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10-29-2012, 09:41 PM
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This was posted under the article could be interesting but to hard for a short fix.

"I think expansion can work, but I'd propose a different model.

Create a 2nd tier league and institute relegation a la European soccer. There would be a 24-team NHL (top markets) and a 16-team NHL-B league (small market, top AHL markets, top expansion markets).

All 40 teams draft the same pool of players, not against one another like the WHA-NHL dynamic of the 70s. All players are part of the NHLPA and covered by a single CBA. The Cap would have to be figured out, but there would be two tiers - NHL Cap ceiling and NHL Cap floor, NHL Cap floor = NHL-B Cap ceiling and NHL-B Cap floor. By linking the two, the need to drop a ton of salary or pick up a ton of salary is somewhat mitigated - not necessarily eliminated. The NHL worst record is relegated down automatically. NHL-B best record is relegated up automatically. NHL-B playoff champion (or 2nd place if best record is also champion) is relegated up. 4-team 'back-door' playoff of bottom teams to determine second team relegated down from NHL. There would likely still be some revenue sharing to start since this would be the first time its ever been done in North America (by one of the big four) and the marketing would require some effort. The influx of 10 new teams above the AHL-level, though, would give the league a huge source of expansion revenue.

This system does a couple things. It allows teams with the financial capabilities to compete at a high level and forces them to do so or risk relegation. It also allows the NHL to test new markets without massive financial commitment. They can ultimately tinker with markets and find the best way to grow the league and sport by utilizing the NHL-B platform. It could be used to offer some ticket price relief while maintaining a high-level team (NHL-B team in near-Toronto area instead of a second NHL team - shift an NHL team to NHL-B out of New York market). At the same time, it expands the player pool and gives the players more options - big fish, small market or potential salary implications to stay in the NHL.

It has the potential to offer a lot of upside to both players and owners."

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