According to sources from Dennis Bernstein's Twitter account, Baltimore is going to announce a new 18,000 seat arena and could be in the running for relocation for an NHL team should the topic come up once the arena is complete. Of course, if this is true-- which I wouldn't doubt right now with the past buzz about a new arena in the Baltimore area and the fact that it's just a Tweet-- then they would join Kansas City, Quebec City, and Hamilton as front runners in the relocation race.
However, even as cool as it would be for my hometown to be in consideration for an NHL team, it's never going to work. It's not just because the Caps are 45 minutes away from the Baltimore metro area, either. It's because hockey hasn't really worked out for the Baltimore area in the past. While that's not always due to the teams on the ice, marketing for a team is a huge part of the game today. I don't think you could market hockey to Baltimore and make it work with the Caps so close and so established in the area.
Truth be told, Baltimore is a football town first, baseball town second. I don't even know if you could consider hockey in the top five-- since they could be beat out by indoor soccer, lacrosse, and basketball. Sure, you'd be pulling from the suburbs and it'd be a little easier to deal with then trying to get the DC core, but after the allure of having a team out there is gone to start-- how will the people keep the fans when you have to deal with a team like the Caps only miles away-- with arguably the best player in the world playing there for the next decade??
Which makes me wonder how much Ted Leonsis would seek in order to have a team even be considered coming to Baltimore. I'm sure there'd be some kind of money exchanging hands for anyone wanting to head into Baltimore, especially when it's 45 minutes away-- downtown to downtown on the open roads late-at-night. If there's a debacle between Toronto and Hamilton and former issues with LA and Anaheim-- there's bound to be something between DC and Baltimore.
In addition, hockey has been a hard sell (outside of the Skipjacks, of course) in the Baltimore area. The Blades in the WHA didn't last long, mostly due to ownership, of course. The Clippers name was in and out of hockey for some decades, but it took a while to really catch on. The Bandits were a horribly run team and was a disaster from the get-go. Oddly enough, the last failure in Maryland hockey was when the same ownership group as the Bandits got an ECHL team and was turned into the Chesapeake Icebreakers; which-- like the Bandits-- only lasted two years.
While it would be easy for some people to deal with a pro team in Baltimore-- the whole thing probably won't last when you have a team down the way which is more establish, has more allure to it, and would probably lay claim to the territorial rights if the new area is being considered. The sport itself is popular to play for the youngsters, but who knows how that will translate in attendance; especially since the Caps are an established brand in the area and the hockey region isn't exactly a huge hot-bed to warrant two teams in the area. It's a great thought, but if put into motion-- doubtful it'll have successful results.