Where would you place the 30 NHL franchises?

This past summer there’s been a lot of talk about which markets do and do not deserve an NHL franchise. That got me thinking about a project and it’s one that I’d like to get you involved with as well. Here’s the deal:

Imagine you were starting the NHL from scratch and could put a team in any city you wanted. Where would you place the 30 franchises? You can put them in any North American city you want and you don’t have to worry about Divisions, Conferences or anything else – simply focus on which cities and areas you would give an NHL franchise. Please post your thoughts here for all of us to see and discuss and if you can please include a brief note explaining your reasoning and whether you were seeking growth, exposure, fan base, etc. I look forward to seeing what all of you think and hope we can get a good dialogue going.

When considering where to put the 30 NHL franchises I wanted to do three things – expose the game to as many people and regions as possible, bring the game to fans that grow up playing the game while at the same time maintaining tradition.

Let’s start with the tradition and the Original Six cities – they all get to keep their teams:

Toronto, New York, Boston, Detroit, Chicago and Montreal

Now let’s move on to exposing the game to as many regions and people as possible. Here’s a list of other cities that currently have NHL franchises and who deserve to keep them:

Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Denver, Minneapolis, Dallas, Buffalo, Vancouver,  St. Louis, Ottawa, Columbus, Calgary, Edmonton, San Jose, Atlanta, Phoenix, Tampa Bay and Charlotte

As you can see I’ve kept the six current Canadian teams and have two teams in California. I think that’s enough for California to be honest, one in Northern California and one in Southern California. I’ve also left the Lightning in Tampa Bay because it’s Central Florida, they have a Stanley Cup Championship and I think Florida deserves one team but not two of them.

You may think I’m crazy to leave a team in Phoenix and Atlanta but here’s my reasoning. First of all I said Phoenix, not Glendale. I believe that if the team were to play in downtown Phoenix they would draw much more fans and if they were given good ownership and a competent coach/GM they could thrive. There are a LOT of people in Phoenix and the Southwest area in general (10.34 million in Arizona, New Mexico and Las Vegas which would be the broadcast range of Coyotes home games) and I want them to have a team to root for and a reason to follow the NHL.

As for Atlanta, much of the same reasoning applies. The Thrashers have a gorgeous arena that is right in the heart of Atlanta so all they need now is some good teams and some time to develop fans. Atlanta is also the “capital of the South” so it’s vital to have an NHL team in that area to give fans throughout Georgia and the South a reason to watch and follow the NHL.

Then there’s Charlotte. The Hurricanes have a Stanley Cup Championship and they have a raucous fan base so I don’t want to take away their team but I do want to move it to Charlotte which has a larger population and, being on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina, allows both states to feel like the Hurricanes are their team.

That’s 24 teams total which means I still have six teams to place. That gives me plenty of opportunity to spread the game while also satisfying some new fans.

Let’s give some cities that don’t currently have an NHL team a franchise:

Seattle, Winnipeg and Memphis

Seattle is a natural to me. They were the first American city to win the Stanley Cup so they have a hockey history, they have a huge population in a gorgeous city, there’s a natural rivalry with the Canucks and the Pacific Northwest (in America) is completely unrepresented in the current NHL. Plus, now that the Sonics are in Oklahoma City there’s no competition for fans during the winter other than the Seahawks on Sundays so they will have the sports landscape and media to themselves!

Winnipeg is also a natural. They had the Jets, of course, and as you look at a map of Canada they are pretty much in the middle. There are currently teams in Western Canada and teams in Eastern Canada but no teams in the middle of Canada. Placing a team in Winnipeg fixes that and, “makes it seven”.

Memphis gets a team because, again, I am interested in exposing the game to as many regions and people as possible. Nashville is a fine city but Memphis is located near the border of both Arkansas and Mississippi so you can expose the sport to three states at once. The total population of those states is 12 million (more than 1/3rd the population of Canada) and that’s enough to warrant having a team. If you can turn on a potential 12 million fans to your sport and give them a reason to watch, follow, attend or play your sport you should do it.

