For now, the NHL has disputed reports that the league plans to expand to Las Vegas, Seattle, Quebec City and add a second team in Toronto by 2017. Let's assume otherwise.
Expansion is a way of generating free money for existing NHL owners. The NHL expanded by four teams from 1998-2000, adding Nashville, Atlanta, Minnesota and Columbus. Each paid an $80 million franchise fee, allowing the league to distribute nearly $12.5 million to each existing club.