NHL Expanding by four teams?!? Maybe, apparently.

I knew something was up when we recorded a new podcast last night and there was no major NHL news to report. Usually when that happens something goes kablooey the second we upload it. Low and behold, apparently the NHL is close to expanding by four teams, including another one in Toronto, by 2017.

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This is one of the main tweets that has sent everyone into a tizzy:

Now I had no idea who Howard Bloom was before this tweet. I gave him a quick follow, as I’m sure hundreds of others did last night and this morning. It’s a nice little boost for his follower count whether it’s true or not, but to be wrong about this sort of thing or to make this sort of thing up would be credibility suicide. I’ll reserve judgement for now. In the meantime, if you know of this guy’s work please leave a comment in the comment section.

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Whether this report is true or not it brings up some key expansion questions.

Can the NHL’s talent pool support 34 teams? Twitter reaction seems to suggest that many already think 30 teams is too many and the talent pool is already shallow enough. Adding four teams and almost 100 players (20 per roster plus extras and injuries) to that mix won’t help matters. If you added 90 players and spread them among the 30 current NHL clubs then each team could ice a fifth line. Goons rejoice!

Will there be an expansion draft? If yes, then which players will teams protect? Which pla- oh screw it I’m not gonna beat around the bush: ARE YA GONNA CLAIM DAVID CLARKSON OR NOT?!?

Is this even realistic? Will each of these cities even have an NHL-capable arena by 2017? Where does the one in Toronto even go? Does it go in Markham? Do they double up with the Leafs somehow and use the Air Canada Centre? James Mirtle had a pretty good idea: 

While entertaining and probably a decent solution for Toronto’s traffic problem, Mirtle’s idea probably isn’t entirely legal.

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When Rogers signed it’s brand new media deal with the NHL for 50 bajillion dollars* many asked if Rogers would be able to make its money back. News like this makes me wonder if they didn’t already know Canadian expansion was already in the works.

This move would put an NHL team in each Canadian city with a population over 500,000 people with the exception of Hamilton. I mean, Brampton and Mississauga too, but you guys are basically Toronto so you don’t count. I’m sorry. I’m sure you understand. Can we still be friends?

Personally, I’m glad this story broke. I don’t even care if it’s true! We’re at that awkward stage in the NHL’s summer calendar when it’s too early to really talk about camp but there’s really nothing else going on. At very least, this should keep us occupied for a couple weeks.

* Not an actual number

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  • moosewacker

    I like the idea of Vegas so I can take in a trip to watch the Oil and hit the Strip ! I have made the trip to L.A. and Phoenix a couple times to see them and Vegas would be a blast.

    If it fails and some Rich Tycoon loses his shirt it is not my problem. Not like the tickets here are going to go down in price no matter what happens anyway. Do you really think if Florida and Phoenix were money making franchises we still would not be paying $9 a beer at Rexall ?

  • moosewacker

    They need a team in new foundland, not in toronto. Maybe put it somewhere else in ontairo, but not in toronto. If this new team if stamkos.. I will be pissed.

  • O.C.

    Living in Seattle, putting a professional team here is the single worst idea I’ve ever heard.

    In the area, there are two WHL teams, which draw about 4,000 fans combined on a nightly basis they aren’t playing each other. I’m really failing to see how a city that lost an NBA franchise, has no arena that would be good for hockey at the moment (Key Arena is not good for hockey, don’t float it, it lacks parking and luxury suites).

    If the team is good, people might show up. I also will point out that with the raising of the minimum wage in Seattle proper, will businesses stay in the city?

    I love hockey. I watch more games that is healthy. Seattle is a poor market (outside of MLS, which no one can explain really) for sports teams when they are struggling. Let the sport continue to grow at the WHL level and expose people to it. In another 20 years? Sure. But not before that.

    • O.C.

      What a load of garbage. Been to a Seahawks game lately? How about the Mariners?

      This team only lost their NBA franchise because their owner, the same guy who owned Starbucks, held the city hostage for an arena. They city caved and agreed to pay for it. Then he insisted that the arena be made for NBA only, and not so it could house an NHL team. Remember, the City was paying the shot.

      The City balked, and he moved. And that my friend is why no self righteous sports fan in Seattle will drink Starbucks in Seattle even today.

      The arena location chosen is perfect. The fans will come. There’s a lot of hockey fans in the PNW.

      Take your garbage elsewhere.

  • TheresAlwaysNextYear

    What is this talk about Toronto getting a second NHL team, when did they get a first team? If it comes it should be on the west side, so that Hamilton can say it is its team.

    Seriously I disagree with some of the assumptions in your article. Can the league handle another 100 players, no problem. There are at least a couple of 100 players in Europe who could be enticed to play here and they are as talented as the Leafs or other Eastern clubs. If there is a problem it will be that this might exacerbate the gap between East and West. Fortunately for Seattle which is in the Pacific division, it could get close to the playoffs quickly since it will be in the same division as Calgary and Edmonton, whose current management teams pretty well guarantee finishing no worse than 6th in the group. Although Burke will probably go to Vegas as its great hero and that will help Calgary and will guarantee the Midwest Division a patsy (albeit one with lots of truculence). What will be interesting will be the playoff formats. And whether they might go to three divisions in each conference. Two groups of 5 and 1 of six. based on geography.

  • TheresAlwaysNextYear

    2 expansion teams would make more sense. the west needs 2 more teams anyway. seattle to the pacific and vegas to the central! or relocate the panthers to seattle, problem solved. each conference will have even amount of teams again.

  • Jaxon

    I think it should be Seattle should get Arizona’s team and Quebec should get Florida’s team and Milwaukee and Hamilton should get the 2 new teams to bring the NHL to 32.