NHL denies reports of expansion, reaction to the prospect of further expansion, plus updates on David Krejci, John Carlson, Patrick Kaleta, Scott Gomez and more.
CANADIAN PRESS (VIA TSN.CA): NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly denied recent reports from The Vancouver Province and Sports Business News claiming expansion to Las Vegas, Seattle, Quebec City and Toronto was coming prior to 2017. Daly claimed there was nothing new to report on the subject and nothing new had happened. While the report doesn’t rule out future NHL expansion, it noted significant arena and ownership questions must first be addressed.
SPORTSNET.CA: Chris Johnston reports NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is taking a slow approach toward expansion. Johnston notes league stability and record revenues allows Bettman the luxury of patience. The columnist believes expansion is on the horizon but it isn’t as close as some believe, citing ownership and arena issues must be addressed.
NATIONAL POST: Sean Fitz-Gerald breaks down each of the four supposed new destinations for NHL expansion franchises. A new NHL-ready arena in the Toronto area appears unlikely, arena construction has begun in Quebec City and Las Vegas while arena plans are still be worked out in Seattle.
Scott Stinson believes a major expansion plan makes little sense for the league. Among the issues is expanding the number of playoff teams, a watering-down of talent, and a loss of leverage for existing team owners to wrangle concessions for new arenas or arena upgrades in their current locations.
ESPN.COM: Scott Burnside also noted the obstacles facing cities hoping to lure new NHL franchises.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: And just like that, all the recent hype about immediate NHL expansion gets crushed by simple logic. That doesn’t mean there won’t be expansion over the next ten years, or even before the end of this decade, but as the columnists observed, the league prefers to be patient this time around, rather than engage in the rapid expansion of the 1990s. At most I see two new NHL franchises, plus it wouldn’t surprise me if a currently struggling franchise (Arizona Coyotes or Florida Panthers) is relocated to a new market. It’s obvious, however, the league wants any potential new market to have an established NHL venue and deep-pocketed prospective ownership before they’ll seriously consider putting a team there.
WEEI.COM: The Boston Bruins have started casual contract discussions with center David Krejci, who becomes eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer. It’s expected negotiations could pick up in the near future.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals defenseman John Carlson is looking forward to a fresh start under new coach Barry Trotz and new teammates Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk is hoping to reach the NHL playoffs for the first time in his career this season.
WGRZ.COM: Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta is part of a group of people assisting an disabled local man whose specially-equipped vehicle was recently stolen.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is personal for Lightning forward Brian Boyle and associate coach Rick Bowness. Both had friends or relatives afflicted with the disease.
NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils have invited former Devil Scott Gomez to training camp on an unsigned tryout basis.
CSNPHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers have re-signed defenseman Brandon Manning.