As a fan of hockey, I want to see what is best for the sport as a whole. Hockey is starting to regain a lot of the recognition it once had as one of America's top sports.
Sometimes for a sport to grow, there needs to be changes along the way. For hockey to grow, it needs to take some of the teams that are struggling and look for new locations so that the team can succeed.
Here is a list of some of the top candidates for relocation, and why now is a good time for them to search for a new home.
The Oilers are not as much of a struggling franchise as they are a team in need of a new home.
They are near the middle of the NHL in attendance, and are really looking to build a new arena that the Oilers can call home. Whether this new structure is in Edmonton or somewhere else, the Oilers are ready to move on from their current location.
I think that a switch would let the Oilers gain more of a following and reinvigorate one of the great franchises of the early 1990's.
No matter how great the Panthers could become, it is hard to create a lot of buzz around a hockey team when the weather outside is 70 degrees during the season.
Even during seasons when Florida was winning and competing in the East, it was still hard for them to fill seats and produce the revenue needed to make a profit.
There will always be diehard fans, and thank goodness for this fact, but in a state dominated by non-locally born residents, it is hard to stir up a lot of pride for local teams. This problem is not just something for hockey teams, just ask the Marlins and Rays how often they sell out games.
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The Lighting are a version of the Panthers who are peaking but still cannot garner the support they need because of their location. With players like Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay should sell out every night.
Unfortunately, it is hard for them to fill seats and get the support they deserve. Move this team further north or up into Canada and they would be a top revenue team in the NHL.
Growing up in the Metropolitan Area, the Islanders were never more than an afterthought to me and most people I knew. They have not had anything to be excited about for a while now, and I think a relocation could do the club a lot of good.
This team needs to get out of the shadow of the Devils and Rangers—all they will ever be is a little brother to both of these teams.
With a move, the Islanders could gain a lot of what they had lost and do a complete turn around of their franchise. It is not too late for the Islanders to be great once again, but I think their chance of doing it in New York has come and gone.