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NHL Shows Off Its Geography Knowledge With New Realignment Plan

The NHL you know and love is about to become a thing of the past.

The league has announced plans to realign, beginning next season.

Gone is the current six-division format, replaced by four currently unnamed divisions. So, what exactly does this mean?

Well, here’s the lowdown:

The Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets are packing up their skates and heading to the Eastern Conference, which should be a relief, since they will play more games against teams in their time zone. The Winnipeg Jets, conversely, will shuffle off to the Western Conference for the same reason. The Jets’ move from Atlanta last season helped spur the entire alignment discussion.

As a result of all the changes, there will be 16 teams in Eastern Conference — eight in each division — all in the same time zone. A total of 14 teams — seven in each division — will make up the Western Conference.

Here’s a look at what each division will look like:

Western Conference:

Division A
Los Angeles
San Jose

Division B
St. Louis

Eastern Conference

Division C
Tampa Bay

Division D
New Jersey
New York Islanders
New York Rangers

The playoffs will also get a makeover, although there will still be eight teams from each conference qualifying for a run at the Stanley Cup. The top three teams in each division will make the postseason, while the next two teams with the most points will also appear as wild cards. As a result, there could be five teams from one division, while only three from the other.

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