The city of Seattle may become more than just the home of Starbucks, but also home to an NHL team. On Wednesday, the city approved a move to renovate the Key Arena with a cost of $600 million to attract the NHL to the area, along with bringing back an NBA team.
The asking price increased
Gary Bettman gladly agreed to allowing a Seattle application for expansion knowing that the city will have the Key Arena ready for the 2020/21 hockey season.
He even told the city to conduct a season ticket drive which worked like a charm for the adding of the Vegas Golden Knights being added as the 31st NHL team this season.
Will the transition go as well as in Las Vegas if Seattle receives an expansion team?
We'll see... its still quite early and there's nothing in concrete yet.
The most stunning announcement was that the expansion fee will rise from the $500 million that Vegas's owner Bill Foley paid to a whopping $650 million!
So, the total cost of Seattle acquiring an NHL franchise comes to a staggering $1.25 billion to have fans in the Pacific northwest enjoy NHL action.
It was also announced that the NHL plans to raise the salary cap by at least $3 million for the 2018/19 season. Bettman boasted that "The league has never been healthier."
That may be the understatement of the decade.
According to Mr. Bettman the increase in the salary cap was made possible by the league's increase in revenues projected to hit around $4.85 billion.
With that increased salary cap space, teams like the Chicago Blackhawks ($66M), Los Angeles Kings ($66M), and the Nashville Predators ($65) will have some much needed breathing space.
With the news also hitting the league that Houston is interested in becoming part of the NHL club, the gifts just keep on coming to Bettman and the league... especially during this holiday season.
How does Seattle being added affect the Arizona Coyotes?
According to Bettman, the search for a new arena to allow the Arizona Coyotes to remain in the Grand Canyon state are proceeding and there are no plans to re-locate the franchise.
This is nothing new to Coyotes' fans who have endured the threat of the team moving in the past. The doubters will always be around, but so far so are the Coyotes... for now.
With the possibility of Seattle joining the league, realignment will be necessary. They can't be placed in the logical Pacific Division since there is already eight clubs.
So, some creativity would be needed to continue or even increase rivalries and decrease travel.
*(chart from thescore.com)
NORTHWEST SOUTHWEST MOUNTAIN CENTRAL
Calgary Anaheim Arizona Chicago
Edmonton Los Angeles Colorado Minnesota
Seattle San Jose Dallas Nashville
Vancouver Vegas Winnipeg St. Louis
The Seattle expansion has a negative downside which makes one wonder if there's enough talent to form yet another team. The Vegas Golden Knights were very fortunate to collect some quality players in the expansion draft.
Seattle may be in the same situation and they could only hope they draft talented players as Vegas did.
It will certainly balance the NHL by making competition more intense resulting in exciting playoff races... and NHL has got to like that.
Now, we just need a team name for the new Seattle team.
Give us your thoughts on Seattle expansion including a team name and if you agree the realignment will help the NHL.