NHL realignment approved; new conferences - LA Kings Insider

The NHL’s Board of Governors has approved a realignment plan that will drastically alter the league’s landscape, both in the regular season and the playoffs. Here’s the link, and here’s how it impacts the Kings:

Instead of being part of a five-team league and a 15-team conference, the Kings will now be part of an eight-team conference, with Anaheim, Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Phoenix, San Jose and Vancouver. The Kings will play a total of 38 games against those teams — five or six games against each team, on an annual rotating basis — then have a home-and-home series with each of the league’s other 22 teams. The first two rounds of the playoffs will now be within the conference, meaning that in the Kings’ conference, the top four teams will make the playoffs and will play among each other, 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3, with the winners facing in a second-round conference championship. From there, the winners of the four conference mini-tournaments will make up a “final four” and will be seeded based on regular-season points.

Does this help the Kings, travel-wise? It seems to be a bit of a wash, comparing this season’s schedule to next season’s potential schedule. Here’s how the Kings’ road games break down, by time zone, this season:

Pacific: 10 games
Mountain: 7 games
Central: 12 games
Eastern: 12 games

And here is, potentially, how things might break down next season, depending on which conference teams the Kings play three times:

Pacific: 7 to 12 games
Mountain: 7 to 11 games
Central: 6 games
Eastern: 16 games

So, that’s more games in the East, but compensated by less travel to the Central and more to the Mountain. (Then again, two of those mountain teams, Calgary and Edmonton, are quite far away.) What do you think?

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Jeff Carter

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Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.