Congratulations to Las Vegas. Expansion approved for 2017/2018
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 22, 2016
After more than a year of speculation and rumours, Las Vegas will officially have a team in the NHL, starting in 2017-18. The team will play at the already constructed T-Mobile Arena, with a seating capacity over 17,000.
This will be the first expansion in the NHL since the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets both entered the league in 2000-01.
The Las Vegas NHL team with play in the Pacific Division with Kings, Ducks, Sharks, Canucks, Oilers, Flames and Coyotes.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) June 22, 2016
Vegas will play in the Pacific Division, which now makes the Central Division the only one in the NHL with just seven teams. That seems somewhat fair given that the Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, and St. Louis Blues are all current powerhouses playing there.
Las Vegas will be the NHL's 31st team. Blackjack!
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) June 22, 2016
Las Vegas will partake in the 2017 draft lottery, holding the odds equivalent to a team finishing third-last in the league. This means they will pick no later than sixth in the first round, and third in all other rounds.
There will also, of course, be the expansion draft next summer where Vegas will draft a total of 30 players – one from every team. Prior to the draft, there may be a period for the Las Vegas team to make trades.
The NHL expects to open a window where the Las Vegas team can make trades/transactions before expansion draft. That's never happened before.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 22, 2016
There’s no way to say what the Vegas team will look like for sure, but luckily for avid hockey fans there’s a tool out there that allows you to assemble your own Vegas expansion roster.
As for the name of the team, there’s been rumours of it being the “Las Vegas Black Knights,” but Bill Foley didn’t officially announce a name yet.
Why are people hung up on Las Vegas Black Knights team name? They'll invariably be referred to as the Vegas Knights & thats pure NHL poetry
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) June 22, 2016
With all the commotion involving Las Vegas, the NHL did also speak a bit about the lack of expansion for Quebec City, which once looked promising.
Commissioner Gary Bettman cited the struggling Canadian economy and the imbalance of conferences as the two main reasons for the lack of expansion.
That said, many are still hopeful Quebec City could get a team in the future, whether through expansion or relocation.
It sure looks as though the NHL is holding Quebec City as a landing spot for an existing team, doesn't it?
— Ken Campbell (@THNKenCampbell) June 22, 2016
NHL not closing the door for Québec city to have an expansion team. #tvasports
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) June 22, 2016
So Quebec City may not be too far away, but for now it’s Las Vegas’ time to shine, and their first chance will be on October 7 when they host a preseason game between the L.A. Kings and the Dallas Stars.