New division names were released earlier this week and it has finally set in to me that we're no longer part of the "SouthLeast". I'll miss the division personally, but I could be alone on that since I still sometimes miss having Atlanta and the Technicolor Thrashers visit. However, change is good and this should be very good for the Canes in my opinion. The team should experience more revenue from increased ticket sales due to more attractive divisional opponents and we get the chance to see every Western team each season. In addition to the attendance bump, being in the same division as a number of the larger markets should also raise our profile.
Having said that, there is no getting around the fact that the Hurricanes path to the playoffs just got tougher. As I read reactions from a number of fans from around the league one thing is apparent - most fanbases seem to think their new division is the toughest.
The question I pose is this: Which division going forward is the toughest from top to bottom, the hardest night-in and night-out and why. The more I've thought about the new divisional alignment, the more I have trouble picking a bad division. I lean towards the Pacific being the toughest as you have five really good teams. If the Oilers finally put it together on the ice then you have a really stacked division.