Dynasty Hockey League

DHL Expansion Coming – Florida Panthers Return

After months of speculation, its finally official that the DHL will be expanding to 29 teams next season. The return of the Florida Panthers will occur for season 25 with current Tampa Bay GM Rich Basterd taking the reigns. Expansion has always been a hotly debated topic in DHL so it will be interesting to see how well its received now that its officially going to happen.

“As a long time Florida Panthers fan, I’m super excited to be able to run a new franchise. I knew this was a real possibility but was getting a bit nervous that it may fall apart with how long it took to announce. I guess patience does pay off and I’ll be looking forward to making a plan for the Panthers soon,” GM Basterd commented.

The rules have also been announced which give existing GMs the structure of what the expansion draft will look like as well as other changes that will made to accomodate the addition of the

Panthers. “Thanks to the committee for agreeing to these terms. I know it wasn’t an easy process,” commissioner John Lu stated after the announcement was made. Let’s take a look at some of the rules:

Each team will have 3 options for asset protection and can only lose 1 asset:

Option A – Protect 14 assets and the prospects selected in the Y24 draft are exempt
Option B – Protect 15 assets
Option C – Protect 16 assets and give Florida 12 million from the teams’ current funds

Its very possible that many contending teams will elect to go with option C so that they can retain as many assets as possible. But there’s a small wrinkle in the rules that forces teams to expose assets as well. The rules stipulate that every team must expose at least 2 players with an OV rating of 64 or higher and signed for at least one season. Additional, teams will need to expose 2 prospects as well still playing hockey at some level who were born in 1992 or later. There’s no requirement currently about what type of players the Panthers will select so that could give them a lot of options.

Basterd added, “Obviously I can’t speculate much on who will be part of the roster for next season yet. But I expect to be very active in making moves prior to the expansion draft as well as shortly after. Will the Panthers be competitive on day 1? Probably not but we’ll see which guys end up being exposed and who will be available for trade to determine that. But I can’t thank the committee enough for laying the groundwork and giving me plenty of options with some potential to acquire some very good assets.”


In addition to the players that will be selected, the Panthers will also start out with $50 million in cash as well as 6 draft picks. Their first round pick will be given the same lottery chances as the 3rd place finisher but also can’t pick lower than #4 overall. “Getting a top 4 player guaranteed in this draft will definitely go a long way towards creating an identity for this team. Having heavily scouted the players in this draft for Tampa, I’m very comfortable with the type of players I’ll be getting with my picks,” Basterd said. Of the other 5 remaining picks, three will be picks sandwiched between rounds so pick #30, 60 and 90 will belong to the Panthers. “I love that I’m essentially getting another 1st round pick as well. That player should become a core part of the team in the future.”

In the interim, Basterd will continue to run the Tampa Bay Lightning but its expected that recently named asst GM Blake MacPherson will take over the team before the end of this season. Blake and Rich have been planning on this eventuality so it should be an easy transition of power. “Blake and I have already started discussing when I’ll take a step back on the day-to-day operations for Tampa. It likely will come after the mid point of the season and probably before the trade deadline. We’ve even been discussing who to protect in the expansion draft. I think Blake will do a good job steering the Lightning thru this rebuild.”

“I know I have my work cut out for me with an expansion team. Having seen what happened with expansion in SHL, it likely will be a long process to build the Panthers into a contender. But I’m up for that challenge and think I can take this opportunity to prove to myself that I’m that good of a GM to build an expansion team from scratch. I think I actually have a better situation here in the DHL than the expansion teams had in SHL. But I won’t have anyone to blame if I struggle too, it will be all on me to build this team into a winner.”

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