(Photo Credit: @_jkarsh on Instagram)

After forced relocations and failed attempts at expansion, the NHL held off on adding franchises for 16 years. Eventually, The Creator enticed Gary Bettman enough to award him an overnight success in 2016. Not only did the landscape of the league change but the business side of hockey morphed as well. The average value of an NHL franchise went up roughly 330% when Foley paid his $500 million membership fee.

With Vegas’ instant success, the league aggressively pursued Seattle for the 2021-22 season. Now, the NHL is looking to continue restructuring the Western Conference.

We’re not in a mode where I’m saying, ‘OK, if you’re interested in expansion, submit your applications. If somebody wants to talk to us, we talk to them. If somebody came in and said, ‘OK, we have a building, this is our market, this is our ownership group, we’d really like to go.’ Then we’ll take a look at it and decide whether we’re inclined to expand at this point in time. -Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner at NHL Board of Governors meeting

Bettman suggested that adding another expansion team or relocating a franchise is not out of the question. Based on past league history, expansion conversations would have been out of the question had the Golden Knights flopped.

The interesting element to potential expansion or relocation is Vegas’ franchise will likely be impacted. In this week’s 32 Thoughts column on Sportsnet.ca, Elliotte Friedman suggested a team could soon land in the current VGK territory.

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