As the NHL prepares to give up ownership of the Phoenix Coyotes, a report indicates that they could find themselves in ownership of another club. According to the New York Post, the league plans to take control over the New Jersey Devils should owner Jeff Vanderbeek fail to refinance the team's debt by August.
Vanderbeek is near a deal to sell a majority stake to a mystery investor, which would allow him to keep control of the Eastern Conference champions, one source said. The proceeds from a sale would be used to repay lenders much of the $77 million in past due debt.
But while Bettman has said publicly that he expects the Devils' financial situation to be resolved soon, his behind-the-scenes moves suggest he's far from confident that a deal will get done.
The Post has always been provocative when it comes to the Devils' financial situation, and Commissioner Gary Bettman has been vocal against the Post's coverage in the past -- most recently at his State of the League prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
But should this report hold true, it's obviously major news. It may seem like par for the course that the NHL owns a team after three-years of that same scenario in Phoenix, but that doesn't mean it's ever a positive for the league to own control of a team. This may simply be a worst-case contingency for the league, and should Bettman & Co. take ownership, it's not as if there are a limited amount of potential buyers to take over the team.
This isn't necessarily Coyotes 2.0, but it's not great news for the Devils or the NHL either.