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NHL Planning to Expand to 32 Teams? (Article)

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NHL expansion to Toronto, Quebec City after CBA is settled? Well, of course

In the NHL's last proposal before the lockout started, the League offered a deal "in which the players get 49 percent of hockey-related revenue in Year One, 48 percent in Year Two, and 47 percent over the final four years," according to Mirtle.

Now why would the owners want that decline in the players' share over time? Could it be the Canadian television rights windfall coming to the League in 2014? Sure.

Could it be expansion to two lucrative Canadian markets during the term of the next CBA?

That's been the speculation for a while, and Jason Kay of The Hockey News turned up the heat last week:

There's strong speculation the NHL could announce two expansion teams for Canada once CBA deal struck: Quebec & Toronto. More in Oct. 29 THN

— Jason Kay (@JKTHN)

Massive new streams of hockey-related revenue? Check. Dozens of new jobs for NHL players, in markets they've been clamoring to receive teams? Check. Appeasement of bitter Canadian fans who would suddenly shower Gary Bettman with candy and flowers like the good people of Winnipeg did? Check.

Here's Jonathan Willis of Cult of Hockey on the possibility of expansion:

In some ways, this isn't a surprising comment. It's been more than a decade since the NHL's last wave of expansion, and there have been a number of hints that the league sees itself at 32 franchises eventually — including the attempted realignment to four divisions this past year. There's a new arena being built with public money in Quebec City and in Pierre-Karl Peladeau there's a rich man well-positioned to own a team. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs are far and away the league's most profitable franchise — at least based on
Forbes'
estimates — and there is no question that the market could sustain a second profitable team (though it likely would impact both the Leafs' and the Buffalo Sabres' bottom line).

Here's Travis Hughes of SB Nation:

Polarizing agent Allan Walsh said recently that
. That seems a
bit
high, but the message is clear: Expansion will bring the league a lot of money, and those fees get divvied up by the 30 existing teams. That's a really great, simple way to make up for revenue lost in a lockout.

The Maple Leafs are also set to make a bunch of money in the event a Markham team enters the league. Toronto holds the territorial rights in the region and, according to the NHL's constitution, they'd have to give written consent to a team that wishes to play within 50 miles of the Toronto city limits. Markham would have to pay for that consent.

The territorial rights thing, in my conspiratorial mind, was settled on a handshake when Rogers and Bell were approved to buy the Leafs; hey, who do you think would get the television rights for a second NHL team in Toronto?

I've long thought that the NHL would expand to Toronto and Quebec City and then relocate to Seattle when the time was right. First, because Seattle probably needs an NBA tenant first, and because relocation is less costly than expansion; which is why, second, the NHL could bleed millions from hockey-starved owners in those Canadian markets, who know their investment will eventually be recouped.

Toronto's a slam-dunk; even as the Clippers to the Leafs' Lakers, they'll print money in that market. But Quebec City isn't a sure-thing for expansion. First, because they're seen as a "lower limit" city that would need a strong Canadian dollar to remain viable.

Second, because they're doing it wrong: Winnipeg kept it on the down-low and landed Atlanta; Jim Balsillie sold season tickets to the Hamilton Predators, and was frozen out to the point where he needed a bankruptcy court to try and secure him the Coyotes. I'm not saying the Quebec group's money is no good for the NHL; but Bettman likes these things pulled off in a less public-posturing way.

There's a difference between if the NHL will expand — from a revenue perspective, those two markets should be slam-dunks — and whether it should expand. Is the talent pool there for two new teams? Does it water down a parity-stricken product even more? Is 32 teams too many? Would the Stanley Cup Playoffs need expanding?

I think expansion is inevitable. Do you want to see it happen?

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Quebec City and Seattle hopefully. Toronto doesn't need another NHL team.

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Toronto absolutely needs another team and Seattle won't have a new arena for several more years; they'll get the Coyotes eventually.

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Quebec City and Seattle hopefully. Toronto doesn't need another NHL team.

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The League needs to lose teams, not add more. The talent level is watered down enough as it is.

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Another loser franchise.

And that's another thing about NHL expansion. You allow more plugs like John Scott to be employed over kids who are better and more deserving. This guy has been getting a free pass for years now. His career should have ended after college. Me, personally, I don't really care. But as a player in the AHL for example, I would be pissed that this guy is getting the chance to play over me.

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How many players would we be able to protect?

I mean there is the obvious in Kesler, Sedin, Sedin, Schneider, Hamhuis, Bieksa, Edler but I worry that a guy like Burrows might get plucked from one of these teams because we wouldn't be able to protect him.

Expanding the league seems counter intuitive. Owners right now are complaining about low profits, something remedied by cutting costs, not trying to float new market teams. Move the Southern market teams that are doing the worst, there is your new profit margin. This entire proposition seems like speculation right now so I'm not going to read too much into it.

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Quebec City and Seattle hopefully. Toronto doesn't need another NHL team.

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So the hatred for the Leafs - is it a team thing, or a city thing? Honest curiosity.

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So the hatred for the Leafs - is it a team thing, or a city thing? Honest curiosity.

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I don't mind the Leafs but it doesn't change the fact they're still losers. Then you have the Raptors -- they suck. Leafs suck. Jays have sucked since the early 90's. I don't pay much attention to football but I believe the Argo's have sucked since their last Grey Cup. A city thing. They seem to be producing losers - consistent ones at that.

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2 Toronto Maple leafs?? How about a team from Saskatchewan instead? Saskatoon?

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This would be so stupid.

Why not lose PHO, FLA, TBL and CBJ instead.

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I don't mind the Leafs but it doesn't change the fact they're still losers. Then you have the Raptors -- they suck. Leafs suck. Jays have sucked since the early 90's. I don't pay much attention to football but I believe the Argo's have sucked since their last Grey Cup. A city thing. They seem to be producing losers - consistent ones at that.

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I'd be fine with an expansion, I don't know how I feel about 2 more eastern teams though, unless one of the existing eastern teams make their way over to seattle.

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John Shannon had a slip up last night too. He was questioning if expansion yes EXPANSION (not relocation) fees would count as HRR.

I just thought it was weird since there hasn't been expansion in the NHL in about 12 years and it's not really a relevant issue for a 6-year cba, unless of course the NHL plans on adding a couple teams in the very near future.

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John Shannon had a slip up last night too. He was questioning if expansion yes EXPANSION (not relocation) fees would count as HRR.

I just thought it was weird since there hasn't been expansion in the NHL in about 12 years and it's not really a relevant issue for a 6-year cba, unless of course the NHL plans on adding a couple teams in the very near future.

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