Tuesday, July 21, 2015

NHL expands to Quebec City and Las Vegas

- 32 teams in two seasons. #NHL #Oilers


Welcome back Quebec Nordiques!  They used to be my favourite Eastern team--particularly the Stasny brothers.  They weren't Toronto or Montreal, but different.  Since they got moved to Denver, Ottawa has been my Eastern Canadian team.

On Vegas, I'm not sold on this idea. On the list of pro sports popularity in the U.S., hockey is fourth behind the NFL, MLB, and NBA--none of which have a team in Vegas, nor are there any plans to.  There also simply isn't enough of a hockey fan base there.  There's more of an NHL fan-base in Saskatoon that's for sure.  Thinking that a holiday destination spot will bring in folks certainly isn't working with Florida, who have a lower turnout for their games than the Oilers did for a prospect scrimmage game.  And another thing, the Canadian to U.S. dollar really sucks right now at 76 cents that fewer Canadians are going to Vegas, so don't expect more of us to go and support the away team.

As well, the Coyotes and Panthers.  There's no economic sense to keep these teams there and it boggles my mind why the league continues to support this failed experiment.  As much as I think a team in Vegas will fail, moving the Coyotes franchise there won't work either.  Seattle guys didn't get their bid in in time, so there aren't many other locations in the West other than Seattle that the league could move into.

Kansas City, you say?  Well, I've spent a lot of time there and I love that city.  I've driven around neighbourhoods and nary a hockey rink I'd see.  Oklahoma City is a fairly large city, but they couldn't even keep an AHL team viable with enough fans despite the good talent.

My point here is there are more reasons to expand to more teams in Canada than in the U.S.  I would say the U.S. city expansion has all but dried-up, save Seattle (which should simply take the Coyotes franchise).  With that, I can't see the league being more than 32 teams at most and even now, 30 is pushing it.

So, assuming there will be 32 teams, what would that mean for league realignment?  We just had one that made the West have two fewer teams.  Will it get back to par in 2016/17?  That would mean an Eastern team would need to move back to the West, Columbus perhaps?

WEST (16):

Pacific (8):
Edmonton Oilers
Calgary Flames
Vancouver Canucks
San Jose Sharks
Anaheim Ducks
Los Angeles Kings
Arizona Coyotes

Central (8):
Colorado Avalanche
Winnipeg Jets
Minnesota Wild
Chicago Blackhawks
Nashville Predators
St. Louis Blues
Dallas Stars

EAST (16):

Atlantic (8):
Toronto Maple Leafs
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Detroit Red Wings
Buffalo Sabres
Boston Bruins
Tampa Bay Lightning
Florida Panthers

Metropolitan (8):
New York Rangers
New York Islanders
New Jersey Devils
Pittsburgh Penguins
Philadelphia Flyers
Washington Capitals
Carolina Hurricanes

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