The big news coming from yesterday was that the league had finally agreed upon a new realignment for the league next season. Currently the NHL is broken up into two conferences containing 16 teams. With the new realignment it will be broken up into 4 “conferences” The 4 “conference” go as follows:
The way the playoffs would go is the top 4 teams of each “conference” are in the playoffs. 1 vs 4, 2 vs 3. The winners of those series play each other for the “conference” championship. Once the “conference” champions are determined, they are reseeded based on regular season points. 1 vs 4, 2 vs 3. The winners play for the Stanley Cup. In theory we can have an all west or all east Stanley Cup finals.
So for the Devils it is essentially the Atlantic division with the inclusion of the Carolina Hurricanes and the Washington Capitals. This fits well for the Devils because instead of worrying about 15 other teams making the playoffs they have to worry about 6 other teams.
Based on their conference I think the Devils are still a bubble playoff team. Next season (based on this season’s rosters) I could see the “conference” standings going like this.
To be honest I could see the bottom 4 teams being interchangeable unless Washington starts to pick it up. I personally really like the format. I think it will promote great rivalries. And if the Devils are playing the Capitals, Penguins, Flyers, Rangers more the Devils could see more air time on NBC which bring on some new fans. I think overall its a win win for the Devils.