With the departure of the Atlanta Thrashers and the re-emergence of the Winnipeg Jets, the NHL is facing potential realignment in the coming seasons. Many people are using the adjectives "dramatic" and "huge" when talking about the realigning, which would occur for the 2012-2013 season. Make the jump for more, including how it affects our Sharks.
The theory right now, first reported by The Sporting News, says that the league is looking to implement a four-division format, with two divisions having eight teams and two divisions having seven teams. As noted by most, there are a couple teams who want to move to the Eastern Conference, those teams being the Detroit Red Wings and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
There was a little bit of shuffling expected with the Jets coming back, obviously to get them into the proper division, but them outright setting in motion a realignment is kind of surprising. I say "kind of" because realignment makes sense for a myriad of reasons. The two teams mentioned above obviously have a point, they should be playing in the Eastern Conference. For rivalries and travel, it makes perfect sense. As it stands now, we won't know much until the league has a chance to listen to what every club has to say in regards to realignment.
So how does this affect our San Jose Sharks? It doesn't a whole lot, except for the fact that the Red Wings are one of the teams potentially on their way out, which is pretty big. Sure, the Sharks have beat them the last two seasons in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but wouldn't it be great if they didn't have to? It'd be much nicer to have the meeting between the two in, dare I say, the finals.