The National Hockey League will present its proposed realignment plan to the Board of Governors after receiving consent from the National Hockey League Players' Association on Thursday.
If approved, the League's new realignment plan will go into effect starting with the 2013-14 season.
"The NHL Players' Association confirmed to us today that it has consented to a revised Plan for Realignment, effective for the 2013-14 season," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. "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 NHL worked in conjunction with the NHLPA to formulate this realignment plan.
"After discussions with the Executive Board, the NHLPA has given consent to realignment, to be re-evaluated following the 2014-15 season," NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr said in a statement.
While reserving comments until the official vote is taken by the Board of Governors, Tampa Bay General Manager Steve Yzerman acknowledged the proposed plan would increase travel for the Lightning.
"I understand the reason it's done and we'll move on," Yzerman said.
Daly confirmed to NHL.com on Thursday that in the NHL's proposed plan the League will be broken into a two-conference, four-division set up with 16 teams in the Eastern Conference and 14 teams in the Western Conference. The Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets would move to the Eastern Conference and the Winnipeg Jets would move to the Western Conference.
Daly also confirmed that the Stanley Cup Playoffs reportedly will still consist of 16 teams, eight in each conference, but the League is proposing a wild-card system in which the top three teams in each division make the playoffs and the remaining spots are filled by the two teams in each conference with the next most points.