The NHL embraced its first major realignment since 1998 when the board of governors voted to switch to a new four-conference format that will also guarantee that every team will play the other 29 teams at least twice every season.
The breakdown of the four new conferences:
East 1: New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Carolina and Washington
East II: Florida, Tampa, Montreal, Toronto, Buffalo, Ottawa and Boston.
Central: Columbus, Detroit, Winnipeg, Nashville, Dallas, Minnesota, St. Louis and Chicago
West: Phoenix, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Vancouver, Colorado, Edmonton and Calgary
Sixteen teams will still make the playoffs, and the first two rounds of the playoffs will be within the conference.
"I think it's good for almost everybody in the league," Nashville Predators general manager David Poile said. "We know this is a very contentious issue … but at the end of the day, everyone went in the direction of doing what's right for the league."
Realignment became necessary because the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg and the Jets needed to be moved to the West.
The NHL had moved to six divisions in 1998 to accommodate the latest wave of expansion.