The rumor mill was abuzz today about the possibility that a move of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg was imminent. The rumor appears to be untrue -- at least the part about it being imminent -- but a move of the Thrashers to Winnipeg would actually be a great thing for us long-time Minnesota hockey fans, much more so than the Coyotes moving there. Why? Because this would cause a logical realignment that would be great for Wild fans, and might be good for the team as well.
It would make no sense whatsoever to leave a Winnipeg team in the Eastern Conference. The logical place for them to move would be the Northwest Division where they can play with three other Canadian teams. This leaves a vacancy in the Southeast Division, which would most sensibly be filled by the Nashville Predators. So then who would take Nashville's spot in the Central? It would have to be the Wild.
The thought of putting the Wild back into the old Norris Division (swapping Columbus for Toronto, of course), would be great for old-school fans who remember the rivalries of old. It would also be great for current fans who want to travel to see the Wild; all of the Central Division teams are closer to us geographically than our current closest geographic division-mates now (the Avalanche). It would also be great for the Wild, as it would shorten their overall travel and spare them at least one long Canadian road trip per year.
It wouldn't work out quite this well if it were the Coyotes moving, obviously, so a big thank you to Glendale for making sure the Coyotes stay put one more year. But as a Wild fan, I really hope this Thrashers-to-Winnipeg deal gets done so we can perhaps get back to our classic rivalries.