Tuesday’s announcement that the Atlanta Thrashers will relocate to Winnipeg means realignment is coming to the NHL yet again.
For the 2011-12 season, the Winnipeg franchise will continue to be members of the Eastern Conference’s Southeast Division, but by the 2012-13 season, the squad will jump over to the Western Conference.
This move will likely have a ripple effect throughout the league as a Western Conference team will be forced to jump to the Eastern Conference. Based on geography, the three likely candidates to make the switch are the Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators.
Each team has a case for making the jump. Columbus makes sense because it is in the Eastern Time Zone, as is Detroit.
The Red Wings reportedly have strong interest in moving to the Eastern Conference, as team owner Mike Ilitch is rumored to already have a deal in place with the league to switch conferences.
Nashville also seems a strong possibility because adding the Predators to the Eastern Conference’s Southeast Division would keep travel costs low.
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