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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Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators
Apr 12, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg (9) loses control / Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports


Northwest: Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks, Seattle Kraken

Pacific: Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Vegas Golden Knights

Scenic: Colorado Avalanche, Salt Lake City, Minnesota Wild, Winnipeg Jets

Central West: Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars

The Western Conference is significantly harder to put together than the Eastern Conference, but there are still several teams that have to be together no matter what. You surely are not separating the Alberta teams, and you really want the Canucks to also be in that division.

You also must keep the California teams together, as well as the Blackhawks and Blues, and the NHL certainly will have the Avalanche be in a division with the new Utah team. So that leaves the Kraken, Golden Knights, Wild, Jets, Predators, and Stars without a home, and it really did take some mixing and matching to decide where each team belongs.

When I first did this, I was so intent on having the Jets join the Northwest to create an all-Canada division, but that would result in one big traveling nightmare. That would not even just be for the Jets, it would have a ripple effect on the rest of the conference.

Putting the Jets in the Northwest makes it so that the Kraken are in the Pacific, and the Knights in the Scenic, which would create much more travel for both them and the Wild.

Having only Canadian teams in the Northwest is a fun idea, but would create a logistical mess, so it is honestly not wise to go in that direction. The way I ultimately designed it was not perfect, but much less burdensome on the teams in terms of travel, and still would have some pretty fun themes and rivalries.

In the Northwest, you have all three Canadian teams and the Kraken, who are all within fairly close distance of one another. Plus, Seattle and Vancouver are right down the road from each other, and with the Kraken being so new in the NHL, the league could see an opportunity to showcase them and market that rivalry, which would be easier to emphasize in a much smaller division.

The Pacific is a virtual no brainer, as you have the California teams, and Vegas is easily the next closest one. The Knights have also developed a bit of a rivalry with the Sharks, and with Arizona (presumably) no longer having a team, the league would have no reason to promote a desert battle with them and the Knights, so they can put the Knights in the Pacific without hesitation.

That leaves eight more teams, and the Central West is one that makes a lot of sense. You obviously have the Blackhawks and Blues, who have been in a division with the Predators for years, and the Predators have developed a Southern themed rivalry with the Stars in the recent past.

All four of those teams are in the same division today, and with how far east the Predators are, the only way this is fair to them is if they are in the Central and their travel is kept in check at least for in-division games.

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This leaves the Scenic, which is probably the most controversial division here, and it starts with the name. Given where each team is located, I wanted to make the division name have something to do with the outdoorsy and environmental theme, and if you can call the Metropolitan Division what it is today, you can get away with calling this one right here the Scenic.

What also makes the Scenic controversial is the amount of travel involved, but that is a big part of why the Jets were put in this division. With them being there, both them and the Wild get a little less total travel for their divisional games, and of course not everything can be perfect with how geographically expansive the West is, but it is better than nothing.

If the NHL were to implement this overall alignment as well as the playoff format, it would be the best for everyone in terms of scheduling, travel, and playoff seeding. If a realignment happens and it is not done exactly like this, hopefully it is similar, or at least a step up from the current alignment, which in all fairness, a lot of things would be a step up from the current alignment.