Now that the lockout is settled, the NHL can get back to business. Expansion has long been a topic of debate. And while league officials insisted to ESPN this week that no plans are in place to move to 32 teams, the landscape looks promising to reshape things.
First came news this week that officials in Markham, Ontario -- a suburb of Toronto -- voted down a motion that would have scrapped plans to finance a new NHL-caliber facility there. That leaves open the idea of bringing a second franchise to metropolitan Toronto. Meanwhile, construction continues on a new arena in Quebec City that likely will open in 2015. A town that lost the Nordiques in 1995 could soon be back in the game. And in Seattle, a new basketball arena, which also could house an NHL team, will be built provided the in-process sale and move of the NBA's Sacramento Kings goes through.
Plus, a deal for the Phoenix Coyotes fell apart Thursday. That team -- still owned by the NHL -- could be available to move, too.
- Brian McNally