After reading John Manasso's piece today on realignment, it sounds like a compromise agreement may not be as difficult as it once seemed if the primary goals are to keep opposite coast trips to a minimum and have a more balanced schedule.
It looks like the Predators would like to stay in the Western Conference as long as Detroit does too. Detroit appears willing to stay in the West if they could only head to California once a year. Under those parameters, Columbus would be the best choice to go East.
The least disruptive thing to do would be to keep the six five-team Division format. Dallas could replace Columbus in the Central. Colorado could drop down to the Pacific, and Winnipeg could fit into a Northwest Division with Minnesota and the other three Western Canada teams.
The East is harder to reshuffle, because Columbus would be an odd fit in the Southeast and the other two divisions have rivalries that you would not want to disrupt. I'll let someone else figure that one out.
Under this format, teams could return to playing the other four teams in their division eight times a year for a total of 32 games. Then they would play the other 25 teams, home and away, each year for another 50 games, which would magically produce the 82 game schedule that the league currently has.
There is a theory that the simplest solution to a problem is often the best, so why could this not work. It would keep teams closer to their home time zone more often and make for less trips to California for Eastern teams every year. Fans could see every team at home each season and beef up divisional rivalries.
We should know what will be decided by early December. I'd like to see what others will propose.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass