The topic of realignment hasn’t come up at all in CBA negotiations, but if a new deal is reached to save the season we might see two teams trade conferences.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports there’s talk within the NHL of having the Columbus Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets trading spots for this year only pending future realignment. The benefit here during a possible 48-game schedule is on travel.
If the Jets start a shortened season in the Southeast Division once again, travel for them would be murderous over the course of the four or five month season. Columbus staying in the Central Division wouldn’t be much better for them travel-wise and certainly wouldn’t be helpful competitively.
On the upside, we’d get to have that awkward “Rick Nash returns to Columbus as a New York Ranger” game right away this season. There’d also be Sergei Bobrovsky’s revenge match with Philadelphia to look forward to as well.
If it’s just a one-season fix, it works out just fine. It cuts down on manic travel for a couple teams in awkward positions and opens the door for things to be fixed for good in the offseason.
Plus, as Brooks so bluntly put it, you’re trading one non-playoff team for another one in the name of easing travel. Win-win situation.