Details after the BREAK
Los Angeles Kings
Salt Lake City Grizzlies
San Diego Ducks
San Jose Sharks
Detroit Red Wings
St Louis Blues
Tampa Bay Lightning
New York Rangers
Toronto Maple Leafs
Gained Teams: Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake, San Diego, Hartford, Quebec, Atlanta
Lost Teams: New York, New Jersey, Phoenix, Anaheim, Columbus, Carolina, Nashville
No conferences: Instead of uniting three divisions to have North v South or East v West, each division stands on its own. Each sends one rep to the playoffs, guaranteeing a wider interested audience during the playoffs (Unlike the NFL, where if St Louis and Kansas City are reps for the West divisions, the Pacific coast has no stake in the results).
Sorted by straight geography: Before, divisions would stretch from Winnipeg to Miami, and Edmonton to Denver. Now, the NHL has the most compact divisions of any of the five major sports leagues in North America. No divisional game will necessitate a trip of more than one time zone, keeping players fresh.
RIVALS RIVALS RIVALS: Rivalries are the lifeblood of any sports league, and a big reason why NHL hasn't found much of a foothold beyond it's historical homes. Other than Dallas, no team is far from an obvious rival. Seattle and Portland instantly combine with Vancouver for one of the more enjoyable trifectas in the country (don't believe me? See "The Cascadia Cup"), Denver is faced with their eternal rivals in Salt Lake, Quebec City renews its bad blood with Montreal and the return of the Whalers gives Boston a little brother to pick on once again. All of the league's most storied rivalries are intact, with eight Boston-Montreal, eight Detroit-Chicago, eight Philadelphia-New York, eight Toronto-Buffalo, and eight Calgary-Edmonton each year. Toronto meets Ottowa four times each year.
four teams three times home and away: 24 games.
RIVAL Division (North West v South West, North East v Mid East, Mid West v South East)
five teams twice home and away: 20 games.
20 teams once home and once away: 40 games
Total: 84 games, +2
Top team from each division plus two teams with next best record, eight teams.
1v8, 2v7, 3v6, 4v5 REGARDLESS OF DIVISION.
Series are five games until the semifinals, which go to seven games.
- Since the Islanders and Devils have been eliminated from the league, it would be this author's hope that the Rangers would expand to 22,000 per game, giving them a chance to reach the 1,000,000 mark.
- Dallas is a huge market, so it'd be a shame to see the league pull out. But if they have to, put that team in Milwaukee, and put them in the Midwest division. Then, move St Louis into the southeast, balancing the divisions out again.