NHL Rumors: League Could Expand Past 32 Teams Soon

The NHL has the most teams in the league (32) right now than it has ever had in its history. But that may not be enough as it is possible the NHL may expand further. Chris Johnston said that maybe in a year or two, we're talking about expanding the league past 32 teams.

So what would that entail? The most likely possibility is that the NHL adds more franchises in North America in sites like Quebec, Halifax, Houston, Kansas City, or others. The other possibility that I or many others thought would be discussed so soon is expanding to Europe.

The NHL plays games overseas every year, both exhibition games against local pro teams and regular season games against the other NHL team that makes the trip. But that would be extensive travel and that expansion team would likely have to play back-to-backs against any team that is travelling over to play against them. This would make it difficult for that new team to play in every NHL arena each season for fans to come see them.

None of the four major sports leagues have more than 32 teams and the NFL is the only other league with even 32 teams. The number of teams allows for the divisions to be equal and split up nicely into four. The NHL wouldn't stop at 33 if they were to expand. They would go to 34 or 36. There's no way to split up the divisions equally with 34 teams, but if they eventually get up to 36, they could go back to six divisions and have six teams in each rather than five in each this time.

32 teams is already very difficult for any team to win. As for the expansion draft, they would need to expand one team at a time unlike how they did in the past. When multiple expansion teams entered the league, they were put at a big disadvantage. But if the same rules that were applied to the Vegas Golden Knights and Seattle Kraken were applied to more than one team simultaneously, then all other 32 teams would lose out significantly.

It is interesting but also unneeded at this point for the NHL to expand further.

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