How the Arizona Coyotes reported move to Salt Lake City impacts the Chicago Blackhawks

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks will reportedly no longer have to travel to Phoenix to play hockey.

According to reports, the NHL is going to announce that the Arizona Coyotes are moving to Salt Lake City to start playing there next season. The Coyotes have been unable to secure a new permanent home in Arizona. They are currently playing at Arizona State's 5000-seat Mullett Arena.

The recent idea that Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo could win a state-run bid to secure a plot big enough to build a new stadium was considered too risky by the league.

Instead, the NHL will buy out Meruelo with the promise that an expansion franchise can return to Phoenix if Meruelo can secure a sound stadium plan. Even though it is clear that hockey has never really taken off in the desert, it is still a media market the NHL wants to abandon.

The league will then turn around and sell the Coyotes to Ryan and Ashley Smith, who own the Utah Jazz. The Coyotes will move to Salt Lake and play at the Delta Center starting next season.

How will this impact the Chicago Blackhawks?

First, it just means Hawks fans who retired down to Arizona will not be able to catch the Hawks once or twice a year.

The biggest effect might be the divisions have to be reshuffled. There is speculation that the Colorado Avalanche and Salt Lake City will move to the Pacific Division while the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames go to the Central Division.

It is just a swap of two teams that are normally at the top of the standings in Colorado and Edmonton and two teams at the bottom of the standings in the Coyotes and Flames.

It also means that if the Blackhawks ever return to playoff contention, they could draw a matchup with the Oilers and the Flames.

Also, in that instance, the league could potentially sell battles of Connor McDavid and Connor Bedard battling it out for the Central Division's top spot. Otherwise, not much is going to change for the Hawks. All the players still under contract for the Coyotes will be on the team. They will just be playing in the mountains of Salt Lake City instead of the Arizona desert.