The landscape of the National Hockey League will have a brand new look next season. It was announced today by the NHL that the Board of Governors approved the realignment plan that was sent to them. With the plan, a new format will be put into place for the 2013-14 season and three teams will switch conferences. The Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets will move from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference while the Winnipeg Jets will move to the West. There will be a total of four divisions (two in each conference). Here is how the divisions will shape up:
Division A: Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks
Division B: Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets
Division C: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs
Division D: Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals
Every team will play in each arena at least once per season, under the new plan. The agreement lasts through the 2015-16 season.
For more information on how the scheduling will work for each conference, click here
Sixteen teams will make the Stanley Cup playoffs (Eight from each conference) still, but it will be division-based and a wild card system will be implemented. The top three seeds from each division will make up the first twelve teams in the playoffs. The other four spots will be given to the two teams left with the most points in each conference. The division DOES NOT matter for the final four spots.