Hypothetical NHL realignment

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If the Atlanta Thrashers move to Winnipeg as TSN.ca’s Darren Dreger reports is becoming more of a possibility, the NHL will have to realign. Please note that none of this is official and all hypothetical guesses – but playoff hockey doesn’t return to Washington for two more days at least, so enjoy:

The Whyno Theory

The Southeast Division needs another team. The closest realistic option? The Nashville Predators. To fill out the Central Division, the Minnesota Wild slide closer to the rest of that group and the new team in Manitoba moves into the Northwest.

Atlantic, Northeast, Pacific remain the same.

Southeast: Caps, Hurricanes, Lightning, Predators, Panthers

Central: Red Wings, Wild, Blues, Blackhawks, Blue Jackets

Northwest: Canucks, Winnipeg/Manitoba, Oilers, Flames, Avalanche

The Make The Red Wings Happy Theory

Detroit reportedly has first dibs on moving into the Eastern Conference and sparing themselves of the brutal Western travel if a spot opens up. But to appease the Red Wings, some changes need to be made – including the Pens and Caps seeing a whole lot of each other.

Atlantic: Flyers, Islanders, Devils, Rangers, Bruins

Northeast: Maple Leafs, Canadiens, Senators, Red Wings, Sabres

Southeast: Caps, Hurricanes, Lightning, Penguins, Panthers

Central: Wild, Blues, Blackhawks, Blue Jackets, Predators

Northwest: Canucks, Winnipeg/Manitoba, Oilers, Flames, Avalanche

Pacific (same): Stars, Sharks, Kings, Ducks, Coyotes

The Save The Blue Jackets Theory

Columbus, like Detroit, would love to move East. If the NHL would rather give a newer franchise like the Blue Jackets a better chance to survive, they get moved into the Eastern Conference and become the northernmost and westernmost team in the Southeast.

Atlantic, Northeast, Pacific remain the same.

Southeast: Caps, Hurricanes, Lightning, Blue Jackets, Panthers

Central: Wild, Red Wings, Blackhawks, Predators, Blues

Northwest: Canucks, Flames, Oilers, Avalanche, Winnipeg/Manitoba

The Radical Realignment Theory

It’s too much of a pain to worry about three divisions in each conference, so here’s how Detroit moves East without messing everything up:

Eastern Conference

Howe Division

Red Wings, Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Senators, Sabres, Bruins, Penguins

Patrick Division

Caps, Flyers, Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Hurricanes, Panthers, Lightning

Hull Division

Blackhawks, Wild, Predators, Blues, Blue Jackets, Stars, Avalanche

Gretzky Division

Oilers, Kings, Flames, Canucks, Winnipeg/Manitoba, Coyotes, Ducks, Sharks

Have another idea? Leave it in the comments and maybe Gary Bettman will like your theory better.

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