A look at NHL territory rights
At first, Balsillie looked at Hamilton's Copps Coliseum as a potential home. He later turned his sights on Kitchener-Waterloo, where the company he founded, Research In Motion, is based. The Kitchener-Waterloo area also falls just outside what the NHL calls the Leafs' and Sabres' "home territory," which extends 80 kilometres from each city's corporate limits.Of note: The recent land purchased by Research in Motion — which may or may not be related to this whole Nashville business — is located just 62 kilometres from Etobicoke Creek, which is commonly regarded as the western limits for the City of Toronto.
Under NHL rules, a team can only move into another team's home territory with its permission. That permission comes with a hefty price tag.
Make of that what you will.
But Shoalts also notes in his piece the $35-million and $50-million price tag forked out by New Jersey and Anaheim, who both jumped in on the turf of the Rangers/Islanders and Los Angeles when their teams joined the league.
That's a figure that would be substantially higher if territorial concerns involved the Maple Leafs — for obvious reasons.
As for the non-relocation clause which outgoing Predators owner Craig Leipold spoke of during his press conference in Nashville today, there were some sources reporting during Balsillie's dealings with Pittsburgh that the league was prepared to negotiate that seven-year, no-movement term down as needed.
Ultimately, that didn't happen, but the door is certainly open to a similar move in this case, and especially, it would seem, with a team that has far less history in the league than the Penguins.