Gary Bettman has apparently ruled out league contraction, which could in fact be a mere matter of semantics. Remember the North Stars/Barons merger? There is precedent for one team to absorb the organizational assets of another. Say the Rangers or Leafs absorb the one-time financial hit of acquiring, say, the Edmonton Oilers (cheapest team in the league, which happens to come with a fully-stocked farm system). The North Stars were turned into instant contenders. With the money that could be made nowadays, could history repeat itself?