It is inevitable the NHL is going to expand to 32 teams at soon. With the new realignment, the NHL will look to expand to in order to even out the divisions. It is no longer a question of “if” they will expand. It has now become a discussion of “when” and where.”
With this series, Predlines will look at 6 cities that are possible candidates for an NHL expansion team. Factors such as population, arena and previous hockey experience will be examined to decide the best place for the next NHL team. Where will the NHL expand its brand to next?
Possible Arena: Key Arena, but a very real possibility for a new arena if an NBA team can get to Seattle as well.
Previous Hockey Experience: Seattle Metropolitans (NHL), Stanley Cup Champions
Current Hockey Situation: Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
Team Name They Should Pick: Seattle Metropolitans
Why it will work: This city is the most likely candidate for expansion. In fact, Seattle was one vote away from having the Coyotes. If the Glendale City Council pushed the Coyotes out, then a team in Seattle was going to happen.
Seattle has issues filling up the stadium with the Mariners play, but the city loves its Seahawks and Sounders as much as its coffee. The city is an underrated sports town that has shown in the past to stand behind its teams.
More importantly, Seattle has a Stanley Cup to its name, but not a team. On a moral level, this is a wrong that needs to be righted.
Why it won’t work: People have crowned Seattle the next NHL city, but there could be some complications. First, Vancouver is just a two and a half hour drive away, which may be pulling some fans away from the Canucks. Seattle already has this team and the NHL may feel they can build the brand somewhere else that isn’t close to hockey.
Also, it is possible an NHL team won’t get to Seattle if an arena deal doesn’t get done soon. The Key Arena can support a hockey team but the city needs a newer arena to be made to secure a team’s future. The city has been fickle when it comes to voting for this, because most of the plans have involved using public money. If a new arena can be built, Seattle WILL get a team. If not, Seattle fans may not get the team back.”