NHL's board of governors approves realignment, revised playoff format
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
The NHL's board of governors on Thursday approved realignment and a division-based format for the Stanley Cup playoffs, beginning next season.
It creates two eight-team divisions in the Eastern Conference and two seven-team divisions in the Western Conference, grouping teams in a way that makes more sense geographically.
The Minnesota Wild now will be in a division with Chicago, Dallas, Nashville, St. Louis and Winnipeg.
Realignment also ensures all 30 teams will play in the other 29 areas at least once a season for the first time since 1997-98.
The top three teams in each division will qualify for the first 12 seeds in the playoffs, with other four spots designated as wild cards.
Here's the breakdown:
Division A: Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver.
Division B: Wild, Chicago, Dallas, Nashville, St. Louis, Winnipeg.
Division C: Boston, Buffalo, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Toronto,
Division D: Carolina, Columbus, New Jersey, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington.