Expansion and Realignment? Part 1

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So here is Part 1 of my expansion and realignment plan for the NHL.  I was going through my twitter feed and saw one that said the NHL would best be served by a 36 team league. 

Whether we like it or not, the league will expand beyond its current format.  They have done it before, and in the sense of good business, if they think it will bring in more money; they will do it.  Goes back to the old saying “If you build it hey will come.”  Well that hasn’t been necessarily true in some markets, where they struggle to play to a few thousand fans. 

My expansion brings the teams to a total of 36, playing in three conferences, with three divisions each.  I have stuck with, for know the geographic monikers for the Conferences, and called my divisions 1,2, and 3 for simplicity.  I will expand these with more “hockey” favorable names – as the way it should be – in another part.  Here’s my break down:  (**Denotes an expansion franchise)

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Tags: Buffalo Sabres Canadien Expansion NHL Realignment Stanley Cup Teams Toronto Maple Leafs United States Vancouver Canucks Western Conference

  • lonewolf3388

    Interesting article Tim, but two teams in Minny? Also do you think any re-locations are in order?

  • http://www.sabrenoise.com Tim Redinger

    lonewolf,

    Thanks for the comment and the read. Two things, yes I think that Minnesota can support two teams. I think there are several markets that can support two teams, Montreal, Toronto, Los Angeles to name a few.

    I picked Minnesota because it made the most sense for my article. I wasn’t going based on what I thought the NHL would do, I was going more towards what I think the NHL should do. I don’t necessarily agree with putting a team in Vegas or Oklahoma – but I think the league would be best served from teams in that area – to make up for geographic gaps in the league.

    Stay tuned for for on my expansion and realign!

    • Jeffrey Chapman

      Central Division 1 is going to be a loooonely division :)

      • http://www.sabrenoise.com Tim Redinger

        Jeff,

        Thanks for the read. Yes, but it might be Florida’s only chance of making the playoffs!

  • Rick Keene

    The NHL must relocate teams from Pheonix, Nashville, Tampa etc and place them in Hamilton, Quebec and Winnepeg….forget everything until then I am so tired of greed replacing what sports is about having fun and playing before fans – true fans of the game…..

    • http://www.sabrenoise.com Tim Redinger

      Rick,

      I can see your point, but I think the NHL is trying to get bigger, not shrink into a tighter market group. I think the NHL is going to resist movement into the Hamilton area just because you have so many teams in that region already. Toronto, Buffalo and Detroit are all relatively close. I was hesitant about putting one of my expansion teams in Winnipeg, only for the fact that the NHL has been there and done that – they might want to test new markets before retreading one that already failed them.

      We are however, in a different era of hockey, and those markets might now be able to better support a franchise.

      Thanks for the read – and remember – this is not based in any fact or inklings from the NHL.

  • Eugene Markman

    Nooooo, don’t take the Devils and Rangers away from the Flyers. Also, I hate expansion. It’s not about more cities, it’s about the dilution of talent. The more people allowed to play, the worse the on ice product. Also, I think we’re losing a few other rivalries that can get jumpstarted (Blues-Wings) with this realignment. They might not be as passionate now, but things work in cycles. THey’ll pick back up again. I’d rather see some teams relocated (the entire SE Division) rather that just expansion.

  • http://www.sabrenoise.com Tim Redinger

    Eugene,

    I share your concerns – I don’t necessarily want to see expansion – but its going to happen – if we accept it now it will be easier to stomach.

    As far as aligning the teams – it was strictly geographical.

    • Jared Rice

      Tim,

      Great article, but I gotta go with Eugene on this one. I’d cry myself to sleep every night if the Flyers were no longer in the same division as the Rangers and Devils.

      Take it from a life-long Philly fan: my first pick to win the cup at the beginning of every season is always the Flyers. My second is always “Not the Devils” :-)

      Plus, every team in East Div 3 is geographically closer to Philly than any team in East Div 2. How about swapping the Islanders for the Flyers? I always thought the Islanders should be in a New-England-ish division anyway.

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