I should point out that I believe the teams in Phoenix, Columbus, Dallas, Memphis, Carolina, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Seattle should play a handful of home games in other cities each year. The Green Bay Packers used to always play a couple of home games in Milwaukee and I’d like to see each of these teams do something similar. Have a game in Houston, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Miami, Orlando, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Nashville, Little Rock, Birmingham, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Raleigh and Portland. Let the fans throughout your region see the team at least once a year to experience the game in person. We all know that hockey is at its best when you are at the arena so let’s take the game to those people at least once a year to show them how great this sport is. I’d also like to see the AHL teams for these franchises be located in their areas. There’s no reason the Coyotes AHL team can’t be in Albuquerque, the Stars affiliate in Oklahoma City, the Seattle affiliate in Portland, etc.

Back to the placement of the teams, though, as I still have three to place. Looking at my map of North America I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got as far as representation throughout North America so I’ve accomplished my goal of bringing the game to as many regions and people as possible. Now it’s a matter of satisfying the fans that are passionate about the sport which means I am going to place the following teams:

Hamilton, New York (Long Island), Washington D.C.

Alright, Hamilton – you’ve got your team. That gives Canada eight teams which should be plenty. We also put a team back on Long Island since an area of over 18 million people deserves two teams, and the Islanders have a nice hockey history that is just waiting to be resurrected. The final team goes in the Capital of America – Washington D.C. The Capitals have a nice history, a strong fan base and a huge potential to grow into one of the strongest NHL teams in the league.

Here, then, are my Conferences & Divisions:

Conference #1:

Pacific:

Vancouver, Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and Phoenix

Midwest:

Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Denver and Dallas

North:

Chicago, Detroit, Columbus, Pittsburgh and Minnesota

Conference #2

Northeast:

Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo

South:

Florida, Carolina, Atlanta, Memphis and St. Louis

Atlantic:

Boston, NY Rangers, NY Islanders, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.

About Doug Stolhand 26997 Articles
Doug Stolhand is one of the co-founders and co-hosts of the Puck Podcast and has been a member of the NHL media since the show's inception in 2006.

21 Comments

  1. The NHL has most of its franchises in worthy locations. The tweaks I would make are as follows;

    Replace Columbus with Milwaukee. Wisconsin is certainly more of a hockey state that Ohio, especially the further north one goes. Aside from Green Bay, no real market exists in the northern part of the state, so Milwaukee it is. Besides, the AHL rivalry between the Milwaukee Admirals and Chicago Wolves is intense as it is; imagine a NHL-style deathmatch every year involving the Blackhawks.

    Replace the New York Islanders with Quebec. Two NHL franchises is large markets is okay, but three can be a little much, even if it is New York. Also, Quebec deserves an NHL team just as much as Colorado. Enough said.

    Replace Florida with North Dakota. Anyone who is familiar with the WCHA in college hockey knows that the Fighting Sioux have a long and distinguished history with many NHL players having come through that system. Sadly, North Dakota tends to get forgotten beyond that. It may be a bit of a stretch, but I would give the hockey faithful of the Dakotas a team if only because Florida doesn’t need two.

  2. I would def. place a few more teams in Canada. Put the sport where the fans are! Seems like there could be 7 or even 8 teams total in Canada. Or maybe one in the Seattle area. There are tons of Canadians in that city. You never know whether a hockey team could do well there.

    I would move a few teams from the South up North. Do we really need as many teams in the Florida/Georgia/Carolina area? Seems like at least 1 of them could go somewhere North. I agree about Milwaukee.

    Also, since I live in the area, I’d love to have a team in Houston. It always seems to me that with all the oil related stuff that draws Canadians to Houston, there should be a market. Plus, it is one of the 4 largest cities in the US. It would certainly be a bit of an experiment, but if we have a team in Phoenix, we could certainly support a team in Houston. Plus, we already have a great hockey arena (Toyota Center… where the Aeros and the Rockets currently play… def. NHL worthy).

    Generally though I do think that the distribution overall is not that bad. Just a tad too much in the South, perhaps. I used to think that moving teams south was a good idea, but it may have gone a tad too far.

  3. I think this was brought up before but I rather see Eastern and Western divisions just done away with. I would love to see old rivaleries go for the Cup.

