BOSTON – Jeremy Jacobs, chairman of the NHL board of governors, takes the long-term view when looking at his sport. His decisions aren’t always popular – lockouts immediately come to mind – but he makes them with the goal of improving the league in the future.
He sees that being proved whenever the NHL expands.
The league shut its doors to create a salary cap in 2012, and Jacobs says one of the byproducts of the system will be an opportunity for rapid improvement by any new club. Las Vegas and Quebec City have applied for franchises.
“I think a new team coming into the NHL has a better chance to be competitive faster than their predecessors,” Jacobs told The Buffalo News on Thursday. “If you’re an expansion team today, because of the market like it is you can be competitive in a year or two or three, which you couldn’t before because you couldn’t build that, where the way the draft goes and things like that make a difference.
“They can get right into it much earlier because they’re going to have the same dollars to spend that you have. In fact, they’re not obligated by some bad deals you made.”
Jacobs, who is Boston to receive the Lester Patrick Trophy for contributions to hockey in the United States, likes the competitive balance that has been created in the NHL.
“That competitiveness really comes about by the balance of our cap system,” Jacobs said. “We have good competitive balance. When you see a Tampa or a Carolina team win the Cup, you know that you’ve got some balance there. It’s not a big-city only.”