the West, but 8 teams will miss out on the playoffs in the East. It is now 7 percent harder to make the playoffs for Eastern teams. It is actually even harder than that for 15 of the 16 teams in the Eastern Conference now, though…because Detroit is in the East now, and the Red Wings have not missed the playoffs in over two decades. The Red Wings have made the playoffs for 22 consecutive seasons (since 1990-91)]. So for all the other teams in the Eastern Conference, it essentially is like there are really only 7 playoff spots available in the Eastern Conference – once Detroit clinches its inevitable, annual, post-season appearance.

As Marc Donatiello points out at …”When the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets could have simply and effectively switched spots under the current divisional layout, the NHL elected to take more drastic, unfair, and inefficient measures to address a minor problem created by one team’s relocation two years ago (with the Atlanta Thrashers representing another mistake by the NHL powers that be).”… {quote from this article,

So the question is, have the new time-zone-consolidations helped the NHL more than the new conference-imbalance has hurt it? It looks to me like the biggest winners with respect to realignment are Detroit and Winnipeg (with Dallas and Columbus and Washington also sitting better now). It looks to me like the biggest losers with respect to realignment are all the teams in the East that struggle to make the playoffs each season (like Buffalo, Ottawa, NY Islanders, and Toronto).

This year [2013], Major League Baseball solved its unbalanced leagues problem, with the Astros moving to the American League. Eleven years ago [in 2002], the NFL solved its unbalanced conferences problem by having the Seahawks move to the NFC. But now the NHL has CREATED an unbalanced conferences problem when they didn’t have to. As Andydrmm at points out, “Notice how [the NFL and MLB] went to even things out instead of making it unbalanced? That’s called progress and intelligence. You can come up with your own terminology for what the NHL is doing.”
{That quote from this article, ‘Dear NHL; There’s This Thing Called Logic‘ (

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, ‘2013–14 NHL season‘.
Thanks to

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