The last centralized NHL Draft for the foreseeable future is going out with the glitz and bright lights of Vegas.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday the league is moving forward with holding the 2024 draft at The Sphere in Las Vegas, the new venue that opened in September and bills itself as the largest spherical structure in the world.

Bettman said contracts still need to be finalized, but the league is excited about the possibilities for the draft.

“I think it’ll be a pretty well viewed event, both in terms of the draft itself and the viral use of The Sphere inside and outside using the globe. So we think it’ll be fun. We think it’ll be dramatic and compelling,” Bettman said after the league’s Board of Governors wrapped up two days of meetings in the market of the NHL’s most recent franchise addition.

The draft is expected to be the first sporting event to be held at The Sphere and a showcase opportunity for the league before the draft decentralizes starting in 2025.

“I think both for The Sphere and for us this will be a good event to show yet another capability of this magnificent theater,” Bettman said.


The location of the draft before the league goes to a decentralized model where teams will stay in their home markets was the biggest piece of news to come from Bettman.

The league said the salary cap will go up to $87.7 million for the 2024-25 season. Plans are moving forward with the idea of a mini-international tournament in February 2025 featuring four countries as a lead in to the 2026 Olympics. But there remain issues to solve between the NHL, the IIHF and the IOC before an agreement can be reached that would allow players to play in the next Olympics.

Bettman said he is specifically concerned about the status of the arena being built for hockey and whether it will be completed in ample time before the Olympics.

BLACKHAWKS: Chicago thinks Lukas Reichel could become one of their top forwards, so they are working on turning his potential into reality.

It remains an ongoing project.

Reichel was back in the lineup Tuesday night against Nashville after he was a healthy scratch for Sunday’s 4-1 loss at Minnesota. After spending the first part of the season on Chicago’s top two lines, Reichel was on the team’s fourth line for the matchup with the Predators.


“He just needs to re-evaluate his game,” Coach Luke Richardson said. “I think he needed to take a step back and look at it. We had a good chat this morning about him just coming to work tonight and not worrying about where he is in the lineup and working his way up.”

The 21-year-old Reichel was selected by the Blackhawks with the 17th overall pick in the 2020 draft. He made his NHL debut in January 2022, but he really seemed to turn a corner at the end of last season. He finished with seven goals and eight assists in 23 games.

Encouraged by that performance and his work this summer, Chicago gave him a chance to play center during training camp. Following a slow start, he was moved back to wing. But he hasn’t been able to find his form – leading to the scratch against the Wild.

“It’s disappointing, but I know I’ve got to be better,” Reichel said. “I don’t play my game right now but it’s a good wake-up call. Now it’s just about playing good, playing my game again.”

Reichel has two goals and four assists in 22 games this season. His production took on added importance for Chicago after Taylor Hall was sidelined by a season-ending knee injury and Corey Perry was cut for violating team conduct policies.

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