  4. Strictly where I would place the teams.

    Boston Bruins
    New York Rangers
    New Jersey Devils
    Washington Capitals
    Philadelphia Flyers
    Buffalo Sabers
    Ottawa Senators
    Toronto Maple Leafs
    Detroit Red Wings
    Montreal Canadians
    Pittsburgh Penguins
    Columbus Blue Jackets
    Atlanta Thrashers
    Carolina Hurricanes
    Tampa Bay Lightning
    Chicago Blackhawks
    Nashville Predators
    St Louis Blues
    Minnesota Wild
    Kansas City (Displaced Islanders)
    Dallas Stars
    Colorado Avalanche
    Edmonton Oilers
    Saskatoon (Displaced Phoenix Coyotes)
    Las Vegas (Displaced Los Angeles Kings)
    Vancouver Canucks
    Anaheim Ducks
    San Jose Sharks
    Portland or Seattle (Displaced Florida Panthers)
    Calgary Flames

    Additional Details

    My NHL would still have the two Conferences and six Divisions, but would be a bit more balanced in geography across North America. No city would have two teams and if a team is in the Eastern Time Zone it would play in the Eastern Conference. Obviously, this approach is putting aside current conference and Division rivalries.

    Each team will play every other team twice at a minimum (30 opposing conference games). Each team would play the teams in their own conference but not in their division 4 times (30 games). Each team will play the other teams in their own division 5 times (20 games) giving an 80 game season.

    The season would begin on the first Saturday of October an end on the 2nd Sunday of April. Playoffs would remain the same.

    EASTERN CONFERANCE

    ATLANTIC DIVISION
    1. Boston Bruins
    2. New York Rangers
    3. New Jersey Devils
    4. Washington Capitals
    5. Philadelphia Flyers

    GREAT LAKES DIVISION

    1. Buffalo Sabers
    2. Ottawa Senators
    3. Toronto Maple Leafs
    4. Detroit Red Wings
    5. Montreal Canadians

    SOUTH EAST DIVISION

    1. Pittsburgh Penguins
    2. Columbus Blue Jackets
    3. Atlanta Thrashers
    4. Carolina Hurricanes
    5. Tampa Bay Lightning

    WESTERN CONFERANCE

    GREAT RIVER DIVISION

    1. Chicago Blackhawks
    2. Nashville Predators
    3. St Louis Blues
    4. Minnesota Wild
    5. Kansas City (Displaced Islanders)

    GREAT MOUNTAINS DIVISION

    1. Dallas Stars
    2. Colorado Avalanche
    3. Edmonton Oilers
    4. Saskatoon (Displaced Phoenix Coyotes)
    5. Las Vegas (Displaced Los Angeles Kings)

    PACIFIC DIVISION

    1. Vancouver Canucks
    2. Anaheim Ducks
    3. San Jose Sharks
    4. Portland or Seattle (Displaced Florida Panthers)
    5. Calgary Flames

  5. My cities by conference

    West

    San Jose
    Anaheim
    Los Angeles
    Colorado
    Minnesota
    Dallas
    Vancouver
    Calgary
    Edmonton
    Anchorage
    Spokane
    Portland
    Salt Lake City
    Las Vegas
    Winipeg

    East

    Boston
    Pittsburgh
    Philadelphia
    Washington
    New Jersey
    New York
    Detroit
    St. Louise
    Chicago
    Montreal
    Ottawa
    Toronto
    Quebec
    Indianapolis
    Milwaukee

    You might notice KC is not on my list. The last two years they have had an exhibition game at the Sprint Center. Last year half of the Kings were playing another exhibition game somewhere else. This year Tavares and half the Islanders didn’t show. KC is yet to fill the lower 100 level seating at one of these events. I live in the KC area and I just don’t see KC supporting an NHL team. Philip Anschutz should start looking at an NBA team in KC.

  6. It’s long puzzled me why there is no team in WI or ND. It could be that college hockey is such a big draw, the way college football is in the Southern US. Portland and Seattle seem like likely spots too.

    And what’s the deal with Winnipeg? I can’t fathom a big Canadian city not supporting pro hockey. I like Ryan’s idea of Saskatoon, too, for similar reasons. But I would rather see that team based out of Moose Jaw!

  7. Seattle is the biggest untapped hockey market in the US by far, they have Canadian major junior teams in the WHL close by and they always draw pretty well given it’s major junior. And like you said with the lack of the SuperSonics to compete with it’s a natural fit, no clue why it hasn’t happened by now.

