Instant Analysis: NHL Realignment

Monday, 12.5.2011 / 11:14 PM CT / Features
By Jay Levin  - Nashville Predators
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Instant Analysis: NHL Realignment
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.

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 26 37 15 63
M. Ribeiro 82 15 47 11 62
R. Josi 81 15 40 15 55
S. Weber 78 15 30 15 45
C. Smith 82 23 21 11 44
C. Wilson 77 20 22 19 42
M. Fisher 59 19 20 4 39
J. Neal 67 23 14 12 37
R. Ellis 58 9 18 8 27
S. Jones 82 8 19 3 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 41 17 6 .923 2.18
C. Hutton 6 7 4 .902 2.61