BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The 30 owners will gather in this picturesque locale Monday and Tuesday for their annual meeting that likely won't carry the sexy news many had hoped.
That is, a formal expansion announcement.
A source with knowledge of the board of governors' agenda told ESPN.com that no big expansion announcement will come out of this meeting despite all the details emerging especially when it comes to a potential team in Las Vegas, or for that matter Quebec City, Seattle and a second team in Toronto.
The expansion issue will indeed be discussed, as an update provided to owners on where things stand, just as the same kind of update was provided at the last three or four board meetings.
Within that context, commissioner Gary Bettman might get more direction from the owners on expansion, another source said. But the sense heading into the two-day meeting is that as far as the agenda goes, Bettman is not planning on making any big expansion announcements. The league is not quite ready yet, it would appear.
Is expansion coming? Definitely. But it sounds like it's going to wait a bit longer.
And one of the reasons it's coming, as one governor suggested to ESPN.com last week, is that the league has struggling owners in South Florida and Carolina, for example, that are champing at the bit to get their slice of the expansion fee, money that the league does not have to share with players. If rumors are true that the league could ask for approximately $500 million for an expansion team, then you can imagine how some owners are eager to get their hands on that moolah.
Other business at hand at this board of governors meeting:
The salary cap: This is the annual meeting during which the league gives clubs their first projected number for next season's salary cap. It's a projection, not an exact number, but normally it gives teams enough direction in order to plan ahead for next season. There has been much hand-wringing among some of the bigger-market, high-spending clubs that the salary cap isn't quite going up as much as they thought it was going to, which is leaving them pressed up against the ceiling trying to juggle how to re-sign and keep their core together.
Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin pointed to the uncertainty of the cap when he talked about dealing away Travis Moen and later Rene Bourque, both of whom carry contracts that go beyond this season.
Still, what governors will be told by the league leadership this week is that despite all the concern, as long as there isn't any significant change (downward) in the Canadian dollar between now and June 30, the salary cap next season is projected to be somewhere between $72 million and $74 million, up from the current $69 million. The governors will actually get a more precise figure though a source told ESPN.com it should be in that range.
International update: There isn't expected to much talk about future Winter Olympics participation at this meeting, however, there will definitely be a formal update on how plans are going for the return of the World Cup of Hockey, a source said.
The event is scheduled to return in September 2016, hosted entirely in Toronto.
The recently leaked details in which the league and NHL Players’ Association are looking to include two wild-card teams, one a European all-star team made up of players from countries not otherwise in the tournament (think Anze Kopitar of Slovenia) and the other proposed team a "Young Guns" under-23 side made up of American and Canadian players who didn't make their respective teams.
The reaction to this idea from fans and media has been overwhelmingly negative. One source suggested to ESPN.com that the European All-Star team stands on firmer ground that the Young Guns North American concept. It will be interesting to see what the feedback is from owners this week on this.
A source also added that even if this wild-card idea goes ahead for the September 2016 tournament, it does not necessarily mean that it will be the case for future World Cups after that.
Legal updates: There will be several reports for governors to hear from the league, including the business report and a legal report. Within that legal report, the league will update owners on the ongoing concussion litigation with former players and the league's motion to dismiss those claims.
Quebec update ... but not about expansion: Pierre Dion of Quebecor, whose TVA Sports French TV network has begun a 12-year national relationship with the NHL, will also make a presentation. Because of Quebecor's rumored interest in being the owner of the expansion Quebec City team, Dion’s presence at the board meeting will no doubt fuel Quebec expansion talk, but a source stressed that he's here only to talk to owners about TVA's new TV relationship with the league, and not expansion.