You may have heard about the realignment to the NHL that will start during the 2013-2014 season. The days of the six divisions are over, so let’s take a look at how it will look.
There will still be two Conferences: The Eastern and Western.
The East will have 16 teams, and the West will have 14. Detroit and Columbus will be moving from the west to the east, primarily due to the time zones that they play in.
Both conferences will be divided into two divisions: The East into the Atlantic and the Metropolitan, which will have eight teams each. The West into the Central division and the Pacific division, which will have seven teams each.
But most importantly, how does this relate to the playoffs?
Sixteen teams, over half of the league, will advance to the playoffs. The top three teams from each of the four divisions will advance. There will also be two wild card teams from each conference, regardless of which division they are in.
Seeding will be based on points. The top team in the conference will play the wild card team with the fewest number of points. The other division winner will play the top wild card team. The second and third finishers in each conference will play each other in the first round.
The second round will consist of two series in each division. That will be followed by the conference finals, and finally the Stanley Cup.