With the Phoenix Coyotes and Atlanta Thrashers in a deep financial hole, and with speculation of relocating in the past few years, I wanted to discuss the possibility of division realignment. Let's just assume the Winnipeg Jets and Quebec Nordiques both return in the 2011-12 or 2012-13 season. The Winnipeg Jets would most likely move to the Northwest Division forcing (most likely to me) the Colorado Avalanche to the Pacific Division.
As for the Atlanta Thrashers, if they moved to Quebec and became the Nordiques, I would place them in the Northeast Division kicking out the Toronto Maple Leafs. Why would I kick out Toronto? So they could be rivals once again with the Hawks, Wings, and Blues in the Central Division. This is where I decide to either kick out the Columbus Blue Jackets or Nashville Predators. I move the Predators to the Southeast Division (since it's in the region), despite the recent rivalry between the Hawks and Preds. Even though moving Toronto to the Central will force the Leafs from playing rivals like the Canadiens and Senators 6 times a year, this brings them back to the old Norris Division days. As for the Montreal Canadiens they will have retained the old Nordiques rivalry.
This also gives a little more balance of strength in the Eastern Conference and the Southeast Division.
Of course they're are many different options, but to me this seems like a good fit for the NHL in the near future. As for old rivals and Original Six matches that are non-conference games, the NHL needs to get something done with having 2 games played with each other instead of 1. For the Hawks this year against Eastern Conference Original six foes, they only see them once.
Here's what my NHL Division realignment would look like if the Coyotes and Thrashers relocate. Something you can also do in NHL 11 season mode.