The NHL and NHPLA appear to have agreed in principal to an expansion draft model and a mandate on existing no-movement clauses, according to TSN’s Gary Lawless.
While the agreement does not mean expansion beyond the NHL’s current 30 teams will happen, a significant hurdle has now been cleared should the league choose to award one, or even two new franchises to interested parties in Las Vegas and/or Quebec City.
A consensus between the NHL and NHLPA was required before the league’s executive committee could recommend expansion as proper regulations needed to be in place prior to any such recommendation being possible.
It also appears that the previous suggestions made by the league relating to each teams ability to protect a certain number of its contracted players will continue under the new agreement.
The NHL believes each current team would probably lose one player per new franchise.
Prospective ownership groups in both Las Vegas and Quebec City are currently working their way through the league application process in the hope of landing a franchise in time for the 2017-18 season.
The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas opened earlier this month, with a successful ticket drive also taking place in the city last year, while Quebec City has been seen as a possible destination for relocation or expansion for some time now.
Should the NHL proceed with expansion ready for the 2017-18 campaign, it is likely the draft would take place in roughly 12 months time. Though there remains the possibility that the league may also wait until 2018-19 before welcoming any new teams in to the fold.