Realignment is going to impact every NHL team, but how does it impact the Rangers specifically?
The NHLPA consented to the NHL's realignment plan Thursday, and once the plan is approved by the board of governors it will go into effect for the 2013-2014 season.
The New York Rangers division looks a little different than originally thought when the plan first came to light last year, so let's take a look at some of the highlights:
- There will be four conferences: Both of the Eastern conference divisions will have eight teams, while the two Western conference divisions will have seven teams each.
- The playoffs will work as follows: The top three teams in each division, along with four wild-card teams which consist of the two best non-winners in each conference. There was originally thought of a one-game playoff between two bottom teams but that idea was scrapped.
- The NHLPA will have the right to review the realignment after the 2014-2015 season.
So, the Rangers are in the toughest division of the group, in my opinion. Most of that has to do with the strength of the Atlantic Division right now, which is good since the Rangers are used to the tough competition. The Blue Jackets -- seen as the bottom feeder right now -- are going to be a very good young team at some point in the future, so there's that to look forward to as well.
I don't see this being a massive change for the Rangers from what they have now. Fact of the matter is, the Rangers' toughest games will be the Flyers, Islanders, Penguins and Devils -- which is no different than it is this year. They'll play Columbus more (hello Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and Tim Erixon) and Washington more -- but the Rangers have seemed to see a ton of Washington in the playoffs in recent years.
The full list of teams in each division can be seen here.
Thoughts on this, guys?