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12-31-2012, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by worstfaceoffmanever View Post
The league isn't limited by talent, or even by infrastructure, so much as it is by willing investors. Even though most of the paperwork appears to be done, I still have concerns about Phoenix going forward, and the last thing the NHL wants to do is move into a bunch of markets and leave the Coyotes with nowhere to go but out of the NHL completely.

The league has eight markets it could conceivably move into in short order:

Quebec City
Kansas City

You can immediately mark out Atlanta because of the ownership situation. (As an aside, the Hawks are also failing miserably at the gate under ASG's management despite fielding a very good team.) Cleveland is a shrinking Rust Belt city, I'm not sure the league wants to go that route even though they have a very nice arena and an owner who likes hockey (Dan Gilbert owns the Lake Erie Monsters, who play there now). Houston has an arena, but unless Les Alexander has changed his tune or plans on divesting himself from his current interests in the same building, forget it. Kansas City has no owner, and the Markham arena is up in the air. That leaves you with three, of which Portland is probably the least likely.

I say expand by two shortly after the lockout, see how Phoenix recovers and how the Islanders do at the Barclays Center, then move on from there. 36 is the absolute most I can see in the NHL, though. No way they can go beyond that without putting teams in really bad situations, either in old arenas (Hamilton), tiny American markets (Hartford), or both (Milwaukee). Orlando is a longshot, and that's probably generous.
cross cleveland off the list....

its a browns football town, while the indians and cavs are just too bad to be taken seriously....

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