While the NHL has yet to publicly admit it, it's largely assumed that the league is hoping to expand to 32 teams in the near future. Currently possessing a 30-team membership, the league's newest realignment plan has created a disparity between its two conferences, as the Eastern grouping has two more teams than the Western.
If Seattle-based radio host Mitch Levy is correct, the NHL might already be working on equalizing that problem.
Levy tweeted early Wednesday morning that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is petitioning the league's board of governors to make an expansion franchise available to the Seattle market. If approved, the franchise would cost approximately $275 million and would formally begin operation during the 2014-15 regular season. In addition to meeting the operating costs, the proposed expansion team would require a stable ownership group (obviously), as well as guaranteed progress in the development of a state-of-the-art facility.
As of March, prospective Seattle sports owner Chris Hansen was planning on building an arena in order to attract the NBA and NHL. Seattle is a basketball town and was hoping the Sacramento Kings would relocate to the city. That ultimately fell through.
However, the acquisition of an NHL franchise is something that is reportedly of interest to Hansen, as well. With all the drama surrounding the Phoenix Coyotes ownership situation, Seattle was viewed as the most likely relocation destination. As you know, that also fell through.
With Key Arena available for use while the construction of a new facility begins, Seattle is a viable option for expansion. If nothing more, the city would be willing to construct an arena for hockey just because it will put them in good standing to eventually get an NBA team (if you build it, they will come kind of thing).
Other outlets have already reached out to the NHL for comment. Considering it's July and there is nothing else to talk about, it seems likely that you'll be hearing a lot about this report in the coming days.