    I see you gave Winnipeg their franchise back but why not Quebec City too Doug? I understand that Quebec still has the Habs, but they are far from around the corner. It’s almost 3 hours from the capital of Quebec to Montreal, or basically only minutes less than from Edmonton to Calgary (and as anyone who has driven in either province can probably tell you, the traffic’s much worse in Quebec!). I know I’m very biased here, being that my mom was born up there and was a huge fan of the Nords, but I really miss the uniqueness and the flavor that having the universally Francophone city in the NHL brought to our favorite league. Sure, Montreal is mostly French, but it’s no comparison to Quebec City, which doesn’t even have an English daily newspaper! I know the difficulties are there with getting players who don’t speak French to want to play there (hey, Eric Lindros!), but I really think it would warrant a second look. Especially since a lot of Quebec City businesses have stepped up to the plate already in an attempt to bring a team back, which is more than I can say for Winnipeg where business support remains a huge issue.

  8. I’m an old school kind of guy. I’d love to see the league setup the way it was before Bettman’s NBA influence was felt upon the league:

    Campbell Conference

    Patrick Division
    Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Nashville, St. Louis, Minnesota, Dallas, Colorado

    Smythe Division
    Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Winnipeg (Phoenix)

    Whales Conference

    Adams Division
    NY Rangers, Montreal, Boston, Toronto, Hartford (Carolina), Buffalo, NY Islanders, Ottawa

    Norris Division
    Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Florida, Tampa Bay, Washington, New Jersey

  9. Are you kidding me Doug?! St. Louis not making the playoff’s this year? After they were injury stricken and still got the sixth spot, this team is right now not only healthy, I believe they will either finish second or even first in the division. They are a much better team then Columbus (even last year) and will finish above them for sure. It is ludicrous that you have them in the playoff’s before the blues. Oshie will blow up Nash, just like the year before.

  10. The way I currently see it, there are 5 teams that are in cities where they don’t belong (they’ve had a decade or more and it hasn’t worked so it’s time to move on). The NHL is too fixated on the southeast and is missing out on some prime markets where there are not other outside factors and where teams would be more readily accepted and followed. The following teams need to be relocated:

    – Nashville
    – Florida
    – Atlanta
    – Phoenix
    – Islanders

    Here’s where they should go:

    – Nashville to Winnipeg
    – Florida to Quebec City
    – Atlanta to Houston
    – Phoenix to Seattle
    – Islanders to KC

    I don’t think Hamilton deserves anything after this whole Balsille thing – plus they have two teams in less than an two hour drive. Each team on here would move to a place where there aren’t a lot of professional sports (with the exception of Houston, but since hockey worked in Dallas, why shouldn’t the largest city in Texas get a shot too?). This would provide maximum exposure with a minimal outside influence.

  11. -Cities that would make sense to expand/bring back a team:
    Seattle, Wisconsin, Winnipeg, Quebec

    -City that would be fun to see a team again:
    Hartford

    -City that no one ever mentions even in passing:
    Baltimore has Baseball and football markets and their next to D.C.

    Atlanta does not deserve a team whatsoever, Having been a resident, there is a reason why the Flames didn’t last long there.

    The Panthers and Coyotes need to be dismantled and forgotten about.

    Islanders have a history….and it was good, but theyre sorta embarrassing themselves and need to move on.

  12. I’m assuming this redistribution is not happening in a vacuum (in other words, all recent history in the NHL has taken place). For that reason, though I would not necessarily put teams in North Carolina or Long Island if I was starting purely from scratch, I’ll leave those teams in place given their past success and Cup wins. So, bearing all that in mind:

    I’d leave the Northeast Division unchanged. Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Buffalo, Boston. So no team in Hamilton. Hamilton is only 45 minutes outside of Toronto (it’s practically a suburb) and is an hour away from Buffalo. Moving a team to Hamilton may make that team profitable in the short term, but no matter where they play, they’ll still be last year’s Coyotes or Bolts, which is to say they’ll still suck. Moving the Expos to DC hasn’t seemed to make them appreciably better, after all. Moving a team to Hamilton will prove only how long Canadians will support a bad team before they go back to the Leafs or Sabers. So…you know. No team in Hamilton.

    I’d make the Altantic Division genuinely “Atlantic” with New York (Rangers), New York (Islanders), New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Washington. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are 4 1/2 hours apart, while Philadelphia and DC are only 90 minutes apart. Geographically, this division makes much more sense.

    In the interest of “Grow the Sport”-iness, I’d leave a division of teams in the South. They would be Carolina (Cup win), Atlanta (good sports market), Tampa Bay (Cup win), Dallas (Cup win, good market), and Nashville (good fan support). These teams would make up the Southern Division.

