The National Hockey League Players' Association has given its approval to the NHL's proposed re-alignment plan.
NHLPA executive director Don Fehr released a statement on Thursday, saying, "After discussions with the Executive Board, the NHLPA has given consent to realignment, to be re-evaluated following the 2014-15 season."
In an NHL memo obtained by TSN last week, the league proposed an Eastern Conference with 16 teams and a Western Conference with 14 teams.
Most notably, the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets will move East, while the Winnipeg Jets will move back West. The Jets have been playing in the Southeast Division since the Atlanta Thrashers franchise moved north to Winnipeg prior to last season.
A vote from the NHL Board of Governors is expected within a week to make the plan official.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly also released a statement on Thursday, saying, "The NHL Players' Association confirmed to us today that it has consented to a revised Plan for Realignment, effective for the 2013-14 season. Our next step will be to bring the proposed Plan for Realignment to the NHL Board of Governors for its consideration. We will update the status of the process as future developments warrant."
The divisional re-alignment, as outlined in the memo, would be as follows:
Pacific Division: Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose and Vancouver.
Mid-West Division: Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis and Winnipeg.
Central Division: Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Toronto.
Atlantic Division: Carolina, Columbus, New Jersey, N.Y. Islanders, N.Y. Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington.
The top three teams in each division would make the playoffs, along with the four wild-card teams - the best two non-division winners in each conference.