A further look at realignment - LA Kings Insider

Some interesting comments last night on the NHL’s realignment. I’ll stick with the theory that, looking only at the Kings, the change is basically a wash in terms of travel. The “winners,’’ it would seem, are the Central teams that should now have easier travel, and that was essentially the main point of realignment, to try to appease teams such as Columbus, Dallas and Detroit.

In terms of an “East Coast bias,’’ a big part of the problem is simple geography. There is a large number of teams bunched up in the Northeast part of the continent, and very few along the West Coast. There’s almost nothing that is going to change that, unless the NHL disregards geography altogether and mixes West, Central and East teams in the same conference. Other than that, the Northeast teams are always going to have an inherent travel advantage.

It would have been nice, though, if the teams that already enjoy a significant travel advantage didn’t also have an easier path to the playoffs. Consider the Kings and the New York Rangers. The Kings will have to finish ahead of at least four teams to make the playoffs. The Rangers only have to beat out three. The Kings (and Ducks) have three teams in their conference that are more than 1,000 miles away. None of the Rangers’ conference opponents are more than 450 miles away. This is fair? And that’s not to single out the Rangers. It’s just one example. And yes, the Northeast teams will travel more than they currently do, but their current travel schedule is a farce compared to teams in other regions.

On the other hand, you can also see where the NHL is leaving itself a Phoenix Option. Let’s say, hypothetically, the Coyotes move to Quebec. Then the Kings could end up in a seven-team conference — but with increased travel — and one of the two Eastern conferences would pick up an eighth team.

Finally, what will the four conferences be named? Do you think the NHL would accept, “Gretzky,’’ “Howe,’’ “Orr’’ and “Mikus’’ as suggestions?

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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

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

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.