    The Central Division would be basically the same, only swap out Nashville for Pittsburgh. So Pittsburgh, Columbus, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis.

    Like many other posters, I’d put a team in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Given their collegiate hockey dominance, that there is not a team there now is (as a Bruins fan might say) wicked retahted. This new team would make up the Mountain Division, along with Colorado, Minnesota, Edmonton and Calgary.

    Also, like a few other guys, I’d put a team in Seattle. Given the history there with the Seattle Metropolitains (Cup winners in 1917) it makes perfect sense. That would also give us a more logical Pacific Division (in other words, one that does not contain Dallas, TX, which is 1,431 miles from the west coast) with Vancouver, Seattle, San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles.

  13. Craig,
    I am a Ducks fan, yes, but I believe we in SoCal would get along just fine with one team and so, for the betterment of the league, I moved one team out. And I never said that the Ducks would be the ones that moved – just that Anaheim would no longer have a team. If this scenario were to come to pass I would move the Ducks to Los Angeles and change their names to the California Seals.

  14. My thoughts behind the re-alignment of the NHL would revolve around deserving markets for hockey fans. As much as I would love to “grow the game”, I feel there are other markets that would not take as long to build a fan base, and would appreciate having a team more than others.

    First of all, the moves:

    New Canadian Teams

    Phoenix Coyotes move back to Winnipeg
    There’s not much of a market where they’re at, and Winnipeg would probably go the route of Minnesota — be so appreciative of having a team back, that they would sell out every game.

    Carolina Hurricanes move to Quebec City
    When I weighed the two markets, I felt Quebec City was more deserving of a team than the Carolinas. I feel that if you’re growing the players, you deserve to see them play.

    Florida Panthers move to Saskatoon
    Similar to the previous move, Saskatchewan deserves to have a team, and Florida does not need two.

    New US Teams

    Nashville Predators move to Seattle
    Seattle needs to have a team.

    New York Islanders move to Portland
    New York (arguably) has three teams, and if we leave the Rangers and Devils, the majority of fans will be satisfied. The Pacific Northwest is short on hockey representation, and I feel this move would be beneficial to the organization, and to the new market.

    Columbus Blue Jackets move to Salt Lake City
    People into alpine skiing are fans of winter sports, so hockey in the mountains makes sense to me.

    Atlanta Thrashers move to Milwaukee
    Wisconsin deserves a team, and the rivalry with Chicago would be great.

    Los Angeles Kings move to Las Vegas
    From one large city that doesn’t care to another, at least there’s the appeal of having millions of tourists that could bet on the games. Whether you’re a supporter of sports betting or not, you can’t deny the appeal of having Vegas showgirls cleaning the ice between periods.

    My system would do away with the conference system, which would end up leading to many different options for playoffs and Cup races; the top 16 teams in the league would head into the playoffs every year. The season would consist of 84 games, with every team playing every other team twice (home and away). Each team would play the other teams in their division six times, and an extra two games per team of a different division (the division they would play the extra games against would be on a rotation).

    To try and make it less confusing, your favorite team would play six games against division rivals, four games against all teams of a random division, and two games against the other teams in the rest of the league.

    The divisions would be divided up as follows:

    Atlantic Division
    New Jersey
    Philadelphia
    Pittsburgh
    Tampa Bay
    Washington

    Central Division
    Dallas
    Minnesota
    Saskatoon
    St. Louis
    Winnipeg

    Lakes Division
    Buffalo
    Chicago
    Detroit
    Milwaukee
    Toronto

    Mountain Division
    Calgary
    Colorado
    Edmonton
    Las Vegas
    Salt Lake City

    Northeast Division
    Boston
    Montreal
    New York
    Ottawa
    Quebec City

    Pacific Division
    Anaheim
    Portland
    San Jose
    Seattle
    Vancouver

  15. Devils and Rangers in seperate divisons when the two arenas are a 15 minute train ride away is really dumb, no offense dude.

  16. The Yankees and Mets, and the Cubs and White Sox are on opposite sides of their respective cities and they are in different Leagues and divisions.

  17. I think that the Panthers, Thrashers, Islanders and one of the L.A. teams need to move.

    The cities they should go to are Milwaukee, Kansas City, Winnipeg, Seattle. I would also say that Quebec could replace one of those cities.

