The hopes and dreams of Winnipeg Jets hockey fans to be back in the Western Conference got the official seal of approval today, with NHL realignment becoming a reality following a vote by the Board of Governors earlier today.
In a release, the team stated stated that, "The Winnipeg Jets are now surrounded by a more geographically suitable grouping of rivals."
The Jets are currently placed in the West Division B, along with the Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars.
Under NHL realignment, the Winnipeg Jets will play their schedule as follows:
- 5 games will be played against 5 divisional opponents each, while one team will be played four times (the teams will be rotated year over year)
- 3 games against conference opponents
- 2 games against non-conference opponents
New Playoff Structure
With NHL realignment, playoff structure also changes, returning to divisional play. Each of the four divisions will automatically qualify its top three finishers, while four wild card positions (two in each of the Western and Eastern conferences) will round out each group of qualifiers. The difference is that the wild cards don't necessarily come one from each division.