NHL expansion on its way, but not just yet

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. (USA Today)

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. (USA Today)

Mike Zeisberger, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:22 AM ET

TORONTO - “Premature.”

In an informal survey of various team officials and NHL types conducted by Sun Media on Wednesday regarding a pair of reports that suggested expansion is imminent, the ‘P’ word kept coming up over and over again.

Perhaps that, more than anything else, is an indication of where the league stands right now when it comes to adding franchises in the immediate future, with Toronto, Quebec City, Las Vegas and Seattle all in the conversation.

The expansion issue is a question of “when,” not “if.” In its most basic form, it comes down to simple math for the National Hockey League, both in terms of a) the number of teams in the league; and b) the number of zeros that follow the dollar signs associated with expansion fees.

As long as there are 16 teams in the east and 14 in the west, the expansion chatter just won’t go away. It’s no secret the league would like to see an equal number of teams in each conference, with a 16-16 split being the ideal setup.


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