The National Hockey League has expanded a lot in the last 30 years. Even in the last seven years, two new teams have joined the league.
The Vegas Golden Knights are already Stanley Cup champions (2023) with an additional appearance in the Finals (in their first year, 2017-18). They have only missed the postseason once.
The Seattle Kraken didn't come out as hot as the Knights, but they made the playoffs in their second season (2022-23). They even won a round and pushed their second-round matchup to game seven. It has been a good start for that franchise as a whole.
The two teams even played one another in the 2024 NHL Winter Classic. It was a great spectacle from two brand-new NHL cities.
The NHL may be coming out with another expansion team at some point
It sounds like the league is not done expanding. There have been tons of rumors over the last handful of months but one some news came out on Wednesday that might intrigue people.
The NHL revealed that a Salt Lake City ownership group made a formal expansion request. The league is going to review it and continue discussions with the group.
The ownership group is led by Utah Jazz (NBA) owner Ryan Smith who is the chairmen of Smith Entertainment Group. They have been in discussion with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman since 2022.
The league, as a part of their announcement, said that they are excited to consider Utah for this. They see Salt Lake City as a place that could be a good sports and entertainment spot.
We know the Utah Jazz are wildly successful in the NBA and Smith believes he can bring that to the NHL. It would be cool to see this end up happening at some point.
Would the league need to expand with two teams next time? It is certainly possible. We've seen the divisions be uneven in the past but it is nice seeing both conferences have the same number of teams. Utah would almost certainly be in the Pacific Division.
Like the NHL said, there is a lot to consider right now with this but they are not shutting the door on any expansion lately. Utah very well could be next.