Checking out of the weekend?? Don't go anywhere before the F5 hits. This week, I'm glad that the Columbus Blue Jackets' troubles happened this week, especially since someone sent in a question about relocation and expansion. Let's get right to it.
1. What comes first, expansion or franchise relocation to Canada?? (From Justin W.)
With those being the two options, I think relocation as a no-brainer. The relocation to Canada is the smart idea as it would bring in more revenue to the league, thus raising the cap numbers and allowing more owners to spend. However, the downside is like what we have in Phoenix where there's a lease there with the city and it's near impossible to get out of. With all the legal debates and stuff, the relocating owner would definitely have a lot on their plate to break out of leases and agreements they have with the place they're trying to get out of.
Expansion is the option that is a last resort and would probably only be used in order to feed the demand of owners an prospective locations; which really isn't there right now. It's not like the early to mid 90s when hockey was the hot sports and everyone wanted a piece of it; we're in different times and it's not feasible to have other teams to worry about when it comes to financial stability.
2. Wouldn't expansion also dilute the talent out there??
Yes and no. Obviously, you're going to see a lot of guys you'd never thought would be NHL regulars get into the league. At the same time it would create more jobs, which the NHLPA would love to have for it's players, and maybe give more options for guys thinking about going over to Europe to play. The biggest thing it would impact is more jobs for goalies who are on the fringe and more teams for superstar forwards to victimize, as the defense for the expansion team will probably not be so good. And who knows, you could have guys who get an everyday spot on the expansion squad and turns out to be part of the elite; who would never have gotten a chance anywhere else because of the numbers game.
3. What places would be ripe for expansion/relocation??
You obviously have places like Winnipeg, Hamilton, and Quebec City-- the ones that create the most buzz. Yet, I think that Kansas City would get a look if they can find some solid ownership. They already have an arena there, they have decent size media outlets to deal with (31st in radio, 32nd in TV), and would have a decent amount of rivalry build in with possible the Blues if they were to move there. While it may not be the sexiest option, the Kansas City hockey history not as memorable as some other places-- it's something that really could do well and if they get a good team, actually keep the people in the stands after the buzz is gone.
You could probably mention Las Vegas, but I don't think it'd be plausible since it is a tourist town and you probably wouldn't get many residence turn out every game to make it work there. The good thing about Vegas is you could put the payroll on a hand of blackjack and double your revenue like that....or lose it all.
4. What about contraction, is that a valid option??
I think it's a definite last resort if you can't sell a team, but it's be a fight from some other owners and definitely from the NHLPA, who would have their players lose jobs. That said-- it's something that would probably kill off some of the teams that don't pull their weight for revenue and drag down the earning power for the NHL. Some owners would enjoy it, the others not so much. The reason is because once you actually start contracting teams, where does it stop before you're back down to single-digits.
5. Which team should be the first to go if there is contraction??
This could get some angry responses (or not), but I don't think the Coyotes are the ones who should be the first to go if there is a reduction-- they'd be my first candidate to move. Personally, I think the Florida Panthers may be the best bet to get contracted. While they did have a good team, they also don't get the butts in the seats and it's not really their fault. If anything, they are a victim to their enviroment. Miami loves teams when they win, ignores them when they lose. Most of Florida is like that, actually-- but Sunrise takes the cake it seems. The Marlins and Heat couldn't get people into the stand when they were awful, but when they win-- you can't find a ticket. I think the fact they're going to be putting a tarp over the cheap seats (albeit with advertisements to counteract the losses) shows that this is a team in trouble if they don't start doing something with their on-ice product.
If you have an idea or question for the F5, like Justin did, then all you have to do is email me at Scotty.Wazz@Gmail.com and pitch it away. Odds are I will use it in the next installment of the F5, mostly due to my own issues with coming up with something worth rambling on about.