The NHL’s Board of Governors has rubber stamped the new divisional setup for next season. There are many on both the NHL Players Association side and the Governors held their noses while they voted to approve the re-alignment.
It is a flawed setup that includes fewer teams in the two Western divisions than in the East and a Northeast division that has both Florida teams leapfrogging the entire Atlantic seaboard to play mostly in Eastern Canada plus Detroit, Boston and Buffalo.
And with the East/West imbalance comes a loopy playoff setup in which 57% of the teams will go to the post season in the Western Conference and only 50% of the Eastern teams.
And then there’s that wild card setup. This from the NHL’s offical news release –
The top three teams in each division will make-up the first 12 teams in the playoffs. The remaining four spots will be filled by the next two highest-placed finishers in each conference, based on regular-season points and regardless of division. It will be possible, then, for one division to send five teams to the postseason while the other sends three.
Here’s the way the redesigned league looks geographically –