Much has been made about the ridiculous potential franchise fee the NHL will charge prospective owners if the league does indeed expand. The rumored amount is $500 million. With the league planning on adding two teams (hopefully Las Vegas and Quebec) that would mean they would net a cool billion dollars overnight.

Sports Illustrated, or SI as the cool kids call it, think there might be a little bit of a conspiracy going on surrounding this number and its connection to a potential concussion lawsuit.

Especially considering that NHL owners could be on the verge of splitting a $1 billion windfall if, as expected, the league admits two new expansion clubs in the next 12 months.

Huh. You don’t suppose the league’s interest in exploring expansion at this particular time has anything to do with protecting the owners from the financial hit of the inevitable concussion settlement, do you? –Allen Muir,

Hmm? They may very well be on to something here.

The NHL will likely be forced to settle a concussion lawsuit the same way the NFL did it. NFL owners were forced to shell out exactly $1 billion, so the precedent is certainly there for NHL to be forced to do the same.

In an odd way, this is excellent news for The Creator and fans just like us. It does seem awfully convenient for the league to pay off that $1 billion with the expansion fees from Vegas and Quebec.

If they want to wait for Seattle or choose to relocate a team rather than expand, the owners would have to pay that settlement out of their own wallets.

There’s no question that they can afford it, but would they really want to if there’s an alternative as simple as making Vegas and Quebec pay for it?

Seems like a no brainer to me.