What would a 32-team league look like?

So it's quickly becoming apparent that the NHL will, at some point in the near future, expand to 32 teams. It's really not a matter of if, but when. So since it's coming we might as well start throwing ideas out about how the NHL should do this so they don't completely botch it. They aren't going to listen to us (blogosphere, MSM writiers, common sense) but here's what they should do when they do it. I am going to make the following assumptions:

► Vegas, and KC will get a team. Also a team will move to Hamilton, because there's too much money trying to get it done, and while the Leafs and Sabres may object, Jim Balisille's a Billionaire and will find a way to buy his way into the area.

► One of the following three teams will be relocated to one of the above cities at some point in the near future: Nashville, Florida, or Atlanta. We'll assume Atlanta for now but it could easily be one of the other 2.

►Winnipeg is not getting another team. Ever. They have a population of ~650k. That's not enough to support a team.

Making the above assumptions here's what the divisions should be:

Clarence Campbell Conference
Smythe Division:
Calgary Flames
Vancouver Canucks
Edmonton Oilers
SJ Sharks

Masterton Division:
LA Kings
Anaheim Ducks
Phoenix Coyotes
Las Vegas Loose Slots

O'Ree Division
Dallas Stars
St. Louis Blues
KC Baby Back Ribs
Colorado Avalanche

Norris Division
Chicago Blackhawks
Minnesota Wild
Columbus Blue Jackets
Detroit Red Wings

Prince of Whales Conference
Richard Division
Toronto Maple Leafs
Hamilton Black Berries
Buffalo Sabers
Ottawa Senators

Adams Division
Montreal Canadiens
Boston Bruins
NY Rangers
NY Islanders

Patrick Division
NJ Devils
Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh Penguins
Washington Capitals

King Clancy Division
Carolina Hurricanes
Tampa Bay Lightning
Florida Panthers
Nashville Predators

Regular Season
Play each team in division 4 times (12 games)
Play each team in conference 3 times (alternating the extra home game every other season) (36 games)
Play one division within the conference an extra time (4 games) (optional)
Play each team in the opposite conference twice. (32 games)

Total games: 84 or 78


Play each team in division 6 times (18 games)
Play each other team in conference 4 times (48 games)
Play each team in the other conference 1 time (16 games)

Total games: 82

I'd prefer the second option honestly, but I would be open to either

16 teams, 8 in each conference. Each division winner (seeded 1-4) plus 4 wild cards (seeded 5-8), pretty much the same.

1 comment:

  1. 1) We like/agree with your expansion/relocation ideas, but with one caveat; we'd prefer 4 total divisions over 8.
    2) Four teams/division is almost asking for further expansion.; ) Seriously though, it makes for more interest to have 8 teams in each of the 4 divisions so winning a divisional crown actually means something.
    3) Also like your division names. We've been advocating a return to the pre-Bettman tradition of naming divisions, instead of the boring basketball-esque geographical names.