How a Potential NHL Division Realignment Could Affect Nashville Predators

With the news of the Coyotes relocating to Salt Lake, division realignment is at the forefront again. Where would the Predators end up?
Apr 12, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg (9), center,
Apr 12, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg (9), center, / Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
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It has felt inevitable for years and is probably long overdue, but it looks like the end might be near for the Arizona Coyotes. It was announced earlier in the week that they might be relocated to Salt Lake City very soon, and given how much trouble they have had in the desert, it would honestly be surprising if it does not happen.

Besides the effect on the franchise themselves, the rest of the league might feel the ripple effect if the Coyotes do indeed move to Salt Lake. They would of course stay in the Western Conference, but there might be a few changes to the current divisions, and they would be directly involved in it.

Such a change makes very little sense to me, it would be much easier and sensible to just keep the current divisions the way they are, and there would be no need to change anything. But do you know what makes even less sense? The current NHL alignment being the way it is.

It needs a drastic overhaul, and it has needed it for a long time now.

The Current NHL Alignment is a Mess that Has Several Glaring Issues

The NHL has two conferences like it has always had, and has two divisions per conference. With 32 teams in the league, there are eight teams in each division, and that is way too many.

The problems with that many teams in each division are not seen and felt in the Eastern Conference as much, but are on full display in the West. In particular, the Central Division is one huge ball of confusion, and you could argue that no team gets screwed over by it more than the Nashville Predators.

They are in a division with the Coyotes as well as the Avalanche, which in itself makes little to no sense. Even crazier than that is the way the scheduling works, and the Predators have felt that in a big way this year.


Each team in the league plays their division rivals no more than four times a year, and sometimes only three, while they play other conference foes three times a year, and out of conference foes twice. In the case of the Predators, they only met the Blues, one of their biggest rivals, three times this year, yet played the Coyotes four times.

The fact that the Predators played the Blues fewer times than the Coyotes is ridiculous, as well as that they played the Blues as many times as their non-divisional conference opponents. Maybe even more aggravating than that is that they played against the Blues only once more than they played against every team in the Eastern Conference.

There are so many things wrong with the current and convoluted NHL alignment, and it does not need four teams simply swapping spots. It needs to be completely redone in order to make it so that teams are only in divisions with legitimate rivals or other sensible foes, as well as making the scheduling much easier to decipher.

In such a conversation, the Predators are a fascinating team, as they are on the bubble geographically and many think they should slide to the Eastern Conference. I am not of the opinion that that in itself is cut and dry, but there needs to be a major change one way or another, and my suggestion would make things so much better for everyone.