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Rumored NHL Realignment’s Effects On The Phoenix Coyotes

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Elliotte Friedman, discussed the NHL plans for realignment on CBC's 'Hot Stove' panel segment this past weekend. Will the proposal affect the Coyotes franchise in a meaningful way?

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The biggest change from the previous realignment plan the NHL proposed two years ago, is the shift of the Red Wings and Blue Jackets into divisions that play in the Eastern time zone. The proposed alignment would look like this:

  • 'Red' Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver. (7)
  • 'Yellow' Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis, Winnipeg. (7)
  • 'Green' Philadelphia, Carolina, Columbus, New Jersey, N.Y. Islanders, N.Y. Rangers, Pittsburgh, Washington. (8)
  • 'Blue' Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Toronto. (8)

    Nhl-realignment_medium

So what does this all mean for the Phoenix Coyotes? In my opinion, being in a seven team conference likely means the team is either; A. staying put in Glendale, and the league will eventually expand to Seattle or Portland, or B. they relocate to a market within the borders of the 'Red' conference, like the aforementioned cities (sorry Quebec City).

Speaking of Quebec City, what does this realignment mean for them, and for that matter, Markham? A few months ago rumors were flying that the NHL was set to expand to 32 teams, and Quebec City and Southern Ontario were the likely targets. Now with this proposed realignment it looks like expansion is more likely to occur in the West. If the league were to expand or relocate team(s) to one or both of those cities there would be upheaval in the newly formed 'Blue' and 'Green' Conferences. That is of course, unless one or more struggling teams in the 'Blue' and/or 'Green' Conferences are being targeted for relocation...

You can of course take this all with a grain of salt, as no one thought the Winnipeg Jets were going to stay in the "South East" division for two seasons either.