Last week the NHL proposed a realignment from six divisions to four, each comprising of seven or eight teams. The change in distribution would be as so:
Presumably there’s some teams that get a benefit here, and on the flip side, some teams that are going to be worse off hockey-wise as a result of the new arrangement, but which?
I grabbed the Fenwick close numbers for the ’11-12, and ’12-13 seasons for each team from the excellent behindthenet last Sunday (’11-12, ’12-13). Given that teams had played an average of ~17 games, and that a regular season is 82 games in length, I weighted the data 5:1 in favour of last seasons numbers. The Fenwick close number for each team looks as such:
To determine the strength of a division I averaged the Fenwick close numbers of the teams in that division. The old, and new, division strengths, can be seen below:
I don’t think this will surprise anyone, we’ve known that the Southeast and Northwest suck for a while now, whilst the Pacific, Central and Atlantic provide the bulk of playoff teams.
The next step is to determine the strength of the old and new divisions, without a given team in it. i.e., for Nashville I’ve averaged the Fenwick close of the other four teams currently in the Central division for their ‘current’ number, and averaged the Fenwick close numbers for the six other teams proposed to be in the new Central division for their ‘new’ number. If you then subtract the ‘current’ number from the ‘new’ number, you get an idea as to how the level of competition will change if the realignment goes ahead:
And there you have it. It’s not really a surprise to see the Northwest teams get screwed, as they get either a) good teams from the Pacific (and Anaheim) or b) good teams from the Central. Winnipeg also lose the chance to play against the Southeast, the opposite of which is true for the teams in the Atlantic division, who will benefit from the influx of ‘talent’ from the Southeast, and the Blue Jackets. Other winners include Chicago and Detroit, who no longer have to face one another.