Projected NHL Expansion Team Details

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: This was written for The Broad Street Bully, a blog and podcast my friend Drew and I started based off of our mutual interest in the Philadelphia Flyers. See it on]


Nothing has been confirmed yet, but it’s assumed that the NHL will approve an expansion team for Las Vegas.  This news hasn’t been officially reported by TSN Canada,which is ground zero for hockey news, so take all the reports coming out now with a grain of salt.

But, so far, what’s been floating around is that Las Vegas appears to be the only city that’s been approved for a new team.  The NHL executive committee has allegedly voted unanimously to recommend expansion but the final vote will be from the Board of Governors and will take place on June 22nd in Las Vegas.   And, if Las Vegas is approved for an NHL team, they also have to provide the $500 million dollar expansion fee required by the league.

The earliest any NHL expansion would take place is 2017-2018.

Source: CBSSports

UPDATES: As this was posted, TSN Canada posted their article about the NHL expansion.  Three separate, and unnamed, NHL sources have confirmed that a Las Vegas team will begin play starting with the 2017-2018 season.  The bid for a Las Vegas franchise has reportedly secured more than 14,000 season ticket deposits for their expected team.  The team will play their home games in the T-Mobile Arena, which was newly built on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip.  The arena will sit 17,500 people and was built entirely by private money from MGM Resorts International and Anschutz Entertainment Group, who also own the Los Angeles Kings.



Now, for nothing being confirmed about an expansion being definite, it hasn’t stopped the NHL from clarifying certain things about a potential expansion draft.

Here’s what’s been determined so far:

  • Any player contracts with no movement clauses, or partial no trade clauses, are protected through 2017-2018 if the player contract is valid.
  • However, one report says current NHL teams will be permitted to ask players that have no movement clauses or partial no trade clauses to waive them.
  • The new expansion team is required to select at least one player from every current team.  The expansion team’s minimum roster will consist of three goalies, nine defensemen, and fourteen forwards.
  • Current teams must expose at least two forwards and one defenseman that played 40 games in the 2016-2017 season or 70 games in the previous two seasons combined.
  • Current teams will have two options to protect their players: Option 1) seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender (eleven players total) or Option 2) eight skaters and one goaltender (nine players).  (The second option allows for teams to protect four defensemen but forces them to expose three more forwards.)
  • Any current players that have completed two years or less of NHL level seasons are exempt from the draft and won’t require their team to protect them.
  • NHL teams cannot reacquire players traded between January 1, 2017 and January 1, 2018.
  • The new expansion team will have to select a roster of players that reaches at least 60% of the max NHL salary cap.
  • The new expansion team is not allowed to buyout anyone they pick in the draft until the following season.
  • The new expansion team will have the same NHL Draft lottery odds as the team that finished third to last in the league and will not pick any lower than sixth overall.

SOURCES: TheHockeyNews, WGR550, and Yahoo Sports

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