NEW YORK — The NHL is moving forward with plans to expand to Seattle.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday the Board of Governors’ executive committee recommended proceeding with Seattle’s expansion application, with an eye on voting to approve the league’s 32nd franchise in December.

The recommendation came a few hours after key stakeholders presented their case to the committee and hit it off enough that Seattle could be awarded the league’s 32nd team two months from now.

“The notion is have the board vote on expansion,” Bettman said. “And assuming, as I think everybody is, that it would be approved – I don’t want to be presumptuous of the board’s prerogative – but everything seems to be on track.”

It’s the best possible news that could have come out of the meetings for proponents of the NHL in Seattle.

Bettman agreed with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan that the preference is for the team to begin play in the 2020-21 season, and that’s still a very real possibility as long as renovations to KeyArena in downtown Seattle proceed as scheduled.

When the board next meets Dec. 3-4, Bettman expects a full report on Seattle expansion and said the goal is to for the governors to vote at that time, with 24 of 32 needed for approval.

MAPLE LEAFS: Toronto’s goalie depth is suddenly thin after losing Curtis McElhinney and Calvin Pickard on waivers.

McElhinney was claimed by the Carolina Hurricanes, who shored up the position with projected starter Scott Darling set to miss a few weeks with an injury.

McElhinney has a 62-71-13 career record in 10 NHL seasons split among six teams.

Pickard was claimed by the Philadelphia Flyers.

CAPITALS: Washington added St. Louis forward Dmitrij Jaskin, the odd man out after the Blues restocked their forwards this offseason. Jaskin was St. Louis’ second-round pick in the 2011 draft and has 25 goals and 61 points in 266 games over six seasons.

SABRES: Buffalo claimed 23-year-old left wing Remi Elie from the Dallas Stars.