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City of Seattle officially files application for NHL expansion team

The NHL is closing in on a 32nd team after the city submitted a $10 million down payment.

Portland Trail Blazers v Seattle SuperSonics Photo by Terrence Vaccaro/NBAE via Getty Images

The NHL is one step closer to adding its 32nd team. On Tuesday evening, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman confirmed that the league has received the city of Seattle’s application for expansion and the $10 million advance down payment.

Seattle’s official expansion fee, as set by the NHL back in December, is set at $650 million. The NHL’s 31st team, the Vegas Golden Knights, had a $500 million expansion fee when the team sought a franchise back in 2016. The 2017-18 season is the Golden Knights’ first in the league.

The NHL’s next step, according to TSN’s Pierre Lebrun, is to review Seattle’s application before recommending it to the Board of Governors.

While we’re getting closer to another expansion team, we are still a ways off from seeing Seattle take the ice. In December, the city of Seattle approved a $600 million renovation of KeyArena, the city’s multipurpose arena that would be used for hockey. Renovations on the arena are set to be completed by 2020, which is likely the benchmark for when we’d see a Seattle team at the earliest.

With this next step, the NHL has practically halted any discussion of seeing an expansion team in Quebec City. The Canadian city could possibly land a relocated team, as could Houston. The futures of franchises like the Calgary Flames and Arizona Coyotes are up in the air thanks to arena struggles. However, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has been adamant that the league would like to keep those teams where they are.

In January, a report surfaced with a list of 13 potential names for the upcoming Seattle team, including the Evergreens, Kraken, Seals, and Firebirds. With the leaked list of names, and this recent news from NHL insiders, we’re rapidly closing in on adding a 32nd team to the NHL.