The Atlanta Thrashers did not move to Winnipeg this weekend like everyone was speculating, but that does not mean they are out of the dark yet. There is still a chance that they could be purchased and moved up to Canada, but we just don't know how likely that situation is. But according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the sale of another NHL franchise could lead to the Thrashers staying in Atlanta.
If the Coyotes can fetch upwards of $170 million from True North all of that money could go to repay the owners. If the Thrashers fetch that sale price only an estimated $60 million relocation fee would go to the NHL. The Thrashers would be gone and the league would still own the Coyotes and their financial burden – although substantially less.
The Coyotes situation is more stable than the Thrashers' but it is not settled by any means. Basically what Vivlamore is saying is that a sale of the Coyotes would be much more beneficial to the NHL and it's owners than a sale of the Thrashers, and thus would make them much more likely to vote in favor of one.
If True North buys the Thrashers, the NHL gets a small relocation fee and would still be stuck with the failing Phoenix Coyotes. But if they buy the Coyotes instead, the NHL would be free of that burden, and the Owners would get to split the entire purchase price. It might be at the cost of another NHL franchise, but there is still a chance the Thrashers could be saved.