Over the weekend, we took a look at the NHL’s realignment and the new playoff format that will be in place next season. You can check that out here. The realignment is going to effect everyone in the NHL but one Division it is sure to change drastically is the Pacific Division.
Over recent years the NHL’s Pacific Division has been one of the most entertaining divisions to follow. Year in and year out it seems like a dog fight for the top spot and it always seems to take until the very last game of the regular season to decide who will make it into the playoffs.
Over the last four seasons, there have been at least three teams from the Pacific Division to qualify for the post season. During the ’10-’11 season, the Pacific had four representatives in the playoffs, that accounted for half of the teams to qualify.
However, with the NHL realignment going into effect next season things will look a little different when it comes to division size and playoff qualification.
First off, the Pacific Division now houses a total of seven teams; along with the Kings, Ducks, Sharks and Coyotes, it will now be home to the Oilers, Canucks and Flames. The only team that left the division was the Stars, who are now a part of the Central Division.
You have to think the Canucks will be a shoo in for the battle for the Division title along with the Sharks Kings and Ducks. Then you have the Oilers, Coyotes and Flames who could make a push for a playoff spot as well.
So let’s take a look at next season’s playoffs. The new format guarantees at least three teams from each division to qualify for the post season, the Division winner and second and third place. However, two more teams can qualify for the playoffs in a wild card spot based on point totals.
The two wild card spots go to the top two teams, not already qualified for the playoffs, between the Pacific and Central Division.
That makes it is possible for the Pacific Division, and any Division for that matter, to have five representatives in the playoffs.
What do you think, will the Pacific Division be a full house and get five teams into the playoffs? Will four teams make the post season? Or will the Pacific only have the three teams that qualify by default? Vote below, sound off in the comment section below and on our Facebook and Twitter pages.