How we go to two conferences with say ten teams and shorten the regular season by thirty games? Get rid of teams in places like LA, Florida, Phoenix, Nashville, San Jose, Dallas, etc. Plus axe some of the under-competitive teams like the Islanders and Blue Jackets. Maybe put a team or two in northern markets like Seattle and have the playoffs end by say Early April instead of June.
Getting rid of Dallas would be quite popular with the other teams seeing that they are so good right now. I used to say that only cities where they actually have high school hockey in public schools should be allowed to have NHL franchises. All kidding about geographical discrimination aside.. A more competitive league qualifying system like they use in European Club Soccer/Football sounds intriguing. They have several dozen teams, but only the top 18 get to play in the country's Primiere League, La Liga, etc. Then the best of those get to play in the international Champion's League matches.
That wouldn't work too well in the NHL. Can you imagine the riots if the Leafs or Habs got dropped out of the NHL?