The league's Board of Governors agreed to consider an expansion application from Seattle during their annual meeting in Florida on Thursday.
Bettman said the expansion fee has been set at $650 million for Seattle, which would become the league's 32nd team, if approved.
The news follows this weeks Seattle City Council vote to approve a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and the Oak View Group, which plans to renovate KeyArena, the former home of the NBA's SuperSonics in the city's Lower Queen Anne neighborhood. "This is a process that we go through".
"Obviously, there a lot of differences between Seattle and Quebec City, not the least of which is our conference alignment", Bettman said.
The NHL previously deferred an application for expansion from Quebec City in June 2016. This last season the National Hockey League opened an expansion team in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
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There are 31 National Hockey League franchises with the Western Conference holding 15 and the Eastern Conference having 16.
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Seattle would have a natural rivalry with some of the other teams in the West, particularly those in Western Canada.
How a Seattle NHL franchise would work in terms of conference allocation or expansion draft players or even a team name has not yet been brought to the table, but the fact that Seattle has reached this point gives the city a step in the right direction of gaining a team. The team wont move from North Carolina, commissioner Gary Bettman said.