As many know, Las Vegas was able to have a major professional sports franchise in their city when the NHL announced they were expanding to the metropolis. The Vegas Golden Knights are in the midst of their first season and are proving all the critics wrong as they have been very successful so far this season. Will their winning continue? Time will tell. Even if they finally come back to earth, this was a successful season nonetheless. That being said, there is one problem: there are 31 teams. That’s an uneven amount. So that means there has to be one more expansion team. How realignment will work is a different story, but we need to find a 32nd home for the NHL and that will be a difficult task. So let’s look at the candidates:
The Quebec Nordiques were in town for the longest time until they moved to Denver to be the Colorado Avalanche. So it could either be that the NHL wanted to move the team to Denver because they wanted to make sport more popular and would later put a team in Quebec City or Quebec City simply could not support a team. I hope it’s not the latter, but this city certainly breathes hockey and it would be great to have another Canadian city with a hockey team.
Continuing with Canada, Hamilton seems to be another ideal place for hockey. It’s not a particularly big city, but all it needs is hockey and it can succeed. There had always been talks about putting a team in Hamilton, but it never amounted to anything and I think hockey should be in this city.
Yes, still staying with the Canada theme, but why not? Hockey is a big sport in the country so putting it in another Canadian city would just be fine. There almost was an NHL team there when possibly the St. Louis Blues were supposed to go until the last moment. So there is definitely some interest there, but whether anything will amount to having a team there remains a question.
This city has been talked about having a team for a while, but the problem has been all talk and no action. Hockey is played there and is a great spot for the NHL to look into, but there hasn’t been any serious action. The NHL was once there, but whether they want it there is a big question.
This city is a great place to play hockey as the Hartford Whalers were once there before they moved to Raleigh to become the Carolina Hurricanes. I think the city deserves another chance at having a hockey team as New England has proven to be a hockey hot bed.
Houston is the only city to not have all four major professional sports leagues. So why not give it a chance? I know the league wants to make the sport more popular, especially in Texas, and that’s why they gave Dallas a hockey team. Houston could be a sneaky good option for a 32nd team considering how big of a city it is.
The only serious contender so far as there has been an actual filing of an application with the league for a potential expansion team. There has been lots of talk of an NHL team in Seattle as it seems hockey is popular enough there. It also would help having another team in the Pacific Northwest.
The Thrashers were once here until they took off for Winnipeg to become the Jets. If the city could not hold on to them, should they be taken serious for an NHL team?
Oakland once had the Oakland Seals in town, but I almost feel like there should be a team in the Bay Area.
There is an AHL team in Cleveland so clearly the interest in a hockey team is there, but with Columbus Blue Jackets in Ohio, it seems like they are Ohio’s team.
I firmly believe there should be hockey in Wisconsin and Milwaukee is a perfect city for that. It’s a big enough city to have an NHL team, so it should be seriously considered.
The city is most likely to get a MLS team and they are sports crazed, plus they have US Bank Arena which could host games. Whether people want hockey here is a different question.
Probably would never happen due to the Capitals being a 45 minute drive South, but baseball and football happen in both cities so never say never.
While there could even be 34 teams, I am going to go with the belief that there will only be 32. With that being said, I think the best option is Seattle. It seems like that will be the most likely place anyways, I think it’s also the best option right now.