The league is due for an expansion of two more teams. Aside from 32 teams being a much more desirable number for a number of scheduling and divisional reasons, the talent pool of developing youth, both in Europe and North America, has greatly expanded. There's investment opportunity out there (see: number of investors that were at one point in line for a hockey team even in a crappy location, aka Phoenix), and there's certainly talent. In fact, I'd imagine you'd see less skilled players, Russians included, going to the KHL and other leagues; the addition of two extra teams would allow them to get paid more.
On top of that, if both teams were in the West (Pick 2 of: Seattle, Winnipeg, Vegas, Kansas City, Houston), then the Wings could finally be moved to the East where they belong
Edit: I know some people are going to ask "Why did you mention 'x' city?" Here's why:
Kansas City: Preexisting arena; rivalry potential with Blues; close to relocation there before
Vegas: Feed off tourism
Seattle: Northwest seems a logical destination for expanding the game both business-wise and in popularity/player development. It gets, you know, cold there.
Winnipeg: No explanation needed, I hope
Houston: Largest hockey market (AHL) without an NHL team. Old and longstanding tradition of having an AHL team there and a hockey following.. oddly enough. I look at Houston's AHL success as an example of what can happen in the south if given both enough time AND competent management (something many of the southern expansion teams have not had).
This is almost the exact opposite of what I think.
How many players are put in the press regularly? besides sid, ovi and kovy (currently)? Do you think adding 2 more teams is going to improve that?
Growth to the point of watered down is not what professional sports are about. How about consolidating the number of teams down to 16 big teams and paying players salaries comparable to other professional sports? No one will care about the KHL, if the NHL is nothing but the top players.
The way you guys seem to think, merging with the AHL would be a good thing. Then again, It's in line with Canadians thinking they need teams in markets half the size of current (US & CA) NHL teams.