Do not get me wrong, the realignment needed to happen since the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg but Detroit should have not been the city to come to the Eastern Conference and here are my reasons why. First, four of the Original Six teams are in the Eastern Conference; leave two of them in the Western Conference. Secondly, you are cutting down the amount of time Detroit sees their arch rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Colorado Avalanche.
That is one of the most famous feuds in the Western Conference along with the Red Wings feud with the Colorado Avalanche.
Now that they are no longer going to be playing Chicago and Colorado on the same basis, who is going to be the team that will have the feud with Detroit? My picks are Boston or Philadelphia because those teams that have the grit and playing style to be the thorn in their sides. Boston might be the team that will give them a new rival because we have the agitator (Brad Marchand) along with the enforcers to drop the gloves (Thornton, Lucic, and McQuaid).
Detroit is one of the few teams in the Western Conference that can challenge the Blackhawks successfully. Without the Red Wings going up against the Blackhawks, the Blackhawks will have too much power and have an almost unfair advantage over the other Western Conference teams with the way they play. There are only three teams that could knock Chicago off their pedestals and all of them are in California.
Also, Detroit has the reputation of being a tough and physical team. That has been why they been the most successful team in the Western Conference with the amount of Stanley Cup wins and numerous playoff appearances. This is going to be an adjustment for all of the teams in the Eastern Conference who are not use to playing against them. There will be one advantage of the Red Wings coming to the Eastern Conference and that is if they make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals and face Chicago, it will make for a good series. Nothing is better than seeing two teams who have a lengthy history of hate towards watch other fight it out to win a championship.
My pick for the team to come to the Eastern Conference would be the Nashville Predators. This team is located the closest to all of the Eastern Conference teams and would not upset the power balance too much. Meaning, do not send a non-playoff contending team (Winnipeg Jets) and a super power (Red Wings) to realign the NHL teams. The Predators could benefit in the Eastern Conference by being challenged more frequently in this conference. They have come close to making the playoffs in the past which could help drive them to get into potential glory .There also would be another sibling feud for the Eastern Conference in the form of Tuukka Rask of the Bruins and his younger brother Joonas Rask once he makes it to full time NHL play.
Either way, it will take the full season to see if the realignment is successful. If it proves to a failure, the general populous will blame Bettman since he is the most hated man in the NHL.