Bettman: Winnipeg and Quebec City first in line for expansion


While Gary Bettman’s state of the league/Stanley Cup press conference covered a lot of topics that we’ve covered here today, an interesting topic that was touched on was about what the league plans to do should expansion or relocation come up in discussions.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman expressed interest in seeing teams return to Winnipeg and Quebec City before another one ever comes to Southern Ontario. And he regrets allowing the Jets and Nordiques to move.

“I’d like to try and fix something that I wish might not have happened in the first place,” he said Friday during his annual state-of-the-league address prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final. “Not unlike what we did in Minnesota.”

The reclaim-to-glory plan worked well with the Wild in Minnesota because, well, Minnesota is the state of hockey and the team left town because Norm Green was kind of a jerk. As for the whole deal with Winnipeg, Bettman confirmed David Thomson and True North submitted an offer for the Phoenix Coyotes and elaborated a little on how that would break down.

“They are very comfortable with the process,” he said. “They understood that the likelihood was that the team was going to be remaining in Phoenix. They wanted us to know of their interest and they have told us that they are prepared to be patient.”

He’s reluctant to say how long it will be before the NHL returns to Winnipeg.

“I’m not going to put a timeline on it because I do not want to raise expectations,” Bettman said. “The interest is clear and bona fide. It’s gratifying.”

In other words, Bettman would like for them to wait until expansion, but depending on how things go in Phoenix, they may not have to wait that long.

Flames release Ryan Wilson from PTO

Ryan Wilson, Sidney Crosby
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The Calgary Flames have released Ryan Wilson from his professional tryout.

The 28-year-old was trying to make a comeback after missing 79 games with a shoulder injury last season.

Even with T.J. Brodie sidelined because of a broken hand, Wilson still faced long odds to make the final roster.

The veteran will be hard-pressed to find NHL work with another team.

He hasn’t suited up in more than 12 regular season games since 2011-12.

The Stockton Heat, Calgary’s AHL affiliate, also made some news on Sunday.

The club announced that they’ve signed Colton Orr to an AHL contract.

The 33-year-old tough guy suited up in just one game for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He has 12 seasons of NHL experience under his belt.

‘Yotes return Dylan Strome to OHL

Dylan Strome, Nikita Nikitin

The Arizona Coyotes have returned Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL.

Strome, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.

The 6’3, 185 pounder was hoping to stick with the Coyotes this season, but the team decided to take the conservative approach with their top prospect.

Strome will look to build off an incredible junior season that saw him score 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games.

Strome seems to be taking the demotion in stride.

The team also announced that they’ve assigned goaltender Louis Domingue and forward Matthias Plachta to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

Domingue, 23, had a 1-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in seven games last season.

Plachta, a free agent signing, will begin his first pro season in North America. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points in the German League last season.