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.

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.

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.

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

  • Serious Gord

    Here’s a snip of a comment I made on another thread that fits better here:

    “…OT, but this would the most impactful event in hockey in a generation rivalling the lost season.

    Woke up and read this this morning:


    The report says Vegas, Toronto seattle and Quebec City are ALL getting teams in 2017.

    That’s three seasons from now.

    Makes sense – especially the expansion fees that would be charged in three of those cities (can’t see Quebec City which has already had an nhl team in the past having to pay one).

    All have new stadiums being built looking for keystone sports tenants (seattle will have an new nba team at the same time) so the nhl is smart to try and get in first.

    Looking ahead it will likely make for exciting high scoring hockey as all large expansions have in the past as the quality of defence (and goaltending) suffers more than offence.

    And if the oil is expected to have several star players at their career peak about that time, it could be under big time pressure in the expansion draft – losing lots of higher quality prospects as I suspect the next expansion draft will be cap-based not player-based.

    Whole that will be bad news, the good news will be that four more teams will likely be guaranteed to be worse than the oil.”


    I think Quebec will pay a lower fee than the others – in line with what WPG paid for relocation – 60 million.

    • CMpuck

      I understand what you are saying but a bit more of an explanation would of really been nice. Me personally, I like the direction the league is headed in, Bettman wants us to be as competitive and in as many markets as possible. If the existing Canadian based teams and their fan bases cannot get on board, maybe the time has come for us to either form another league. Not winning a Stanley Cup since the Habs won in 1993 shows our teams are both Not Competitive as well asholding back the truly great American teams.

      • CMpuck

        I’m a die heart hockey fan, a 34 team league isn’t a product I’m interested in, this expansion is as off putting as bigger nets, I’ll become a casual fan that would only watch if/when the Leafs are stacked. The league wants to alienate fans like me, fine, slaughter your base to chase new money in terrible markets.

  • Vegas actually does make sense, they are building a new arena right on the strip and Kings fans travel to Vegas every year for Frozen Fury. That means at least 3-4 games per year that they will travel to for a regular season game. Maybe even the handful of Ducks fans will travel as well.

    Plus I’m sure fans from the other 33 teams would love to couple a trip to Vegas with seeing their team in a sparkly new arena. Win/Win all the way around.

  • ubermiguel

    IDK how close y’all have been following the NHL to Seattle information, but the only thing that was really NEW yesterday was the proposed date of 2017. A second Toronto team and Quebec City have been mentioned for at least a year, Vegas has been brought up since around December, and obviously Seattle has been in discussion since before the mess with Arizona.

    Seattle MIGHT have a new arena in 2017 if expansion was announced by the end of this year and Seattle changed the memorandum of understanding for NHL instead of NBA. It took approximately 2 years to build Safeco (March 1997-July 1999/MLB) and Centurylink Field (March 2000-2002 NFL/MLS). Otherwise, Key Arena sits just over 15,000 for hockey games while a new arena was being built.

    So coming from a Seattle angle, if expansion was to happen… I would hope they would be a shoo-in… that’s still not going to take David Clarkson away from you. 😀

    • Word to the Bird

      Currently, there are no Major professional sports teams in either Las Vegas nor Quebec City, and of these four cities listed, only the Canadian one has an NBA franchise. Add to that the Gambling that goes on in Las Vegas, as well as knowingthat Seattle once lost Both a professional baseball team (Pilots) as well as a basketball team (Sonics) and I can really see this being a major . What I really don’t like as well is how many more Canadian dollars has to go into this Revenue Sharing ,which already keeps several teams afloat.
      Add to that how Watered Down the product on the ice will be with further expansion, and you can see why this makes no sense. We could send teams like Phoenix and Florida to one of these places , now That would be something to think about.

  • Dan 1919

    Vegas (and NHL expansion in gerneral) is a silly idea, though not quite as silly as trying to put a sports franchise in another country and continent with 8-10hrs time difference and 3000miles of water seperating it from the rest of the league. Bettman hasn’t gone full Goodell yet. Yet.