NHL Realignment Not Kind To Florida Panthers

By Andy Schmidt
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

There was bound to be a team or two that got the short end of the stick when realignment was announced in the NHL, and I really think one of those teams was the Florida Panthers.

Florida moves into a division that is basically all based in the Northeast except for the Tampa Bay Lightning. I know that the point of realignment was to get more teams into the same time zone for the majority of their games, but someone was going to be forced to travel farther than their peers. Florida is those teams that has the long flights ahead to the northeast.

When I look at how the divisions were set up, most of it is fairly well put together, but the Eastern Conference is the one that needed a team or two switched between divisions. Florida would have better suited by geography to remain with teams like the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes instead of the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils.

There was no way that everyone was going to be happy and if the NHL decides to expand again, I’m sure that there will be more changes that happen.

When the 2013-14 season gets started though, the Panthers are going to be the team with the longest travel, and with a weak team already on the ice. I don’t believe that things are going to get much better. I’m sure Florida would love to see another team come back to a city like Atlanta so maybe they would have a shorter trip in future years.

Andy Schmidt is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ASchmidtSports, like his Facebook page or add him to your network on Google.

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