The National Hockey League's Board of Governors approved the new realignment plan, which will go into effect during the 2013-2014 regular season. The league will still keep its two conference system but will now be divided up into two divisions per conference. The conference names haven't not been announced just yet, and will be identified as divisions A, B, C, and D until further notice.
The New York Rangers will share a division with the New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes, and the Columbus Blue Jackets. There will also be new formats for the scheduling system, as well as the playoff format for how teams will qualify. All of those details can be found below.
Scheduling (Eastern Conference):
- 30 Divisional games: Five games against two divisional teams and four games against the remaining five teams. Teams will be rotated on a yearly basis to allow for more fluidity.
- 24 Conference games: Three games versus the rest of the teams in the conference. Each will play at least one home and home throughout the regular season. The home and away schedules will be rotated on a yearly basis.
- 28 Non-Conference games: There will be two games against all of the out of division teams, which will also consist of a home and home series.
The top three teams from each conference will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and two wild card spots will be awarded to the remaining teams with the two highest point totals. Divisions will not play any part in the wild card positions, so two teams from the same division can claim a wild card playoff spot.
- The division winner with the most points will go up against the wild card team with the lowest point total, and the winner of the other division will face the second wild card team.
- The first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will be played within the division, followed by the Conference Finals, and the Stanley Cup Final.