Division realignment looks like a go for the New York Rangers

National Hockey League, NHL

A temporary division realignment is almost finalized for the New York Rangers for the upcoming season. The information comes from NHL insider Pierre LeBrun of TSN after the NHL held a Board of Governors call Wednesday.

The new realignment was also recently confirmed by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.



According to the information, this is what the league’s realignment currently looks like:

Toronto-Ottawa-Winnipeg-Vancouver-Calgary-Montreal-Edmonton
Boston-Buffalo-NYI-NewYork Rangers-New Jersey-Philly-Pittsburgh-Washington
Tampa-Florida-Nashville-Carolina-Columbus-Detroit-Chicago-Minnesota
San Jose-LA-Anaheim-Vegas-Colorado-Arizona-Dallas-St. Louis

This realignment would allow scheduling that the majority of players and owners think the upcoming NHL season should feature, which is MLB-style three-game series, as first reported by ESPN’s Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski. Owners and players would prefer not to have any kind of bubble during the season, but having three games in five or six days would provide some kind of bubble-like protection.

With COVID-19 still rearing its ugly head across North America, using hybrid bubbles or hubs is still reportedly a possibility. If a hub city is used, teams would travel to a location for two weeks to play around 10 games. A squad would then return home for a week before going back to the hub. A hybrid bubble would be similar to the playoff bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton, but not nearly as strict.

New Jersey, Columbus, and Las Vegas are reportedly three U.S. cities receiving attention to be potential hubs. Arenas in all three areas are home to only one primary tenant, with two sheets of ice on-site or nearby and enough hotel accommodations. This would also keep the Rangers relatively close to home.

The downside of this plan is if it has to be implemented, it may push back the start of the season from its reported date of January 13. The two sides are aiming to play either a 52- or 56-game schedule, as opposed to the traditional 82-game season.