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NHL Realignment: What It Means For Rangers, Islanders And Devils

The National Hockey League approved radical realignment changes Monday night, and by now local hockey fans are talking or wondering how the changes could affect the New York Rangers, Islanders and New Jersey Devils. Well, at SB Nation's hockey hubpage, editor Travis Hughes has done just that.

WELCOME BACK, PAT: New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins.

For these teams, the changes are minimal. A little extra travel with the balanced schedule, but nothing that an Eastern team gets to complain about. All the regional rivalries stay intact, and get amped up quite a bit with the new playoff format.

Making the playoffs will get a little harder, as there are at least five legitimate, perennial playoff contenders in the grouping, but the Patrick Division was always a ton of fun, and as the most-regional of all these regional conferences, this one has the greatest chance of turning into a blood bath every single season.

Meanwhile, SB Nation's Nashville Predators blog On The Forecheck took a look at how the realignment will affect each franchise's travel arrangements. According to the numbers, the Rangers will travel an average of just 177 miles per road contest, while Devils travel a bit less (173 miles) and the Islanders a bit more (193). On average, the amount of travel done by teams in the Rangers-Islanders-Devils league grouping is 222 miles. The largest average of travel comes from a Western grouping, which travels 838 miles per trip.

-- For more information on the NHL realignment, check out this special StoryStream at SB Nation.