By John Vogl
NEWARK, N.J. -- Realignment is likely on its way.
The NHL Players' Association today approved the league's plan to create a 16-team Eastern Conference and 14-team Western Conference. The NHL's board of governors will next vote, and with expected approval the changes will be implemented next season.
"After discussions with the executive board, the NHLPA has given consent to realignment, to be re-evaluated following the 2014-15 season," union leader Donald Fehr said in a statement.
The East will have two eight-team divisions, while the West will have two with seven teams. Eight teams in each will make the playoffs, the top three in each division and two "wild cards" with the best record, regardless of division.
The Sabres' division will be: Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay and Toronto.