So I don’t know if this is going to be any good, but I just wanted to talk about it. Kind of like talking about hooking up with a girl (not that I ever have, still a virgin, waiting for marriage). Nobody likely cares about the story, but you want to tell it since you just got some for the first time in 6 months and will likely embellish what she looked like if said person you’re telling wasn’t there.
Who knows what’s going to happen here. The league should expand. I know many of you are going to say there are already far too many teams and I agree. I think we all agree that 24 would be the perfect number. But this isn’t about the product on the ice, it is about money as most things in life are. More teams means more money, it’s as simple as that.
Bettman will swear that it hasn’t been discussed, but it has. How could it not be?! How could ways to bring your owners more money never be discussed? Bettman’s biggest problem from a PR standpoint is that he treats the fans like they’re absolute morons. In his defense, 50-75% of us likely are (I know I am). But you simply shouldn’t talk down to the fans no matter how stupid we can be and are.
But that’s who he is an he isn’t going to change. ANYWAY, I don’t doubt that the league is looking at expansion. Now when the reports came out in the summer, they said that the league was looking at expanding by 4 teams. THAT I believe to be total BS. 34 teams makes little sense at all, but 32 is the perfect number of teams. 16 in each conference, 8 in each division. And while 34 would mean even more money, you can’t water down the product so much at once, which is what they did in 99-01 when they expanded by 4 teams and the product became horrific.
What I do believe or would believe is that they are looking at 4 markets to go to. 2 of those markets will get expansion teams, 2 will get relocated teams. If the cities reported are correct (Seattle, Las Vegas, Toronto and Quebec City) then what makes far and away the most sense is to give expansion teams to Toronto and Quebec City, move franchises to Seattle and Vegas.
I’m a frequent listener of the Dan Patrick show (far and away the best sports talk radio show) and Dan was actually told about Vegas happening early in the summer, before any reports came out. Dan had spoken with someone who was working with the league on the deal and was told Vegas will happen. Dan Patrick doesn’t report things he hears very often, but when he does let his listeners and viewers in on something like that, his source is rock solid and he’s got zero reason to make something like that up.
Patrick also mentioned that his source spoke of it not needing to be expansion and that the 2 teams to keep an eye on moving are Arizona (obviously) and Carolina. I believe what was said about Carolina was that Peter Karmanos would want a lot for his team, but they could be had. At least that’s what I recall, could be wrong.
The Canes as I will lay out in my team previews, are a total mess so there is a pretty good chance that team being out of the playoffs at least the next 2 years which would make 9 of the last 10 years….in the East which has been much less of a meat grinder than the West. Despite winning a Cup and appearing in another final, they’ve only made the playoffs 5 times in the 16 seasons they’ve been in Raleigh. In comparison, even the Oilers have made the playoffs more in that time. And they play in the West!
So I won’t be anything shocked if they’re on the move, and the Yotes almost certainly will although we have thought that forever and it still hasn’t happened. I would bet in the next 5 years though, the Canes and the Yotes will be in either Vegas or Seattle.
Then we have the expansion teams in Canada. Expansion teams go to the Canadian cities because we will be sure bets to stick with bad teams for at least 5 years while they build. But how fun with the cap would an expansion draft now be?! Because you wouldn’t get the old school expansion drafts where the 12th and 13th guys on the roster were made available. No this time around it would be the bad contracts that would be available.
Sure, they wouldn’t be the most glamorous players, but they would be legit NHL players and it could help these expansion teams get better much quicker than normal. That would be a lot of fun to see that all shake down!
Also don’t forget, Rogers paid 5.2 billion for the national rights in this country. It would be far from the only reason they did it, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the people in those meetings were told that more Canadian teams would be on the way to make that money well spent. It just makes all the sense in the world for everyone involved.
So it’ll happen. Teams will move (there are obviously more teams than the Coyotes and Hurricanes as possibilities) and expansion is coming. Bettman has to claim nothing is happening, just like he had to claim nothing was happening as far as a team moving to Winnipeg 3 years ago. It’s not a matter of “if”, it’s a matter of “when”.
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