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at the draft party a couple of years ago, and under a considerable haze, i heard Birdman yell out the following (about 4 or 5 times, i think) - "don't marry yourselves to players!" he went on to reiterate that idea more than once on the boards, and i believe it to be absolutely sage.
I think it's unfair to declare Florida a failure. That team hadn't seen a playoff game in 12 years until this last spring. Their tradition of throwing rats too is something that tells me that there could be something there if the team has any sort of lasting success. Tampa has also been decent from what I've seen. I don't have numbers to support this but I don't remember them having any attendance issues. Columbus is in the same boat as Florida.
Do we know who the 8 teams are? I'm assuming Philly, NYR, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, are among them.