According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, six cities remain in the hunt as potential hub locations for when the NHL returns to play. It was reported both Minnesota and Columbus were notified Monday that neither was still in the running and they were part of a list of 10 cities the NHL was considering as the league works toward their play-in games and eventual 16-team playoff series.

As things stand right now, Las Vegas and either Vancouver or Edmonton are the consensus favorites. LeBrun notes: Toronto, Chicago, and Los Angeles remain outside contenders – but they are still very much in the hunt.

Finding the best, safest fit to house 12 teams is the NHL’s top priority for now.

The Edmonton Bid

LeBrun noted that Edmonton altered its pitch just recently. He explained in an article for The Athletic (subscription required):

The three hotels which would house the NHL players and staff in Edmonton would be the JW Marriott, Delta and Sutton Place. From a players’ perspective, there seems to be a clear drop-off after the JW Marriott and that level of quality for the hotels in the Edmonton bid has been earmarked as a concern from some.

With that in mind, Edmonton changed things up, focusing on getting all the players into the nicer hotel. Saying they can get 32 people from each of 12 NHL organizations in the JW Marriott for the play-in round, they would put anyone that isn’t a player, coach or trainer in another hotel. “Basically, as one source described it to me Monday, the updated Edmonton bid is akin to selling what should feel like an Olympic village,” said LeBrun.

You can see more details on how Edmonton has structured things in the tweets from Edmonton-based reporter Ryan Rishaug:

The Vancouver Bid

LeBrun also notes that Vancouver tweaked its bid within the last 10 days. The city has stayed in constant communication with the league and Vancouver has a lot going for it because the city is full of high-end hotels and the belief is that the bubble the league wants to create will be extremely tight.

“The main hotel would be the 500-room JW Marriott Parq, which is 400 yards from the rink. It was the main hotel for the NHL Draft last June,” LeBrun writes. He adds:

One neat detail I’m told is that they would have a 30,000 square-foot outdoor space/deck/patio for the players at the hotel that’s connected to a restaurant. There are other hotels and restaurants that are part of the bid but it all sounds rather good. And well, it’s Vancouver in the summer so it’s basically heaven. Remember the players have a say in where this all ends up.

The Vegas Bid

The hospitality of Vegas speaks for itself. One of the big concerns is the sheer amount of COVID-19 cases that are present in the city. And, while that’s a concern for the NHL, one thing that seems to easing the worry is that the “Vegas bubble will be airtight, perhaps the tightest of all the bubbles being proposed,” notes LeBrun. The plus side is, the way things are structured, nobody gets in that isn’t supposed to, nobody gets out.

The Toronto Bid

While the chances of Toronto getting the second spot seem to be going down, they aren’t out of it yet. According to LeBrun’s report:

Toronto remains in the mix and according to sources MLSE resubmitted its updated bid on Sunday after also tweaking it earlier last week. Toronto got feedback last week from the NHL/NHLPA on a few things with its bid and responded with an update Sunday.

That Toronto is in the Eastern time zone is a plus, but there is real concern about how tight the city can keep the bubble and not expose players or staff to cases of COVID-19.

The Los Angeles Bid

While not completely out of it, there are a few things working against LA as a hub city. While the setup is good and bubble likely tight, Vegas is already a frontrunner which lessens LA’s chances of getting selected. And, because the NHL would like a Canadian host city, that might squeeze L.A. out.

What could be even more important from a player’s perspective is that the tax situation in California is not helpful. Players in L.A. for a certain amount of time will get heavily dinged in extra dollars taken from their cheques.

The Chicago Bid

For many of the same reasons LA might be out, (taxes are different), Chicago might be out too. Their big issue is the distance between accommodations and the arena. LeBrun notes that Chicago hasn’t been told they won’t get consideration, but the thought here is that they are a backup city if something falls through with Vegas.