Instant Analysis: NHL Realignment

Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 12:14 AM / Features
By Jay Levin  - Nashville Predators
What Could Have Been
Sports are all about hypotheticals (hey, it is fun to wonder "what if"), so how would the Preds playoff fortunes had changed if the proposed realignment been in place the past handful of seasons?

Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit, and Dallas are currently the top-four teams in the Western Conference this season – with St. Louis edged out by a tie-breaker with Dallas and Nashville just three points behind the pace. So there looks to be a lot of top-end talent in this proposed group. But historically the Preds would have placed second among the proposed grouping last season (and hosted a “revenge series” against Chicago), third in 2010 (and a series against Detroit instead of the classic match-up against eventual Cup Champion Chicago), still would have finished just on the outside of the playoffs in 2009 (when they missed the playoffs on the final weekend of action), fourth in ’08 (and a match-up against Detroit – same match-up that did in fact occur), second in ’07 (and a match-up against Dallas instead of the rematch series against San Jose), third in ’06 (with a match-up against Dallas instead of San Jose Part I) and fourth in ’04 (with a match-up against Detroit – again the same match-up that did take place).
--Jay Levin, NashvillePredators.com
If the new team alignments end up implemented as reported on NHL.com this evening, this realignment worked out pretty well for the Nashville Predators. (Keep in mind this proposal as approved by the Board of Governors tonight, still needs to be approved by the NHLPA, so it is not final, final yet.)

Nashville remains in a grouping with all four of its traditional Central Division rivals. The Preds already have playoff history with Chicago and Detroit; a chance to maintain that and expand upon it in the new group-emphasized playoff format. Regional rivals St. Louis and Columbus also remain in the grouping with the Preds. Preds fans routinely travel up to Columbus and St. Louis for games and vice-versa; maintaining that familiarity is good for hockey in Nashville.

New to the group next year will be Dallas, Minnesota, and Winnipeg. Dallas and Minnesota have been philosophically similar to the Preds over the past few years. Winnipeg is a bit of a wild card. The organization is in its first year in Winnipeg with new ownership; it is too early to see how they will proceed with their spending patterns, organizational philosophy, organizational development plan. But all three “newcomers” joining the current Central Division foes are located in the Central Time Zone. As a result the travel burden will be greatly reduced on the Preds next season – only one trip to California, only one trip to Western Canada, additional road trips to the more travel friendly Eastern Time Zone, more emphasis on games within the Central Time Zone.

Click here for David Poile's take on the realignment.
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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
S. Weber 79 23 33 -2 56
P. Hornqvist 76 22 31 1 53
C. Smith 79 24 28 16 52
M. Fisher 75 20 29 -4 49
R. Josi 72 13 27 -2 40
M. Cullen 77 10 29 4 39
C. Wilson 81 11 22 -1 33
N. Spaling 71 13 19 2 32
R. Ellis 80 6 21 9 27
G. Bourque 74 9 17 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Hutton 20 11 4 .910 2.62
D. Dubnyk 11 18 3 .891 3.43

 
 

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