NHL Expansion? Here's some teams that could be contracted or merged

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January 9, 2013; New York, NY, USA; National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman addresses the National Hockey League lockout during a press conference at the Westin New York in Times Square. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is talking expansion in the league again, according to a report from Yahoo Sports’ NHL writer, Greg Wyshynski.

I’ll just give you a minute to let that sink in.

Yes, a league that is having trouble making ends meet for a number of teams is actually seriously talking about adding four more franchises in 2017, with the candidates being Las Vegas, Seattle, Quebec, and a second team in Toronto.

And the talent pool for NHL caliber players will suddenly increase…how?

Now I’m not going to deny that there are cities who are deserving of an NHL franchise…although Vegas is kind of a head-scratcher, but ok, it’s Vegas. At least nobody will ever know if they lose a game, right? What happens in….nevermind.

I digress.

The point is, if Darth Bettman wants to give other deserving cities a team, why not look at what’s already available in the league in terms of struggling teams, and make some adjustments?

Come on, Gary….you remember Atlanta, right? Certainly you’re not above putting together another insidious deal to give a city the team they want.

As for the cities that are supposedly in line to get a franchise, I completely see the appeal of a team returning to Quebec, and Seattle has certainly proven their worth as a potential site. Vegas..yeah, anyway. But another team in Toronto? Why not look at other areas who might be worthy that don’t already have a team.

Kansas City, Mo. leaps to mind, as does Madison, Wi. There are plenty of potential target cities before you start doubling-up in cities that already have a tough time putting a winning team together.

But that’s a discussion for a different time. For now, we can concentrate on internal moves within the league that would prevent the watering down of the league by adding four more teams, when even one more would be too many.

Teams can be contracted, teams can be merged, teams can be relocated…lots of options before you start adding unnecessary franchises to an already bloated league.

To that point, here are some NHL franchises that would be better off being contracted or merged to make room for new teams.

Obviously, these are all hypothetical, wishful thinking candidates – so try to refrain from throwing the apparent horrible ramifications at me.

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