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 10 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: Rose Garden
Previous Hockey Experience: No defunct teams
Current Hockey Situation: Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Team Name They Should Pick: Portland Lumberjacks
Why it will work: In my opinion, this will be a great pick for a new team if Seattle gets a team. Portland and Seattle have the biggest rivalry in MLS soccer. A Portland-Seattle rivalry could become the next big rivalry of the west. This could be a late night matchup people will stay up for if the teams become contenders.
Portland already supports a hockey team already. Why not take the WHL team out and put in a big league team? The Portland Trail Blazers owner agrees and has already expressed interest in bringing hockey to his city.
Why it won’t work: Portland seems like the purgatory of a hockey town. It’s not bad, but it’s not that great either. Portland only has the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and the Portland Timbers of the MLS. These teams have gotten the support they need to become successful franchises, but bringing a NHL team would be a big leap for the city. A Portland NHL team could be very successful but it would still be a gamble bringing the NHL to the Rose City.