AHL Realigns, Milwaukee Joins the Midwest Division along with Western Conference Newbie Charlotte

The AHL has announced a new format for determining playoff teams in 2011-2012, with the league splitting from four divisions to six divisions of five teams each.

Charlotte got bumped into the Western Conference.  Meanwhile, St. John’s (formerly Manitoba) treks to the East.  Western teams can all breath a sign of relief that they won’t have to make the voyage to Newfoundland on a regular basis.

The exact number of games against in-division teams and in-conference teams has yet to be determined.  However, the playoff format is set to go, with the first round being a best of five series followed by best of seven series in the remaining three rounds.  The three division winners from each conference will claim the top three spots (just like the current NHL format), and each conference will reseed the highest-to-lowest remaining teams after the first round (again just like the current NHL format).

Here is a breakdown of the new divisions, directly from a press release from the AHL:

Western Conference
North Division

Grand Rapids Griffins (DET)
Hamilton Bulldogs (MTL)
Lake Erie Monsters (COL)
Rochester Americans (BUF)
Toronto Marlies (TOR)

Midwest Division
Charlotte Checkers (CAR)
Chicago Wolves (VAN)
Milwaukee Admirals (NSH)
Peoria Rivermen (STL)
Rockford IceHogs (CHI)

West Division
Abbotsford Heat (CGY)
Houston Aeros (MIN)
Oklahoma City Barons (EDM)
San Antonio Rampage (FLA)
Texas Stars (DAL)

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division

Manchester Monarchs (LA)
Portland Pirates (PHX)
Providence Bruins (BOS)
St. John’s (WPG)
Worcester Sharks (SJ)

Northeast Division
Adirondack Phantoms (PHI)
Albany Devils (NJ)
Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NYI)
Connecticut Whale (NYR)
Springfield Falcons (CBJ)

East Division
Binghamton Senators (OTT)
Hershey Bears (WSH)
Norfolk Admirals (TB)
Syracuse Crunch (ANA)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (PIT)

So Roundtable:  Do you like the new division format?  Are you are excited for some new blood, Charlotte, to be frequenting the Bradley Center?  If you were the AHL commissioner, how would you breakdown the schedule with division, conference, and inter-conference games?

12 thoughts on “AHL Realigns, Milwaukee Joins the Midwest Division along with Western Conference Newbie Charlotte”

  1. I’m excited, though it sounds like I’m in the minority for Charlotte fans. I foresee at least 8 games between opponents within our division (which would mean two trips of two games to Charlotte for you guys). I’m hoping we don’t have to face much of the rest of the West though…. I want us to have a Rochester-like schedule, where we have a lot of games against our division, but not so many against the rest of the conference since the travel is prohibitive for us.

  2. If I was the AHL commish, I would be a neutered puppet of Eastern Conference teams that wants no part of getting on an airplane to play in the other division. Integrating Charlotte is going to be interesting.

  3. I like the smaller divisions and the NHL style of playoff seeding. Still thumbs down to the best of 5 in the first round

  4. Wilson and Stortini….great that they are two-way contracts….but there’s certainly a decent chance they’ll crack Nashville’s roster. I wouldn’t get my hopes up too much…..yet. But it sure would be nice to have them in MKE.

    Charlotte in the Midwest? I’m a little surprised that they put them with us instead of the Texas teams, and called it the South division. I figured we’d get Grand Rapids or Cleveland/Lake Erie.

    Anyway….Welcome to Charlotte! Can’t imagine we’ll see them nearly as many times as Chicago, Rockford, and Peoria….but it’ll be nice to get to know a new team. You can read more about them at the chasingcheckers.com blog.

    I hate the best of 5 series. Hate it hate it hate it hate it. Why would the league want to stunt what is arguably the most exciting part of the hockey season?

    I agree with Vlad — it’s the East’s league. We’re just playing in it.

  5. Don’t worry adsfan, I’m sure there will be plenty of Grand Rapids on the schedule regardless, although I thought it was odd that GR isn’t in our division as well.

  6. Brian, I looked at last year’s schedule, the Ads played 8 against GR, but 2 were in the last week of the season. One road game was at 11 AM, so it seemed like fewer games.

    I would like to see 10 or 12 games each against the divisional rivals. Maybe 2 games each against all of the out of division Western conference teams. That makes 60 to 68 games out of 76. That leaves a little room for the Eastern Conference or doubling up on ABT, TEX, OKC.

  7. Nashville has resigned cal, spaling, and halischuk to one way deals and sounds like mueller got a two way deal.
    Off topic “big Mc” signed a one year deal with my fav nhl team, buffalo!!!!

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