Winnipeg Jets to Central?: 2012-13 NHL Divisional Alignments

Stefan KubusAnalyst IAugust 7, 2011

The Winnipeg Jets will undoubtedly need a new divisional home for the 2012-13 season. They're set to play out of the Southeast Division as a result of Atlanta's relocation. Seeing that they are nowhere near the southeast, a realignment of the divisions will be necessary.

A report out of Minnesota from July 12 says that the Jets will play in the Central Division come 2012.

According to Wild owner Craig Leipold, the Central Division will consist of the Wild, Jets, Predators, Blackhawks, Stars and Blue Jackets.

Very interesting, though this report may not really hold any water at all. If it does, it would mean a number of things. First, that the Blues and Red Wings would have new homes—possibly opening up the long-awaited gate to the Eastern Conference for Detroit. I'm going to attempt to sort the rest out here in a second.

This is all hypothetical of course and is based off of this report that may or may not be true... 

This would kinda make everything a mess. So the best I could do is this:

The Wings would go to the Northeast, Boston would go to the Atlantic (just because I don't think they would want four of the six Original Six in the same division—though it would be great for hockey) and New Jersey could move to the Southeast.

ST PAUL, MN - JUNE 24:  Winnipeg Jets hockey fans cheer on during day one of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center on June 24, 2011 in St Paul, Minnesota.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

If not Boston, then Buffalo could shift to the Atlantic, and we would have three New York teams in the same conference, which would be fantastic for rivalries.

In the West, the Blues would then move to the Northwest somehow, and Colorado to the Pacific. This alignment doesn't make much sense. I just can't see that Central division actually happening, which it probably won't.

My ideal solution, under the current six-division format, would just be to stick the Jets in the Northwest, move Colorado to the Pacific, Dallas to the Central and I would love to see the Wings move East. 

There's a major change that would set me at ease for a long time, however. The league should just do away with the divisions altogether. It sickens me sometimes to see teams that win their division automatically get the top three seeds in each conference, even when achieving less points than a team placed below them. 

There should simply be two conferences: one in the West, and one in the Cast. The top eight teams who finish with the most points from each conference make the playoffs. Sounds fair to me.

Back to reality though.

Looking at the above map (which I sure hope you were using to follow along with me here), assuming they do it geographically, it makes most sense for Winnipeg and Nashville to swap positions—moving the Preds to the Southeast and Jets to the Central.

That simple move could save the league from a huge headache, though it wouldn't be nearly as exciting.

Sorry, Mr. Leipold, but I'm not buying your story.