The Florida Panthers could have a new division rival and a fun road trip stop in the desert very soon. As expected, billionaire Bill Foley's Black Knight Sports and Entertainment LLC filed an expansion application on behalf of the city of Las Vegas and media giant Quebecor did the same in a big step towards returning the Nordiques to Quebec City.
Despite expectations of perhaps getting multiple bids from the Seattle area, the three interested potential ownership groups there all decided to pass, at least for the time being.
Victor Coleman backed out the other day and an unnamed group looking to place a team in suburban Bellevue wasn't able to secure financing, leaving Ray Bartoszek's Tukwila bid as the area's last hope. Unfortunately, yesterday's deadline came and went without Bartoszek putting his money where his mouth is and filing an application.
Plans for a new arena in the Tukwila, while fast tracked, are still in the early stages and in the case of Chris Hansen's SoDo project, which Coleman was trying to be a part of, contingent on the NBA returning to the Emerald City one day.
As hot as the NHL is on placing a team in Seattle, it's just not going to happen until a 100% guarantee of a new building is in place. And of course, someone is going to need to step up and actually write that fat check to end the thirty-plus year flirtation between the city of Seattle and the NHL if that time ever comes.
Now, just because Las Vegas and Quebec filed applications and paid the associated $10 million fee, it doesn't mean the league is obligated in any way to award them franchises. But, it is hard to imagine the NHL leaving a $1 billion on the table, so I am pretty certain the Panthers will be facing off against the Nordiques and Knights (that's right, that Black Knights thing is not gonna fly) soon enough.
I've got a lot of thoughts regarding expansion so I will fire them off in the comments section as time permits.