Major realignment has been approved today by the Board of Governors as the NHL will implement a new four conference format starting in 2012-2013.
The Penguins conference will consist of the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes.
Seven team conferences which the Penguins are in, will play teams within their conference six times in a season. Therefore, the Penguins will play the Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Capitals, Flyers and Hurricanes six times. The Penguins will play the remaining 23 teams in a home and home series.
Four teams from each of the conferences will make the playoffs in what will be two rounds of conference play.
The first round of the playoffs will consist of 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3: Winner of 1 vs 4 will play winner of 2 vs 3 in the second round.
The final two rounds have yet to be decided, according to the NHL. However, the setup of four conferences instead of two, leaves the possibility open that for example, Boston and Pittsburgh could meet in the Stanley Cup Final
After plans of the Penguins joining the Northeast division teams being scrapped over a month ago, the Penguins made out nicely.
The current Northeast division will now include Tampa Bay and Florida who will join Boston, Montreal, Buffalo, Ottawa and Toronto in the second seven team conference.
There will also be two eight team conferences:
Detroit, Chicago, Dallas, Minnesota, Columbus, St. Louis, Winnipeg and Nashville in one eight team conference.
Calgary, Edmonton, Anaheim, Colorado, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver and Los Angeles will consist of another eight team conference.