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Report: Major National Hockey League realignment in works

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By The Associated Press
Monday, June 27, 2011

Spurred by the Atlanta Thrashers' move to Winnipeg, the NHL is planning significant realignment for the 2012-13 season, Sporting News reported.

An unnamed NHL executive was quoted as saying realignment would be "more dramatic" and lead to an entirely different format for the league.

The leading plan, Sporting News reported, is to move from six divisions of five teams apiece to four divisions -- two with eight teams each and two with seven. This could be achieved by moving the Jets to the Western Conference and sending the West's eastern-most teams -- Columbus, Detroit and Nashville -- to the Eastern Conference.

The plan reportedly could be finalized at the NHL's Board of Governors meeting in December. Winnipeg will play this coming season in the Southeast Division with Washington, Carolina, Tampa Bay and Florida.

Smyth back with Oilers

The Los Angeles Kings on Sunday traded Ryan Smyth to the Edmonton Oilers for forward Colin Fraser and a seventh-round pick in the 2012 draft.

Smyth, 35, had 23 goals and 24 assists in 82 games last season. He started his NHL career with the Oilers in 1994 and spent more than a decade with them before being dealt to the New York Islanders in a trade-deadline deal in 2007.

His return to Edmonton had been rumored for days, but the deal hit several snags before the sides came to an agreement. Fraser had three goals and two assists in 67 games last season.

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