Hey Caps fans, are you ready to get your hate on for the Penguins, Flyers, Rangers and … Blue Jackets?
In a memo sent to all 30 NHL teams on Tuesday the league introduced its new realignment plan for next season. The proposal, which will need approval from the NHL Board of Governors and the NHL Players’ Association, has the Winnipeg Jets moving out of the Eastern Conference and getting replaced by the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets.
That would create an unbalanced league, with 16 teams in the West and 18 teams in the East.
The Capitals would play in an Atlantic Division that looks like this:
- Blue Jackets
With the addition of the Red Wings, the Central Division would look like this:
- Red Wings
- Maple Leafs
- Tampa Bay
In the West, the Midwest Division would look like this:
And the Pacific Division would like like this:
In the Eastern Conference teams would play out-of-division conference opponents three times each and teams within the division four or five times each, rotating each season.
In the West, teams would play out-of-division conference opponents three times and teams within the division four or five times.
The real sticking point in the new proposal is the unbalanced playoff format, with teams from the 16-team West having a better chance of getting into the playoffs than teams in the 18-team East.
The playoff format would have the top three teams in each division earning playoff spots, with the top two remaining records qualifying as wild-card teams. That could result in five teams from one division and three teams from another getting into the playoffs.
The other playoff change would have teams in each division facing each other in the first round, with No. 1 facing No. 4 and No. 2 facing No. 3. The top division winner based on regular-season points would face off against the lower-ranked wild-card team.
First-round winners would meet each other in a division championship round; followed by the conference finals and the Stanley Cup finals.