I recently finished a paper on realignment with friend and colleague Bill Pulleyblank. The purpose of the project was to determine solutions to realignment that minimize travel for the league. We also compare our best solutions to the NHL 4-conference proposal from around a year ago.
I also wrote a couple of articles about it on Hockey
Prospectus. Links to everything, plus some animations that are discussed in the second Hockey Prospectus article, can be found on the Realignment page.