According to Mitch Levy, a talk show host for Seattle radio station KJR, Bettman is pushing for an expansion team that would begin play in the city in the 2014-15 season. Levy reported via Twitter on Tuesday that Bettman is "encouraging" the NHL's Board of Governors to grant Seattle a franchise.
Levy tweeted that the group that tried to buy the Coyotes and move them to Seattle is among the groups that would be in play for an expansion franchise, which Levy said would cost $275 million.
Levy gave no indication whether a second expansion franchise would be awarded. Quebec City has been open about bringing back NHL hockey and is building a new arena. Las Vegas, Kansas City and the Greater Toronto Area are also seen as potentially viable expansion markets.
Mitch Levy on his twitter believes they'd be able to tweak the MOU to get the arena started to allow hockey in first.
In terms of that last part, Quebec is the most logical and prepared for a NHL team, but I'm sure Bettman wants to avoid that.
I'd remove Kansas City from that list since they have a profitable arena without an anchor tenant and their politicians have made comments along the lines of not wanting or needing an anchor tenant.
Greater Toronto Area would probably be successful but you have the whole territorial rights issue as well as the fact that the Markham Arena doesn't seem likely to happen now and the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton is almost 30 years old too.
I really do believe that Las Vegas could be an option for expansion (helps even the conferences with Seattle) or relocation (could keep Coyotes in the desert). They'll have a new arena opening in the spring of 2016 that can seat 20,000. Jerry Bruckheimer has pursued bringing the NHL to Las Vegas before, maybe he's still interested.
Portland Trail Blazer's owner Paul Allen has toyed with the idea of the NHL coming to Portland, even monitoring the latest Coyotes situation till the end. No idea if the NHL would have interest though. I think it's a long shot but it would be cool to see the Cascadia rivalry develop between Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland in the NHL like how it is in MLS.
Houston is one of the largest media markets in the US but it also seems like a long shot due to no clear owner or arena at this time.