During last years realignment debate several things became apparent. Some of them are league needs, some are player needs and some are fan and or team needs.

  1. Realignment needs to preserve as many major rivalries as possible.
  2. Travel should be as equal as possible given the concentration of teams.
  3. Every team should have a mathematically equal shot at a division title.
  4. Every team should play every team.
  5. Care should be taken so that teams with growing markets have the best footing possible without cutting the legs off the established teams.

That said, the three by ten model is the most logical for all those reasons and more. With five division winners in each conference every team should be in the chase each season. More titles means more division championship t-shirts, hats and other merchandise. A schedule that include a home and away date between all thirty teams also means teams like Phoenix and Columbus will see Crosby yearly, the Carolina Hurricanes will host the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings

Basic setup:

  • Three team divisions
  • Five divisions per conference
  • 8 games against the other two teams in your division for a total of 16
  • 3 games against the other 12 teams in your conference for a total of 36
  • 2 games against the 15 teams in the other conference for a total of 30.
  • Same 82 game schedule length.

Yes three games against conference rivals means one home and two away some years and the reverse the other. Ideally two division pairings would alternate year by year so schedule maker, fans and media can have a decent idea of what to plan for each season even before the official schedule is released.

Possible Divisions:


  • California: Sharks, Kings, Ducks
  • Mountain: Avalanche, Coyotes, Stars
  • Canada West: Flames, Oilers, Canucks
  • Plains: Jets, Wild, Blues
  • Lakes: Blackhawks, Red Wings, Predators


  • Southeast: Panthers, Lightning, Hurricanes
  • Appalachian: Blue Jackets, Penguins, Flyers
  • Eastern Interior: Capitals, Maple Leafs , Sabres
  • Metro: Rangers, Islanders, Devils
  • Northeast: Senators, Bruins, Canadiens

An argument can be made for flipping the Senators and Leafs based on how much the teams have show they are willing to spend over the last few years, but geographically this puts Washington’s two division rivals as close as can be without putting them into a division with the Flyers and Penguins. There is also the argument that the Red Wings should be moving east and not the Blue Jackets. For that I’ll point out the west needs the Wings as a draw to small market teams. Columbus is also at the end of a highway from Pittsburgh and driving to and from there, giving it a rival within easy driving distance.

About Puck Sage

PuckSage.com is a hockey site focusing on the NHL, the playing style of teams and players with analysis and the occasional predictions. If it doesn't involve what happens on ice, I won't be writing about it. About Me: Writer! Here. write hockey. I can be found on Twitter @PuckSage on Google+ and my Facebook Page is handily listed on the main page here. Radio Personality: Guest Hockey expert on WATD 95.9FM Hockey lover, cognac drinker, lover of good steak, good music, and things that make me laugh. I hate cats, cat people, sloppy hockey and vegans.

3 Thoughts on “Realignment: The Three By Ten Model

  1. move the senators and the sabres to create a great lakes division in the east along with toronto

    • pucksage on July 22, 2012 at 5:03 PM said:

      So you’d put the Capitals in the division with the Bruins and Canadiens and go: Senators, Sabres, Toronto? That division sorta works, but part of the lineup was based on actual market size and the Caps can’t compete with the Bruins and Habs, plus the Sens, Sabres and Toronto are almost the same market anyway… Still, it could work. 

      •  is their a salary cap or something of that sort in the nhl? i dont really pay attention to money matters in hockey as i do with other sports. hockey is about the only sport where i dont stress myself with that.. i just go and watch  and have fun lol

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