Ryan Smith and Salt Lake City are about to land the NHL's worst franchise and that's a good thing

The Phoenix Coyotes may be bound for Salt Lake City.
New York Rangers v Arizona Coyotes
New York Rangers v Arizona Coyotes / Zac BonDurant/GettyImages

Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith really wants to add the NHL to Salt Lake City. Earlier this week, he sent out a request asking Utah Jazz fans to submit their ideas for a potential NHL team nickname, assuming Salt Lake City landed one. While we weren't surprised that he'd request such a thing, after all, Smith has been trying to drum up interest in a potential NHL team joining the Jazz in Utah at some point.

Little did we know that Smith wasn't just trying to drum up interest, but actively trying to come up with a cool nickname for a team that was all but set to arrive. News broke earlier on April 10, 2024, that Smith was in the final process of acquiring the rights to the Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL.

This isn't some far-off thing, either, as the word going around claims that the Coyotes' future in Salt Lake City could be fortified as soon as April 18, 2024. The NHL is trying to act as brokers in setting up the deal between current Coyotes owner, Alex Meruelo and Smith, with the idea they could avoid any more long-drawn-out issues that the struggling NHL franchise has had to deal with.

It's very clear that the NHL wants the Coyotes out of Phoenix, as there's a potential land auction that could help fortify the Coytoes in Arizona, but there are concerns that if Meruelo loses said auction, that the team would have to continue playing in subpar conditions.

There remain some hurdles for Smith to overcome, namely how much he'll have to pay for the Coyotes, and if Meruelo even wants to hand over ownership, with some discussing Meruelo retaining the rights to the Coyotes franchise, much in the way the city of Cleveland retained the rights to the Browns when the actual franchise moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens.

Despite all this, there remains some hope that the city of Phoenix would get a new hockey team, as while the Coyotes didn't succeed there, there is a hope that a franchise could, in time.

It the Jazz do get a sibling in Salt Lake City's Delta Center, expect to be sooner rather than later.

While landing the Coyotes franchise isn't great for fans of the city wanting to root for winning hockey, there is potential for rebranding a bad team and making it better. Especially one with a brand-new history. We've seen Smith already do that with the Utah Royals, bringing back the brand after the club already moved once before. Smith now has a women's club that is drawing sellouts in their first season back in the NWSL.

Can the Jazz's owner find that success once again with the Coyotes and the NHL?