Rumors of expansion are nothing new around the NHL, but some recent reports suggest the league's growth could be happening sooner rather than later.
On Tuesday, Providence columnist Tony Gallagher reported the NHL's expansion to Las Vegas is a "done deal," while Howard Bloom from the Sports Business News took things a step further by claiming four new teams would be added by 2017.
NHL expansion – four teams added by 2017, Quebec City, Toronto, Seattle, and Las Vegas $1.4b in expansion fees— Howard Bloom (@SportsBizNews) August 27, 2014
Pretty big news for August, eh?
Now, before you book your stay in the Venetian, keep in mind these are just reports; reports that have already been rebuffed by deputy commissioner Bill Daly. (But hey, how much can the guy say at this point?)
In short, it's probably not safe to call Vegas a "done" deal right now, but a quick connecting of the dots suggests none of this is too far-fetched, either.
The NHL's realignment alone suggests expansion is coming. Putting 16 teams in the East and 14 in the West? That wasn't done by chance. Also note that the league has pulled in record revenue since the lockout and ratings continue to go up, making it a great time for growth.
While all four of these cities have been considered for expansion in the past, it's unclear how many will actually get their own teams and when.
Bringing a team to Las Vegas would provide an entirely different dynamic than the NHL hasn't seen. Between the casinos, gambling, tourists and, well, reputation that Vegas has, that team would likely be attracting a new type of fan base. But perhaps Roberto Luongo hit the nail right on the head when he considered the team's potential success on home ice.