I've had my stance on relocation for a while, I wasn't too happy with Winnipeg getting a team, but they were the last legitimate Canadian city who could support a team. Their fans went Hockey crazy again, and it looks like the Winnipeg situation turned out well for everyone, except for the die hard Atlanta Thrasher fans. But, when Winnipeg got their team back, you could hear everyone else say bring back the Nordiques, and that would be a HUGE mistake. There are other American cities who definitely deserve their shot at an NHL team before QC gets their second go around, it's not going to work again. There aren't enough people there to support that team. The fan base would be a decent one, but there just wouldn't be enough people for it to work, the income in Quebec City also isn't that great, with the province of Quebec having the lowest income of all provinces, Montreal with a median income that is ranked near QC somewhere around 18th-20th in the country of Canada. If they really want to sell the game to Americans more, they have to be smart in relocation.
Should Seattle get a new arena (which is very possible) it would be perfect for an NHL team. For a team to move to Seattle, they need to get a new arena, but that's only going to happen if an NBA and NHL team commit to playing there and help with finances for the arena. I know there are a few potential buyers in the NBA that want to move to Seattle, and if that happens then there would be a good chance that a potential buyer in the NHL will be wanting to move along with them. Having commitment from an owner would make Seattle a serious candidate. That would be perfect, these guys are dying for a winter sport, and I think Hockey could do very well in Seattle. Need some proof? Look at their MLS team that they got only 2 years ago, definitely one of the best fanbases in the sport. Hockey in the Pacific Northwest in the USA would be perfect.
Another good American city would be Portland, Oregon. They have an arena for a team to play in, they also received an MLS team last year, and almost same results as the people of Seattle. Their MLS team didn't do so well in the standings, but the fans loved the team and definitely established a fanbase. It's a bit of a small city, but the people want more than just an NBA and MLS team there, they don't have a football team, so the big sports fans of Portland really are only spending money to see the Trail Blazers and the Timbers, a Hockey team would fit well there with a city that can afford it also. The northern part of the country is a place where we MUST sell Hockey, we can't sell it to the southern part of the country if over half of the northern states aren't seeing it either. The northern part of the country will always have a bit more interest in Hockey, selling it to the people who will accept it more would be easier, once they have it, then you can talk about going even more south. This would be a great move for the NHL along with Seattle.
And another American city that would be ideal for NHL hockey, Milwaukee. I don't understand how they haven't gotten a team a while ago? Wisconsin is very cold state with pond Hockey temperatures, there is an interest in Hockey there in the colleges and high schools, the city of Milwaukee has enough people and stability to support a team, they have already have a functioning arena. Milwaukee would be a great place for NHL hockey, they have the money and the people to support them, they would have the Wild and the Red Wings to the east and Winnipeg in the north as the teams around them, I don't understand how the NHL hasn't tried Seattle/Portland/Milwaukee over other cities like Phoenix, Anaheim, South Florida (not Tampa, they actually have a pretty good fanbase), Atlanta, and maybe even Dallas.
Only good things can happen if Seattle, Portland, and Milwaukee were to get the next relocating teams. All the GMs who complained about the travel would be happier, especially teams in the western conference. You add 2 teams to a desolate northwest part of the NHL map and you add a team to the central of the NHL map, so right there you make a whole conference happier. You can move teams like Nashville and Columbus to the east, since they are more eastern teams, thus making those 2 happier, and putting Winnipeg back in the West where they belong. You would have Vancouver, Portland, Seattle, SJ, LA, and Anaheim all on the West coast. in the central part of the NHL map you would have Winnipeg, Detroit, Minnesota, Milwaukee, Chicago, Colorado and St.Louis. Dallas and Phoenix are a bit out of the way still. But, you really put teams closer into proximity, re-aligning would be easier/simpler, you would get better parts of the country for Hockey and create new fanbases that could support a team, and I believe could eventually be big NHL crazy cities.
The only thing, if you were to move a team to Seattle, Portland, and Milwaukee, who would be moved? Well, number 1 is definitely Phoenix, no question. Find an owner willing to bring them to Portland or Seattle. Next, Florida would be a smart team to move, Milwaukee could be a good spot for them. Move Florida and Winnipeg to the central and you could possibly return Columbus and Nashville. And for the 3rd spot, you could choose from Anaheim or Dallas, who's fanbases are really showing their true colors when their teams aren't winning championships. Dallas was good for a while, then up until the last few years, they don't get much of a crowd even though they arguably have the best ticket prices available. And Anaheim has never been a big place for Hockey, I feel like it also could overshadow LA's market, who is an older team with more fans. I just don't feel Anaheim has enough hockey fans down there, and more times than not, the people who like hockey and root for a team down there, usually root for the Kings who have been around for longer, are an established fanbase in a city that can be tough to sports teams. You move one Anaheim or Dallas to Portland, and you probably don't even have to re-align the Pacific division.
Another possibility is moving to elsewhere in Canada. Hamilton is also a city that's been talked about (very close to Toronto/Buffalo) and also the province of Saskatchewan, with the possible cities being Regina and Saskatoon. I feel that Hamilton is too close to the Toronto, Ottawa, and Buffalo markets to actually gather a fanbase. Their arena would be overrun by fans of those teams when they play, and I just feel it's too much of a small market. Some people in America probably wouldn't even know where Hamilton is or that it's an actual city in Canada. And the Saskatchewan idea is a bit plausible, but do they have the people to support a team there? The income is there, although it isn't very populated. But, if there were to be a team moving to Canada, I would be okay with a team moving to Saskatoon or Regina and representing the province of Saskatchewan. Regardless, Seattle/Portland/Milwaukee should be something the NHL tries before going to Quebec City/Hamilton/Saskatchewan.
So I'd like to hear what you guys have to say, it would be cool to get QC back, but it wouldn't be the smart thing to do. Spread Hockey in America and it will become bigger nationally.