NHL Contraction: Impossible or Necessary?
There tend to be ongoing discussions within hockey fan circles about the current size of the NHL. Personally, I believe there are too many teams in the league.
Having teams in the league that don't sell out and, in general, are poor hockey markets makes for dilution of the player pool.
Should the NHL go with contraction? That is the real question. 82 games played over six months where some teams don't even play each other is nonsensical. I mean, for the last two seasons the Stanley Cup finalists didn't face each other in the regular season.
I think the league should contract to 24 teams. That would enable teams to play Western or Eastern conference teams more often. That way teams would have more talented players then roster fillers.
I could think of six teams off the hop that could contract: Columbus, Phoenix, Atlanta, Tampa, Florida, and Nashville. All non-traditional hockey markets. It also evenly reduces the number of teams in each conference without having to move anyone.
The NHL has grown too big for itself. It needs to concentrate on the game itself instead of expanding faster than gaining viewership.
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