NHL Realignment for 1998-99
With the Nashville Predators joining the NHL in 1998-99 and three more teams joining in the following two years, the league voted to expand from four divisions to six. Nashville will join the Western Conference's Central Division. Note the Toronto Maple Leafs move from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference.
Eight teams from each conference will still make the playoffs, with the three division winners being the top three seeds and the five next-best teams filling out the bracket according to record.
In the 1999-2000 season, the Atlanta Thrashers will join the Eastern Conference's Southeast Division.
In the 2000-2001 season, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild will each join the Western Conference, with Columbus going to the Central Division and Minnesota to the Northwest. San Jose will also move from the Northwest to the Pacific.