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The Coyotes in Salt Lake City: the most logical route
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

Ah, expansion…

This morning, Martin Leclerc wrote an excellent paper on the NHL expansion process. And what’s interesting is that he brings a different, informed perspective to it – as he‘s wont to do.

With everyone talking about the “inevitable” process of expansion, Leclerc wonders why everyone is talking about it as if it were surely THE thing to do for the NHL.

Basically, he decided to take inspiration from Pierre-Yves McSween on this one. #YouReallyNeedThis

And in his eyes, the answer isn’t definitely yes. Why not? Because it doesn’t necessarily mean that adding teams would add revenue.

He gives the example of TV networks. Would adding two clubs mean more TV revenue? If the answer is yes, that’s one thing.

But since the answer is probably no, it just means that the owners would split the pot with more teams, making the pie smaller.

Add to that the fact that less scarcity would be created by a smaller supply of teams (and therefore more demand), and that the product on the ice would be less diluted, and you realize that it’s not certain that expansion will happen.

And that brings us to Salt Lake City, which formally asked Gary Bettman for a club recently.

Because Ryan Smith’s group has asked for a club and said they’re ready to host a franchise as early as 2024, you’d think they’d be thinking about more than just expansion. After all, an expansion process takes years to get right.

So that inevitably leads us to the Coyotes. We know that everything is going wrong there, and that no matter what the owner tries to make us believe, it’s possible to think that the franchise is signing its death warrant in Arizona.

By going public a few days ago (minutes after some ugly announcements about Hockey Canada), Ryan Smith certainly didn’t alienate Commissioner Gary Bettman.

On the contrary: he surely made sure that the Commissioner, with whom he’s been chatting for the past two years, liked what was said… with the aim of putting pressure on the Coyotes, of course.

It’s only logical to assume that everything has been arranged with the man in the sights, and that Salt Lake City will have the chance to welcome the Arizona franchise in the next few… months, perhaps? Or years?

That remains to be seen.

And Quebec City?

If we start from the premise that expansion may not be around the corner, we can assume that cities like Atlanta, Houston and others will have to wait. I don’t think they’ll be waiting long, though.

What about Quebec City?

We know it’s not the Commissioner’s destination of choice. Perhapsa move could be Quebec City’s only option, and the Senators are really the only team under consideration. And I should put “considered” in quotation marks because…

That said, don’t forget that even if the Sens were to move, that doesn’t mean Michael Andlauer would want to do it in Quebec City, where Pierre-Karl Péladeau is preparing to go to the front.

That said, don’t forget to take into account that if the Sens were to move, it would also make sense for them to stay in Ontario and move to Markham, just around the corner from Toronto.

But we’re not there yet.

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