I think if the NHL does finally agree to let Phoenix move to Hamilton they should expand by two teams the perfect two choices would be:
Winnipeg, Canada, since they do have a great fan base and support for hockey in the NHL, there stadium can hold 15,003 and their team was moved not because of lack of fan support, but was sold to pad the owner's wallet... and Seattle, Washington, USA who have shown some love for hockey and average about 5,000 fans a game in the WHL and have had games where they have passed 10,000 they are close enough to Canada and do get snow so winter hockey is a past time, the stadium in place currently holds 15,177 for hockey.
These two teams may need to build larger stadiums, but they would be great hockey markets for new NHL teams.
The NHL could then realign and have 4 Divisions per conference of 4 teams, and since both Winnipeg and Seattle are in the Mid to West Coast this would mean that Detroit, Columbus or Hamilton could be moved to the Eastern Conference.
I'll go with Hamilton moving to the East.
The New Divisions could look something like this
The teams' 82 game schedules would be broken down like this:
Divisional: 6 games x 3 teams = 18 Games Conference: 4 games x 12 teams = 48 Games Opposite Conference 8 games at home versus each team of 2 divisions and 8 road games against each team of another 2 divisions.
Example of Toronto Maple Leafs' Schedule:
- 6 games each against Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton
- 4 games each against Boston, Buffalo, Philly, Pittsburgh, Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Washington, Carolina, Atlanta, Florida and Tampa
- 1 game against each team in the Western Conference; 8 at home and 8 away games.
The teams would rotate the following year if they were the road team then the home team the next year.
What do you guys think? Which two teams should be expanded into league? What should the divisions look like?