Jets would have made the playoffs with realignment format

By: Tim Kolupanowich

@TimKolupan_

Evander Kane and the Winnipeg Jets would have had a better shot at the playoffs in the Western Conference. (Resolute/Wikimedia Commons)

Evander Kane and the Winnipeg Jets would have had a better shot at the playoffs in the Western Conference. (Resolute/Wikimedia Commons)

The NHL is realigning into four divisions next season with a brand new playoff format.

The top three teams in each division will make the playoffs and the top remaining two teams in the conference will make it in as a wild card. The division leader with the most points will play the wildcard with the fewest points, the division leaders with the second-most points will play the wildcard with the second-fewest points and the remaining two teams in each division will play each other.

Here is a look at the standings had this year been set up like next year will be. It’s not a perfect correlation, Detroit, Columbus and Winnipeg switch conferences and are matched up against teams they didn’t play a single game against, but it still gives a pretty good idea of how the standings would have looked. With those three teams so close in points, it’s likely they would have finished with similar records playing against either conference any way. Teams with an X next to them qualify for the postseason.

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In this scenario, Chicago would play the Jets in the first round instead of Minnesota, as they had fewer points than San Jose, the other wildcard team. Anaheim would face San Jose rather than Detroit while Vancouver and Los Angeles would play as the two and three seeds in their division as St. Louis and Minnesota play in theirs.

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In the Eastern Conference, the New York Islanders miss the playoffs thanks to Detroit moving over. The Penguins would take on the Senators, a matchup Ottawa just avoided for real with a win against the Bruins last night and despite them being in different divisions. Meanwhile Montreal takes on the Red Wings for the first time since 1978. Boston and Toronto remain opponents as do the Capitals and Rangers.

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