    I think that the reasons for the Panthers and Thrashers are clear. They are cities that support the team sporadically. A move to a city that has more of a history and built-in fan base would help them and the NHL.

    The Islanders and the Kings/Ducks are in the same boat.

    On Long Island, the building is terrible, and when I visited last season there was simply the feeling that it was a franchise that was out of gas. They just seem to be stuck in the same pattern. Also, there are 4 other teams that within a decent drive from Long Island. I’m sure that some people in Midwest Canada drive 5-8 hours for a weekend of NHL hockey a couple times a season!

    In L.A. there simply doesn’t need to be two teams. I say this as a die-hard Kings fan. I would love to see only one building sold out every night no matter how the team is doing. Also, I think media coverage would be of higher quality if they only covered one team. It seems editors still see hockey as a fringe sport, so they must cover both teams with as little effort as possible.

  18. If i had a choice in say where should there be a hockey frachise:

    West Conference:
    Pacific
    San Jose
    Los Angeles (combine Anahiem)
    Las Vegas (move from Phoenix)
    Colorado
    Dallas

    NORTHWEST
    Seattle
    Vancouver
    Calgary
    Edmonton
    Winnipeg

    CENTRAL
    Minnesota
    Chicago
    Detroit
    Columbus
    Milwaukee

    Eastern Con.
    NORTHEAST
    Montreal
    Toronto
    Ottawa
    Buffalo
    Boston

    SOUTHEAST
    Atlanta
    Tampa Bay
    Carolina
    Nashville
    St. Louis

    ATLANTIC
    Philadelphia
    NY Rangers
    Washington
    New Jersey
    Pittsburgh

    Phoniex move to Las Vegas – would be great for Vegas not only see a hockey game plus the life of Vegas. Still would be close enough for Phoneix fans to come see. But it would just make more sense to see a hockey team in Vegas. Plus Vegas fans wait once a year for FROZEN FURY to come along (not fair)

    LA – you dont need two teams in LOS ANGELES no point.
    thank you – i listen to you guys all the time and Mike Murangi huge fan of his. GO FLYERS!!!!!!

  19. If it’s just rearranging the 30 teams, I’d bring back Hartford, Quebec, and Winnipeg, cut Nashville, Phoenix, and Florida and be done with it. For my own personal vanity I would send Pittsburgh to Kansas City where I am on business three times a year, the Pens have had enough charity from the league. But if I have the power to rearrange, then I’ll have the power to go to any games I want, and I’m scrapping teams and scrapping the system: 30 teams to 24, only 8 teams making the playoffs: 6 division winners and 2 wild cards. The 64-game season would include 8 games against division opponents and 2 against everybody else. All fans would get a chance to see Ovechkin at home once a year. Not only would the Stanley Cup be less of a grind, but the season would actually mean something.

    The eight teams are seeded by wins (no more 3 point games, there will still be overtime to get a result, now up to 10 minutes, then 5-player shootouts). The OT losses would only come into play as the first tie breaker in deciding playoff seeding, second tie breaker is head to head, third is goals vs goal against differential.

    NORTHWEST
    Vancouver
    Calgary
    Edmonton
    Winnipeg

    SOUTHWEST
    Dallas
    Denver
    Los Angeles
    San Jose

    MIDWEST
    St Louis
    Chicago
    Detroit
    Minneapolis

    GREAT LAKES
    Ottawa
    Montreal
    Toronto
    Quebec City

    NORTHEAST
    Boston
    Hartford
    New York
    New Jersey

    SOUTHEAST
    Philadelphia
    Pittsburgh
    Washington
    Columbus

    Note, Canada is now guaranteed two teams in the playoffs, possibly half of them, if half the wild cards are from there. It seems to me that regional rivalries are the league’s strength so I emphasized those. And for the good of the league KC didn’t get a team, much as I love the city. I’ve been to see empty minor league games there and just don’t see taking away western fans from the Blues, who while I would have a rooting interest in seeing them escape Detroit, but it’s better for the NHL this way. I’ll have to be contented with winning Stanley Cups for the Blues and Caps through EA Sports. Come on Ovie, please make me eat my words.

  20. Doug, you can’t not have both the Flyers and Pens in the same division.

    Likewise I like seeing the Boston/Chicago Boston/Detroit games so if you just switched Boston with the Pens I think that everything else looks great.

    Well lol at the Devils no longer existing.

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