With the Atlanta Thrashers moving to Winnipeg, NHL realignment is going to have to happen at some point. The NHL can't keep a team in Winnipeg in the Eastern Conference's Southeast Division, especially when teams like the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets are already jumping at a possible move from the West to the East.
Although a move to the East for the Red Wings in time for next season would be great, any changes to the NHL's divisions are going to have to wait until the 2012-13 season. With schedules nearly finalized for 2011-12, the NHL isn't going to shake up the divisions just yet, meaning speculation about which team will get the call to move East will continue to run rampant for the foreseeable future.
Although some believe the Red Wings should automatically be the team that gets moved to the East, the NHL hasn't told them anything about a potential change in conferences. In fact, Ken Holland said that all he knows about NHL realignment is from what he reads in the papers. That is a far cry from the Red Wings supposedly being told they will be at the top of the list to leave the Western Conference should a team in the East relocate.
Whatever the case, you can bet the Red Wings will ramp up the campaign to switch conferences. This is a move they have wanted to make for a long time, and now the opportunity is finally here to leave the West. Hopefully Gary Bettman and company take some notes from SB Nation Detroit's own rundown of NHL realignment scenarios and put the Wings in the East and in a division with a few fellow Original 6 teams starting in 2012-13.