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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Mar 27, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) defends Boston
Mar 27, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) defends Boston / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports


Northeast: Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins

Metropolitan: New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres

Atlantic: Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes

Central East: Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings

Right off the bat in the Eastern Conference, there are several pairs and groups of teams that cannot be separated. The three Canadian teams have to be together, as well as both New York teams and the Devils, both Pennsylvania teams, and both Florida teams.

Additionally, with how the rivalry with the Penguins and Capitals has evolved over the years, you really want them in the same division. So that leaves the Bruins, Sabres, Hurricanes, Blue Jackets, and Red Wings in temporary no man's land, but there are viable solutions that jump out for two of those teams.

The Bruins make the most sense to go to the Northeast with the Canadian teams, while the Sabres join the Metropolitan. The biggest deciding factor here is the Sabres being in New York State, so it was best for them to join their other foes from New York City, and New Jersey.

In the case of the Bruins, they have been in a division with the Eastern teams from Canada for so long, and their rivalry with the Canadiens is one of the most storied in the sport. There's no reason to break that up.

After the Bruins and Sabres, it's down to the Hurricanes, Blue Jackets, and Red Wings. Ultimately, geography plays a huge role in the decision of where to place them, and I would love to put the Hurricanes in a division with the Panthers and Lightning, but it was not feasible.

Looking at all eight teams in the Atlantic and Central East, those in the Atlantic are actually the easternmost locations, and are actually in close proximity to one another. All four in the Atlantic are also in the same division today, so it was reasonable to keep that going.

In the Central East, the Blue Jackets and Red Wings make too much sense for it, given their location, and the fact that they were a part of the old Central when they were in the Western Conference. The Panthers and Lightning are good teams to join them, especially given the fact that they were in the Central during the 2021 COVID season, along with the Jackets and Wings.

Travel wise, the Central East is not the most favorable, but given how far south the Panthers and Lightining are, they were going to have it rough anyway. I suppose it could be made easier for the Jackets and Wings, but when you are trying to do the best for the Conference as a whole, you just are not going to make it perfect for every individual team.

With the way the Eastern Conference is assembled here, we can see that the Predators would not be involved, which might be a disappointment for some. But if they did move over, who are you taking out?

Every team in the East is on the Eastern time zone, so it would be even less fair for one of them to slide to the West in place of the Predators. Once again, you cannot make it 100% optimal for each team, so it is what it is for the Predators, but with this suggested format, they would certainly have it better than they currently do.