PITTSBURGH, PA -- The NHL's ongoing expansion process involving the Las Vegas and Quebec City markets is expected to be finalized at the Board of Governors meeting in Las Vegas on June 22, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday.
Commissioner Bettman, speaking prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at Consol Energy Center, said he anticipates the Board of Governors will receive a recommendation on expansion from the BOG executive committee approximately a week prior to meeting in Las Vegas.
The Governors will likely then vote on expansion with three potential outcomes:
1) No expansion at all.
2) Deferred expansion to a later time.
3) Expansion to one or both markets.
"I am not going to handicap what's going to happen, but when the Board meets in Las Vegas on June 22, I am fairly certain that we will know more than we do today," Commissioner Bettman said.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the League's timeline for expansion would still allow for a new team or teams to begin playing in the 2017-18 season.
"We have said that's the earliest it will happen," Daly said. "It could be one of the decisions made is expansion is going to happen, but it's deferred a year. There's nothing about our current timing precludes 17-18."
If the vote is to expand, Daly said the League and the NHL Players' Association have the expansion draft rules "nailed down to the extent they need to be."
Following the press conference, Daly said first- and second-year professionals would be exempt from the expansion draft. He would not define what constitutes one year of professional hockey.
"There is a specific procedure and definition with respect to how you qualify professional players," Daly said. "But I'm not in a position to say more than that."
Daly said players with no-trade clauses would be eligible to be left exposed for a potential expansion draft. He did not speak in specifics about players with no-move clauses in their contracts.
"No-trade carries no significance with respect to the expansion draft at all," Daly said.
Daly said teams will not have to expose an agreed upon minimum amount of salary for the expansion draft, which is a change from what was discussed and made public at the NHL General Managers meetings in March.
"I think it was the result of a couple things, but primarily I alluded to the fact that we've looked at everybody's roster and kind of see where they fit and see what kind of protection they would have to have and clubs are in different places with respect to that," Daly said. "I think at the end of the day, from a competitive standpoint, we didn't think it made a huge difference."