If the NHL Lockout does not wipe out the entire 2012-2013 NHL season [although at this point, wouldn't it simply be called the 2013 NHL season, as all 2012 games have been cancelled?], it appears as if the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets would switch conferences in a shortened season.
The NHL is considering moving Winnipeg to the Western Conference’s Central Division and Columbus to the Eastern Conference’s Southeast Division in the event of a shortened 2013 season, according to Larry Brooks of the New York Post. A four or five month season in the Southeast Division would magnify Winnipeg’s travel requirements, but a shift to the Central Division would all the Jets to play road games in their own time zone.
Of course, there are a lot of ifs in this scenario. First off, this move would only be temporary. It is strictly in the case of a shortened season following a lengthy lockout that will have wiped out at least half the season.
And that is only if the latest proposal is accepted and the NHL takes the ice again within the next few weeks. If not, we are looking at a repeat of 2004-2005, where the entire season was lost, including the All-Star Game, playoffs and Stanley Cup Finals. That could be the case once again if this current deal does not lead to a new agreement.
Second, these are still just rumors. After all, this is not the first time that the NHL has toyed with the thought of realignment. In 2011, the league came up with a new plan that would have affected numerous teams, only to change its mind once again and nullify the proposal the following year.
It turns out that when it comes to the NHL, nothing is a sure thing. No proposal is ever a safe bet.