1) With yesterday's news of a possible sale of the Nashville Predators we decided with the Cup Finals break to focus in on this and what other potential moves of other franchises may be forced/needed.
2) First, we are almost certain that Nashville will move. The early exit of the team this past spring was the final nail. Leopold, the team owner believed that a long Cup run this spring would attract more fans/local corporations and make the team profitable. (Explains the Forsberg trade) When that failed to happen (Another 1st round exit) it assured that Leopold would seek a buyer. He claims to have lost 25 million THIS year. (Wasn't the new CBA designed to prevent this??) After all we lost a full year of hockey so that small markets like Nashville could compete economically. Apparently they are still struggling!
3) Jim(Blackberry) Basille's bid to buy the team over other potential (American) buyers clearly signals an almost certain move to the Great White North. Where, is still debatable. Hamilton has been mentioned, as well as Winnipeg. Those, mostly because they have arenas that are NHL-ready now. Of course the Leafs and Sabres wouldn't like a competitor in their midst in Hamilton. While Winnipeg is far from where Basille works/lives. (We DO believe that the good folks in Winnipeg could still get a team, but its unlikely it'll be the Preds)
4) Another locale that we have read/heard about recently is the Kitchener-Waterloo area. They currently lack an NHL venue, but as it's Balsillie’s home base, where he could invest either on his own or most likely with some outside investment, in his own building for his newly purchased NHL franchise, it makes some sense. Of course that would mean a few years in Nashville as a lame duck team. Not a great circumstance unless you're in a position to lose even more $$ than Leopold did this season. What IS certain is that when the NHL approves the sale(you can bet the farm they will!) the Preds are as good as gone
5) That leaves us with what other teams will be next? We find it ironic that in a decade we've gone from teams exiting Canada for the south to now it looking likely that the opposite trend is here. It looks that in the short term (2-3 years) anyway, no other teams are in danger of relocating. The Thrashers/Panthers/Coyotes are three sun belt franchises that come to mind. However none are currently for sale, and Bettman at this time does NOT want to uproot those teams and lose what small foot print the league has in the south.
6) The U.S team that SHOULD have moved is the Devils! They have virtually no fan base to speak of. This despite years of success. However they are moving to a new arena that they will own/operate, so they will probably be pretty financially secure for 10+ more years in beautiful Newark, New Jersey.