NHL’s realignment plan might give the Hawks good competition

By Sam Bauman

The NHL’s Board of Governors approved a new realignment plan.

The new plan features a simplified division and conference system. The new look features a 16-team Eastern Conference and a 14-team Western Conference. This new setup allows for many new possibilities for the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Detroit Red Wings have left the Western Conference in order to play the majority of their games in their same time zone. The rivalry between these two teems go back since the beginning of the NHL, as both are original six teams. This move means less games between the two teams, but it also allows the opportunity in the future for the two teams to meet in the Stanley Cup finals.

In addition to the new look of the NHL, there is also a new system for teams making the playoffs. Eight teams will make the playoffs in each conference. The new system is set up so the top three teams in each division will automatically make the playoffs, securing the top six playoff seeds in that conference. The last two remaining openings in each conference will be the top two remaining teams from that conference with the most points.

The new playoff system will greatly benefit the Blackhawks. Since there are two less teams in the Western Conference, there is less competition competing for the spots. In fact, the majority of the conference will make the playoffs. The loss of the Red Wings also factors into this. The Red Wings have been a mainstay in the playoffs for years; their loss opens up another playoff spot the Hawks can snatch in the future.

Additionally, it allows for the Blackhawks to have a better seeding in the playoffs. The current system in place in the NHL has the top three seeded teams in each conference go to the division leaders. In the past teams that should’ve been seeded between fourth and eighth have been ranked third because they won their division. This seeding determines who has home ice in the playoffs, which oftentimes can be the difference between winning and losing that round of the playoffs.

The new look NHL has the possibility to greatly benefit the Chicago Blackhawks. In a conference with less teams, the Blackhawks have the opportunity to make the playoffs consistently for years to come.