Talk of NHL expansion growing,  updates on the Penguins and Avalanche, plus the latest on Paul Stastny, Jamie Benn and more.

NHL expansion to Las Vegas a done deal?

NHL expansion to Las Vegas a done deal?

THE VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Tony Gallagher cites sources claiming NHL expansion to Las Vegas is a done deal, other than determining who will become the owner. Gallagher also notes the number of visit league commissioner Gary Bettman has recently made to Seattle, where a new arena is expected to be built. Bettman has acknowledged interest from “multiple groups” in Seattle, Las Vegas, Kansas City and Quebec City. Gallagher also suggests the Florida Panthers could be ripe for relocation, for despite their lengthy arena lease, the city of Sunrise “can’t seem to see the point of carrying on much longer.”

SPORTS BUSINESS NEWS’ Howard Bloom claims “NHL expansion – four teams added by 2017, Quebec City, Toronto, Seattle, and Las Vegas $1.4b in expansion fees.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt the league is seriously considering expansion. Just the way the conferences are currently aligned (16 teams in the Eastern Conference, 14 in the Western Conference) suggests there’s room for two more franchises out west. And of course the opportunity to move into potentially lucrative markets is always enticing. The league is also doing it the right way by carefully weighing their options. That’s a big change over the last rash of expansion in the 1990s, where it seemed franchises were handed out to prospective owners willing to pay rich expansion fees with little thought to the viability of the potential markets.

One or two existing franchises could be relocated. It was reported this summer the city of Sunrise hired a consultant to examine the possibility of letting the Florida Panthers out of their arena lease.  However, until we see or hear an official announcement that these are done deals,  or that an existing franchise will be relocated, I advise not to get too wrapped up in the hype.  George Malik of Kukla’s Korner explains why

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins coach Mike Johnston could consider putting Pascal Dupuis and Patric Hornqvist with center Evgeni Malkin.

THE DENVER POST: After their significant improvement last season, the Colorado Avalanche face the challenge of meeting heightened expectations.

NHL.COM: Former Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny hopes to be a winner in his hometown of St. Louis. Stastny signed with the Blues this summer as a free agent.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars captain Jamie Benn is among Dallas’ 10 most eligible men.

USA TODAY: The New York Rangers are working on a new contract for defenseman John Moore.

TSN.CA: Stalled talks regarding a confidentiality pact are behind the delay in a settlement of Steve Moore’s civil suit against Todd Bertuzzi.