According to reports, the NHL Executive Committee will suggest expansion to Las Vegas to owners. The final vote on expansion will be held by the NHL Board of Governors on June 22nd.
Sin Bin has confirmed with their sources “with extensive knowledge of the organization and the expansion process” will recommend expansion to Las Vegas for the 2017-2018 season. The idea was voted on by the NHL Executive Committee which is made up of nine owners of the league including Carolina Hurricanes Owner, Peter Karmanos Jr.
The next step for this plan will to go to the NHL Board of Governors, the governing body of the NHL. The board will have three options on June 22nd, approve the expansion, postpone expansion by a year, or reject it all together.
With expansion coming in the 2017-2018 season, the expansion draft will likely be held in the days before the 2017 draft next June. With the Quebec City expansion bid most likely on hold because of the weak Canadian Dollar, teams will only have to sacrifice one player to the draft.
Carolina Hurricanes are safe, for now
In the offseason of never ending relocation rumors this is the first piece of concrete evidence that the Hurricanes will stay in Raleigh. With Las Vegas getting an expansion team the Carolina Hurricanes are safe from one relocation threat.
There is a lot of talk that the NHL will still want to relocate to Quebec City in a couple of years, possibly when the exchange rate improves, but there is also one major market that the NHL wants to move into, Seattle.
Seattle has failed to put in a formal bid for an expansion team, and has rejected stadium proposals to house a team, but postponing expanding to Quebec City could be buying the league more time with the market they desperately want. If and/or when the NHL decides to expand to one of those markets, the other will most likely be left with relocating a current team to that market.
Bright Future could help keep Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh
This added time also does one more thing, give the Carolina Hurricanes a chance to make their case to stay in Raleigh. Any team regardless of the size of the market will struggle to draw large crowds and corporate sponsorships when they put out a weak product for a decade.
The Hurricanes look to be turning a corner and ticket sales are already reflecting that. If the team is competitive next year, and the building is packed, it will make a much stronger case to keep the team put for the future.
Increased revenue and a positive outlook for the future will help attract local buyers for the franchise that will want to keep the team in Raleigh. It is also important to note that the current owner, Karmanos, is looking to sell a majority of the team but keep decision making authority.
If Karmanos can scale back his demands, he might be able to find a more willing partner in the deal. After all who would want to spend hundreds of millions of dollars for a business/team and not have a say in its operations?