Dave Sheldon | Email David.Sheldon@corusent.com
The National Hockey League Player's Association has today given their consent to the NHL's plan to re-align the divisions, conferences and playoff format beginning in 2013-14.
With the format change, beginning next season, the Vancouver Canucks would be in the Western Conference and the Pacific Division along with the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings.
The Western Conference woudl consist of 14 clubs, while the East would grow to 16. the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Bue Jackets will shift to the East,while the Winnipeg Jets would become a Western Conference team, which would be more in line with the geographic template set out by the re-alignment.
Playoffs will revert to divisional play, which was the model set out in the old four team divisional structure that was in place until the present re-alignment in the mid-nineties. The top three teams in each conference will qualify for post season play while the remaining two teams in either division would be granted wild card status.
The NHLPA has asked that the alignment be revisited after the 2014-15 season in case of any relocation or proposed expansion within that time frame changes the current proposed re-alignment.
San Jose Sharks
Los Angeles Kings
Chicago Black Hawks
St. Louis Blues
Eastern Conference - Central Division
Toronto Maple Leafs
Detroit Red Wings
Tampa Bay Lightning
Columbus Blue Jackets
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers