Columbus Blue Jackets and 10 NHL Teams That Would Be Better in Different City
With the Atlanta Thrashers recently relocated to Winnipeg, spurring a long-awaited return of the Jets this season, it leaves us to wonder what other NHL teams will be on the move next.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are one such franchise that just can't seem to get anything to go their way. Since the team's inception in 2000, the Blue Jackets have only made the playoffs once, in which they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings in four games.
Whether it be a franchise struggling to succeed, or perhaps one that is faring well on the ice, but is a mess off the ice, it's not hard to imagine some NHL clubs in new places.
Here are 10 franchises that would be better off in different cities.
Under head coach Dave Tippett, the Phoenix Coyotes have been thriving. Should it keep up its current pace, this club will make the playoffs for the third straight year, something it hasn't done since moving to Phoenix from Winnipeg in 1996.
However, there's a glaring problem: attendance. The Coyotes are once again averaging the least amount of fans each game, at 10,671, an absurd capacity of only 62 percent.
There's been speculation about moving this team for years now. Hamilton or Quebec City gets my vote for the Coyotes, who would be much better off elsewhere.
Hockey in the Music City has blown my mind for years. The club is doing very well, but it ranks 20th in league attendance.
I actually had the pleasure of attending a game about two years ago in Nashville when they took on the Vancouver Canucks. There was a trivia question on the jumbotron about Wayne Gretzky's rookie season, and the fans in front of us asked each other, "Wayne Gretzky was alive then?"
It was that moment that made me doubt hockey being the right choice for Nashville.
That small group of fans aren't to be any indicator of the entire fan base there, whatsoever, but for a personal experience, it spoke volumes.
The Predators could easily thrive elsewhere in a new city. Seattle is a location that's been speculated somewhat, though not as popular as other options. I wouldn't mind seeing a move there happening one bit.
The Dallas Stars' new owner Tom Gaglardi has come in with the full intention of keeping the club where its at.
However, the Stars are one franchise that could use a change of scenery. Since the days of Zubov, Modano, Hatcher, and Belfour, Dallas hasn't experienced much success, and the fans seemingly don't like a losing product at all.
Dallas is sitting 29th in league attendance, only in front of the Phoenix Coyotes but are only filling the building to an unheard of 62-percent capacity each night on average. Let them move to a city who will appreciate them 24/7.
Having two teams in Florida has always made me wonder how they are both still in place.
Unless its street hockey, kids in Florida can't get the experience of playing some puck on a frozen pond out in their backyard like those in the north can.
The Tampa Bay Lightning established themselves in 2004 as the premier Florida club, when they captured their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
The Panthers, on the other hand, have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals once (in 1996) and have had no other success since.
A change of scenery would do this club some good, as well as allow some hockey-crazed cities like Hamilton or Quebec City to get a chance to support this fine, young club on the rise.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets have made the playoffs once since their 2000 inception. They have had no success whatsoever, and with the third-worst attendance in the entire NHL, it's hard to imagine they're making much money, too.
Perhaps move this club to a new area like Wisconsin, who consistently puts out a solid college hockey product and has shown solid support for the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals.
St. Louis Blues
For a team that made the playoffs every season from 1980 to 2004, it's hard to imagine that the St. Louis Blues have not won a Stanley Cup yet.
Since the lockout, however, the Blues have only made the playoffs once. However, the Blues' faithful have come out in full swing to support the club, as they have been in the top 10 for attendance in recent years. This season, the Blues are currently averaging 18th in the league.
The Blues are a club on the rise again after doing some rebuilding, currently in a playoff spot. This one is much less likely in reality, but I would have no problem if the Blues were to move to another city.
The Carolina Hurricanes are an interesting club. Having moved from Hartford to Carolina in 1997, the Hurricanes have already won a Stanley Cup (in 2006). Just last season, they hosted the NHL All-Star Game, too.
However, the RBC Center is only being filled to about 79 percent of capacity this season, good for 27th in the league. They have a relatively young team that should realize success within a few seasons, but they may be better off doing it elsewhere.
New Jersey Devils
The New Jersey Devils have a new building in the Prudential Center, which you would think would excite fans even more to fill the arena on a nightly basis.
Even with the NBA lockout currently, the Devils are still amongst the bottom of the league as far as average attendance goes.
The Devils are currently struggling to bring back that success from the days of Niedermayer, Stevens, Gomez, Gionta, Elias and Brodeur. Last season, for the first time since 1997, New Jersey failed to make the playoffs.
Combine a current rebuilding phase (if you want to call it that) along with a new building that isn't being filled nightly, the Devils may be better off elsewhere.
New York Islanders
I'll be the first to say that the New York Islanders have a rich history, dating back to the dynasty days in the early 80s.
However, that still doesn't change the fact that the current organization is embarrassing that legacy.
The Isles' on-ice product has simply not been stellar for years now, having missed the playoffs the last four consecutive seasons and 12 of the last 16 seasons.
To top that off, attendance at the old Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is amongst the league's lowest. I would hate to see them move because of the tradition there, but the Isles may be better off in a different city.
The days of Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, and Patrick Roy are far behind for the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs are currently one of the league's youngest clubs, looking to reload for the future.
However, there hasn't been much to cheer about in recent years. The fans in Denver seem to be the bunch who loves when their team is thriving, but no so much when they struggle.
Colorado, over the last several seasons, has been near the bottom of the attendance marks for the entire NHL. Like the Devils, this team was once a prime competitor, but it hasn't been that way in numerous years.
That's no reason to outright move them, but combined with attendance, which likely translates to a much more scanty revenue stream, perhaps the team would be better off supported elsewhere. Canada is always a strong option, considering the current U.S. economy and the strength of the Canadian dollar now.
A return to their roots in Quebec would not be too farfetched.