HNIC shows new potential alignment with 16 teams in "east" groupings
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02-24-2013, 01:55 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
There's one thing that has me puzzled about this alignment proposal.. what's the deal with QC?
If they expand or relo to QC, we've got a case of too many teams in the eastern conferences again. So who moves?
Detroit won't. If they get this, and the NE teams get them, they aren't going to let go. I have a strong feeling that Detroit was moved into this conference to placate both the Florida and the Canadian markets who were displeased with the last alignment. Detroit is one of the few big teams that are an attractive division rival for both Canadian and US teams, so they help 'bridge' that conference.
However, QC would certainly go in the Northeast, so something's gotta give there. It's unlikely they break up the Florida teams (though I wouldn't be opposed to it), and more importantly the all powerful folks in the Atlantic don't seem to want them. I think this means that either Buffalo or Boston gets sent to the Atlantic. Both conferences would prefer Boston over Buffalo, but I don't think either conference would be unhappy with either team.
This leaves us with an odd man out in the Atlantic. The obvious choice becomes Columbus. Given that they're likely also one of the least powerful teams, they probably get the boot and the Central gets them. There aren't any real targets for a relo in the east; the most financially unstable (Islanders, Panthers, CBJ) are all on long lease deals that would be quite expensive to break, afaik.
But then, if they intend to only keep the BJs around in the Atlantic a couple years, why bother putting them there at all? Why not keep them in the central? Certainly the BJ owners would see this as obvious enough that they wouldn't want to get cranked around.
As unpopular as a suggestion as this might be, given the proposed alignment, the only conclusion I can come to is that expansion or relocation to Quebec is far from a 'done deal.' The NHL may very well have their eyes west of the Mississippi for any relo/expansion, and there are at least 3 valid untapped markets. It could be QC gets a team only if they either pay an exorbitant fee or the NHL's preferred options in the west don't pan out (Seattle, Houston, KC, maybe Las Vegas, maybe others). In that case, CBJ would get moved.
The other possibility is that the NHL are expecting an eastern team to need a relo by the time expansion rolls around, in spite of any lease agreements. But that actually seems the less likely possibility at this point.
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