PALM BEACH, Fla. -- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he recently met with actor Ryan Reynolds about potentially being involved with the Ottawa Senators' new ownership group.
"[Reynolds] very much impressed us," Bettman said at the NHL's board of governors meetings on Tuesday. "If we can figure out a way to have him included, I think that would be great for the Senators and great for the league."
The Senators announced they would be put up for sale in November following the death of longtime owner Eugene Melnyk in March. The condition of the sale is that the team must remain in Ottawa.
Bettman said more than a dozen parties have signed a nondisclosure agreement to view the Senators' data bank. After that, the commissioner expects a more formal process to begin In January.
Reynolds, who grew up in Canada, confirmed his interest in an appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" in November.
"I am trying to [buy the team]; it's very expensive, so I need a partner with really deep pockets," Reynolds told Fallon. "It's called a consortium, when you form a group to buy an entity, and it's such a fancy way of saying, 'I need a sugar mommy or a sugar daddy,' and if that doesn't happen, I'll buy a U.S. senator, which everyone can afford."
Reynolds became the co-owner of a fifth-tier English soccer club, Wrexham AFC, alongside actor Rob McElhenney -- an endeavor the two chronicled in a Hulu documentary.
"He's very smart, he has a number of businesses besides the acting business, and he understands sports and he understands promotion," Bettman said. "I think he told us his followers on all of his platforms combined was well over 100 million. So he's somebody who is very popular and very engaged, and he's doing a great job with Wrexham."
One NHL team president told ESPN that Reynolds being involved with the Senators would be "sensational" for the NHL.
"Have you seen his social media following?" the NHL team president told ESPN. "Heck, if Ryan Reynolds posts about the Senators on Instagram seven times, that could be worth it alone."
The Senators were sold to Melnyk in 2003 for $92 million. This sale is expected to eclipse that, and then some. The last NHL team to undergo a full ownership change was the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were sold to Fenway Sports Group last December. That sale price was "roughly $900 million," according to sources.
At this week's meetings, NHL owners were optimistic about the sale price of the Senators.
"Here's a credit to Gary Bettman's impact over 30 years in office," one NHL owner told ESPN. "A franchise that once nobody wanted, that nearly went bankrupt, is now going to go for $700 million-plus."