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Seattle is making its case to become the NHL's 32nd team.
Formally invited to apply for an expansion franchise, Seattle is expected to submit a bid backed by billionaire David Bonderman and film producer Jerry Bruckheimer.
Seattle would mark the NHL's first entry into the Pacific Northwest and bring geographic parity to a league that currently includes 16 teams in the Eastern Conference and one less in the West.
Seattle would also be a natural fit in the Pacific Division. But, as it already has eight clubs, one would need to be bumped to the Central, thus giving the NHL four divisions of eight teams each.
A better option could be to realign into eight divisions of four teams. Here's our proposal:
Seattle is a perfect fit in the newly created Northwest Division, which includes the three Western Canadian teams. All three could offer travelling fan bases to the NHL's newest city, while Seattle would also serve as a natural rival to Vancouver. That's something the Canucks are very much in favor of, residing less than 150 miles away.
The Golden Knights will require little travel, slotted into a division with the three California clubs.
Prior to the NHL's last realignment, Arizona and Dallas shared a home in the old Pacific Division. The two could be roommates again in this newly created Mountain Division. The proposed division covers two time zones differing by just one hour. The Coyotes would also make frequent trips to their former home in Winnipeg.
The remaining clubs from the current Central Division remain grouped together, with the division name staying intact too.
Snowbirds from Western New York and Michigan will have plenty of opportunity to see the Sabres and Red Wings in warmer locales, as they're paired with the Panthers and Lightning.
Boston hockey fans could be considered honorary Canadians in their new grouping with the Canadiens, Senators, and Maple Leafs. Even better, any matchup within the division can be considered a rivalry.
Plenty of time will be spent on the bus in the lightly traveled Metropolitan Division.
The former Southeast Division returns and features two key rivalries - the classic Penguins-Capitals, and the budding Blue Jackets-Penguins.
Expansion into Seattle would provide opportunity for radical realignment