When EA Sports revealed NHL 18 to the world, one of the major new features announced is the ability to expand the now 31-team league to a 32-team league.
The feature allows players to either take control of the 31st team — Vegas Golden Knights — or a 32nd team of their creation. If they want to add a new team but still play as their favorite team, that option is also available.
Instead of drafting a team to play, you will then be responsible for protecting some players while making others available for the expansion draft.
As far as when expansion takes place, the game’s lead producer Sean Ramjagsingh confirmed that you have to choose at the beginning of your franchise mode whether to add an expansion team or not. There will be no league expansion happening in year two or three or beyond in NHL 18’s franchise mode.
“All of them will happen in year one of franchise,” Ramjagsingh said. “We take you to June of that year, and then the user will draft or protect based off of what team they chose.”
In addition to when expansion takes place, Ramjagsingh stated that when an expansion NHL team is created, players will also be able to add a brand new AHL team to the league to act as your big league team’s farm club.
“What we’ll do when you expand is allow you to create the 31st and 32nd AHL team within the league,” he said. “We’ll have preset defaults on the disc, but the user can customize the teams that they like so they can fully create the 32nd affiliate.”
NHL 18 launches on September 15 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Those who preorder the game’s deluxe edition will gain access to the game three days earlier on September 12.