The NHL seems to be thinking of what it will do with the franchise in Phoenix, but the team seems to be on life support... so why keep the team there? This would be a perfect time to expand and realign some teams in the league while allowing the new owners of Phoenix to move the team out.

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

Eastern Conference

Division 1:
Toronto Maple Leafs
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Hamilton ????

Division 2:
Boston Bruins
Buffalo Sabres
Pittsburgh Penguins
Philadelphia Flyers

Division 3:
New York Rangers
New York Islanders
New Jersey Devils
Washington Capitals

Division 4:
Tampa Bay Lightning
Florida Panthers
Atlanta Thrashers
Carolina Hurricanes

Western Conference

Division 1:
Detroit Red Wings
Chicago Blackhawks
St. Louis Blues
Columbus Blue Jackets

Division 2:
Minnesota Wild
Nashville Predators
Colorado Avalanche
Dallas Stars

Division 3:
Edmonton Oilers
Calgary Flames
Vancouver Canucks
Winnipeg ????

Division 4:
San Jose Sharks
Los Angeles Kings
Anaheim Ducks
Seattle ????

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?

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