Anson Carter leading Atlanta NHL expansion bid, Rangers’ Matt Rempe suspended four games, and more: Around the League

Photo credit:© Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Cody Severtson
30 days ago
Multi-game suspensions and multiple talks of NHL expansion team options?
Post-trade deadline?
On a Tuesday morning?!
There were some surprising headlines making waves around the hockey world on Tuesday with serious ramifications for the playoff picture and the future of several NHL franchises.
Let’s start Tuesday’s news roundup out East, then work our way Westward.
Matt Rempe was suspended four games for elbowing Jonas Siegenthaler
The runaway freight train that was the love-in for Matt Rempe’s reckless play finally met its immovable object: the Department of Player Safety.
The Rangers rookie earned his first multi-game suspension from DOPs Head George Parros for his outrageously dangerous elbow to the head of Devils’ defenceman Jonas Siegenthaler. The suspension comes less than 20 days after Rempe received a match penalty for elbowing New Jersey’s Nathan Bastian.
Rempe has drawn a lot of attention from national media for his old-school throwback playstyle that saw him spend as much time in the penalty box for fighting as he did on the ice playing hockey. Rempe fought five times in his first seven NHL games, accruing 37 PIMS over 33:39 of ice time.
Despite Laviolette’s reasoning that Rempe only elbowed the second Devils player in as many head-to-head games because he had to brace himself for a collision with the end boards, the NHL wasn’t buying the excuse for Rempe’s predatory physicality. Travis Green, the Devils’ newest head coach, subtly called Rempe out for the second elbow against one of his guys.
The DOPs specifically called out Rempe’s decision to “flare his elbow both up and away from his body in a dangerous fashion, driving it directly into the head of Siegenthaler with substantial force.”
Rempe will be eligible to return to the lineup on March 19th when the Rangers take on the Winnipeg Jets.
The Rangers and Devils play one more time this season, on April 3rd, which will surely be must-watch television for the potential retaliation that may occur.
Anson Carter initiates a formal expansion process to bring hockey back to Atlanta
Third time’s the charm, right?
That’s ex-Canuck Anson Carter’s hope, at least.
The original 1970s expansion-Atlanta Flames lasted eight seasons, and the 90s Atlanta Thrashers expansion franchise lasted 11, until their sale to the True North Sports and Entertainment group owned and led by Canada’s richest person, Mark Chipman.
Tuesday morning, through a press release, Carter represented the Alpharetta Sports & Entertainment Group in announcing their bid for an expansion team to be brought to Atlanta.
Interestingly, Carter said that he had been in dialogue with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman since 2019 about bringing an expansion franchise to the Fulton Country Metro Atlanta market. The group targets an arena being brought to the North Point Mall site in Alpharetta.
It’s a bold strategy, as the Alpharetta area is about a 50-minute drive from downtown Atlanta and the Thrashers’ old barn, the now-named State Farm Arena.
In conjunction with our next piece of news, the timing could be right should the NHL expand to a 34-team league.
However, with the Winnipeg Jets’ attendance issues, the Coyotes arena issues, and the Smith Entertainment Group’s ability to host a team immediately at the Delta Center could make a dual expansion process difficult.
Stan Kroenke plans to bring an NHL team to San Diego.
Stan Kroenke, the billionaire owner of such sports franchises as Arsenal FC, Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets, and the Colorado Avalanche, has his sights set on bringing another NHL franchise into the fold.
In June 2023, Kroenke joined the Midway Rising group as the lead investor in a project to redevelop the Midway District and Sports Arena area of San Diego. The District’s current arena, the Pechanga Arena, is a near-60-year-old arena owned by the City of San Diego and plays home to the AHL’s San Diego Gulls, the NLL’s San Diego Seals, the MASL’s San Diego Sockers, and the Indoor Football League’s San Diego Strike Force.
Optimistically, the project to redevelop the area isn’t expected to see shovels in the ground until 2028.
As owner of the Avalanche, Kroenke would not be able to purchase a franchise to bring to San Diego, but his group could play landlord to an expansion team or a relocation of a current one.
Kroenke’s district redevelopment group faces stiff competition from Carter’s goal to bring hockey back to Atlanta and the Smith Entertainment Group (SEG) campaign to bring the NHL to Salt Lake City.
With the Arizona Coyotes losing their years-long battle for a permanent home and NHLPA boss Marty Walsh condemning the lack of a plan, one of Kroenke, Carter, or SEG has to be in the running to scoop hockey out of the Copper State for good.

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