I have been doing some thinking lately about what the NHL will look like now through the 2015 season.
Here are some of my predictions about what teams, and overall landscape of the NHL will be like from now till 2015:
In Winnipeg, the recently acquired Atlanta Thrashers announce that due to popular demand the team will be renamed the Winnipeg Jets.
The Philadelphia Flyers win the 2011-2012 Stanley Cup
The Phoenix Coyotes relocate to Hamilton, ON to become the Hamilton Tigers after being sold to Jim Balsille after the 2011-2012 season. The Board of Governors votes unanimously (even with threats from the Buffalo Sabres that a Hamilton franchise will encroach on their TV territory) to approve the sale.
The CBA talks occur in 2012 and last for 3 months; The owners and governors agree that a second NHL strike in less than 10 years would be devastating, and they sign an agreement with the NHLPA. The salary cap remains in place above $60 million. The new agreement also puts in a "circumventing the cap" rule which prevents contracts like Illya Kovalchuk from happening again.
The Washington Capitals win the 2012-2013 Stanley Cup
The NHL grants an expansion team to Quebec City, giving birth to the Quebec Nordiques for the 2013-2014 season. The Nordiques will play at a newly constructed arena.
The New York Islanders relocate to the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the 2013-2014 season. Though discussions were in place to change the team name (and colors) to the Brooklyn Americans to honor the pre-original six franchise. The New York Rangers opposed having two teams having red, white and blue in the same market; thus, the New York Islanders name and colors were retained.
The Colorado Avalanche host the 2013 Winter Classic at Invesco Field at Mile High in front of 80,000 versus the Detroit Red Wings. The Colorado Avalanche wore the old uniforms of the 1995-2006 Colorado Avalanche team, and the Red Wings wore the home uniforms of the early mid-90's (The one with DETROIT written across the chest.). The puck drop was performed by John Elway.
The Edmonton Oilers win the 2013-2014 Stanley Cup
Todd Bertuzzi retires.
In 2014, An NHL player dies as a result of injuries sustained by an intentional headshot, leading to a multi-lateral Canadian and American federal investigation of league rules and policies regarding headshots. This results in major changes and punishments including life time bans, criminal charges for players who commit these unsportsmanlike-like acts.
To even the conferences, the NHL grants an expansion team to Seattle, WA; the team is named the Seattle Metropolitans in honor of the pre-original six era franchise which was the first ever American team to win the Stanley Cup. This move by the NHL was heavily opposed by the Vancouver Canucks who have historically drawn a large fan base from the Seattle market. The team is to play in the 2014-2015 season
In the summer of 2014, Kroenke Sports Enterprises (KSE) sells it's interest in the Colorado Avalanche to local business man, and former Montreal Canadiens owner, George Nield Gillett Jr. KSE will still own and operate the Denver Nuggets and the Pepsi Center; but the Colorado Avalanche will still continue to share the building under a 30 year lease program (similar to the Washington Wizards/ Washing Capitals arrangement).
At the end of the 2014-2015 season, Gary Bettman steps down as NHL Commissioner.
The Winnipeg Jets win the 2014-2015 Stanley Cup
In 2015 -The Columbus Blue Jackets are sold to the Toronto Legacy group, who relocates the team to Toronto to become the Toronto Legacy. The Legacy agree to play in the Western conference to appease Toronto Maple Leaf ownership.
The Colorado Avalanche win the 2015-2016 Stanley Cup versus the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2; Captain Matt Duchene wins the MVP. Calvin Pickard stopped all 42 shots to shut out the Pens in game 6 to win the cup. Pickard would go on to win the Venzina Trophy and Landeskog would go on to win the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy for the 2015-2016 season.