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Report: Las Vegas to Get NHL Team in 2017-2018 Season

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The NHL is Expected to Expand to Las Vegas For The 2017-2018 Season. 

After years of rumors and reports that the NHL was looking to expand, it seems to finally be happening. According to Adrian Dater of Bleacher Report, Las Vegas will be one of the cities getting a NHL franchise in the 2017-2018 season.

As of right now, the NHL, while having an even number of teams, 30, the two conferences are not balanced. The Eastern Conference currently has 16 teams, but the Western Conference only 14. By adding a team in Las Vegas, as well as another club that would need to be added to even the leagues number of teams, both conferences would be balanced at 16 teams.

While nothing is official as of now, the NHL’s Board of Governors is expected to approve the move sometime in June, which would give teams over a year to prepare for the Expansion draft, which may effect the way teams build their clubs and the moves they make during the offseason and trade deadline.

While no rules have been announced, and will not be until the expansion is official, deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the rules would be similar to the last expansion draft in 2000. In the last draft, teams were allowed to protect either one goaltender, five defensemen, and nine forwards or two goaltenders, three defensemen, and seven forwards. Other rules expected to be added are that first and second year pros, as well as unsigned draft picks, will be exempt from the draft. One question that many have is whether players with no movement clauses will be exempt from the draft as well, or if they will be made available for selection. The answer will likely be announced with the rest of the rules sometime in late June.

While it isn’t a guarantee that another team would be added with a Las Vegas franchise, the league would most likely be interested to even both conferences out, which adding another club would accomplish. Quebec City, which was the home of the Quebec Nordiques from 1975-1995, placed an expansion bid along with Las Vegas in July of 2017, and look to be the leading candidate if another team is to be added alongside a Las Vegas franchise.

If the reports are true, the NHL would be the first major professional sports leagues to have a franchise call Las Vegas their home. If a hockey team can be successful in Las Vegas, it could spark other leagues to look into the city as a potential landing spot for their own franchise. The NFL has been rumored to be looking into moving the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas, and the success of another major sports team could be the final push to turn the entertainment capital of the world into a major sports town.