Gary Bettman says that re-alignment for possible expansion teams is something that has to be resolved.
Speaking on Prime Time Sports Thursday, the NHL commissioner went into detail about how that scenario could play out.
“There are issues at 17 and 15 (teams) that I know are more difficult than 14 and 16,” said Bettman. “And I think that if you asked for example, Columbus or Detroit, who went East, they would not happily or be agreeable to moving back to the West.”
The Blue Jackets and Red Wings switched conferences prior to the 2013-14 season as part of the league’s realignment.
“I don’t think it would be appropriate to ask them to go West again so that isn’t even on the table, to ask them to do.”
Bettman, who turned 64 years old on Thursday, reiterated that there haven’t been any decisions made on expansion yet. The NHL’s board of governors is due to meet at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas later this month to discuss the expansion franchise bids from Las Vegas and Quebec City.
“The executive committee … they’re going to meet and make a recommendation and it could be no expansion, could be deferred expansion, could be one team, could be two teams, but they’ll make a recommendation in advance to the board meeting,” said Bettman.
Bettman also said that Kansas City has never been in the mix to host an NHL franchise while Seattle was a location where “nobody seemed to be able to get their act together in respect to a new arena so none of them ever filed an application.”