The NHL announced plans for a new, four-conference realignment back in December of 2011, only to have the NHLPA reject it. But things have changed between the league and the players, and realignment is back on the table.
It would appear the four-conference plan is as well. Saturday night on CBC, Elliotte Friedman gave us some insight into the latest proposal, and the slight updates the NHL has made to their realignment plan:
The big difference between the old proposal and this one? Eight-team conferences out East.
For many in the West, the fact that their clubs would be playing in the two most crowded conferences made them feel as though the NHL was giving favour to the Eastern clubs, who saw better odds of making the playoffs. This time around, however, Columbus and Detroit have moved East.
Friedman adds that some kind of wild-card is being discussed for the two eight-team conferences, probably to deal with those slightly higher playoff odds out West.
That's the only change here between the two groups above and the two corresponding groups under the old plan, and it likely has both clubs jumping for joy. The Blue Jackets and the Red Wings have been clamouring for an Eastern shift for years.
There are more slight updates to the two Western conferences as well:
Conference 4 is the most unchanged here. All seven teams were grouped together under the old realignment plan. The missing team is Colorado, who has been moved over to fill out Conference 3, which lost Detroit and Columbus. They'll likely be happy with this as well. Playing in a conference dominated by clubs in the Pacific timezone wasn't ideal for them.
We'll have much more on this as it develops, but based on what we have now, what are your impressions?