According to a well connected radio host in Quebec City, (thanks to NHLNordiques.com for the tip) due to the ridiculously high rumored expansion fee of $500 million that Las Vegas and Quebec will be charged for a team, the league will be forced to loosen up the expansion draft rules to help out the two new teams.
Gilles Parent of FM93 in Quebec pried this information out of a few NHL officials that were in town for the Montreal/Pittsburgh preseason game.
I discussed with 4 or 5 close to the NHL representatives, as they were all in Quebec City for the preseason game. The told me that the NHL will charge $500 million for an expansion team. At that price tag new owners can request better players. Rather than the usual expansion 19th team quality level players they’d get into the 10th to 12th rank range.
Basically what he’s saying is that the league is planning on charging so much to these new franchises, that they are willing to take an extra step to ensure they will compete immediately.
Rather than the expansion rules that were used in 2000, which forced the new teams to choose from journeymen and unproven players. The new rules would either lower the maximum number of players each team could protect and/or raise the experience requirements on unprotected players.
For example in 2000 there was a rule that read:
Each team must leave at least ONE defenseman that appeared in 40 games last season or 70 games in the previous two seasons.
Maybe the new rule would make the numbers something like 60/100. Or possibly add statistics to the mix. “Must leave one player who scored at least 10 goals” or “Must leave one player who had at least 25 points.”
If this is true, this is HUGE news for fans of a Las Vegas NHL team. Based on the rules used in previous drafts, it was almost certain that the team would struggle for a few years at the least. But with stricter rules, the team would likely be able to grab much more talent and compete quickly.
This obviously makes sense for the league on many levels. It’s in everyone’s best interest for Las Vegas and Quebec succeed financially. If the teams are good, it will help with fan support and create sell-able rivalries at a much faster rate.
I’m not 100% sure how the rest of the league will respond to being forced to give up some of their best players, but I do know the cut of the $1 billion the league will share from expanding will certainly soften the blow.