Hours before Game 5 between Wilkes-Barre and Manchester on Tuesday, the AHL announced divisional realignment for the 2015-16 season. Here’s a visual look at the new divisions courtesy of the AHL…
There is a link in that embedded tweet to link off of but if you are on your phone or the image doesn’t show, here’s the deal.
The East Division is no more. The Penguins, Hershey Bears and Lehigh Valley Phantoms will join forces with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Hartford Wolf Pack, Portland Pirates, Providence Bruins and Springfield Falcons in the new and improved Atlantic Division.
Wait, what!? The Portland Pirates and Penguins are in the same division together? Huh?!
It’s true. If you look at the other divisions, you will see all five New York teams in the same division with St. John’s and Toronto. Yes, the Marlies are in the Eastern Conference next season along with Rochester and Utica.
The AHL went from three divisions to two, with an 8-7 Conference split. Opening Night is October 9. They will finalize how teams qualify for playoffs this June, but you have to figure it’s top four in each of the divisions with eight teams, top three in the two division with seven teams and then a crossover wild card between the fifth best team in the division with eight teams and the fourth best team in the division with seven teams.
Anyway, here’s a quick refresher on the new teams in the new Atlantic Division:
||New York Islanders
||New York Rangers
* – won division in 2014-15
^ – affiliation with Washington hasn’t been formally announced yet by either side but is listed on the AHL’s 2015-16 NHL Affiliations Page.
# – Portland was affiliated with Arizona last season.
## – Springfield was affiliated with Columbus last season.
I’ll have lots more stuff in the coming days. I need your help with the next blog post. No, literally. You’ll see what I mean when it goes up Friday.