New Jersey Devils and 6 NHL Franchises That Should Move to a New Home

Michael Prunka@MichaelPrunkaCorrespondent INovember 13, 2012

New Jersey Devils and 6 NHL Franchises That Should Move to a New Home

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    The Phoenix Coyotes aren’t the only NHL team that may face relocation soon. Some teams will find a new home sooner than people think—no matter how rich the franchise’s history.

    The Winnipeg Jets, formerly the Atlanta Thrashers, are living proof of the benefits of relocation. They saw a nice four point difference in their final record—increasing from 80 to 84 points.

    On Oct. 24, the New York Islanders announced that they’ll be moving down the road to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. They’ll get the chance to showcase their skill in a new home soon enough.

    Certain teams are languishing with their attendance numbers, while there are cities out there practically begging to have an NHL team.

    Canada would welcome another team in Quebec or Ontario with open arms, and American cities like Seattle and Portland, to name two, would also make great host cities.

    Expect other teams to join the Jets and the Islanders in relocating in the next few years. Here are six NHL teams that should find a new home. 

Anaheim Ducks

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    The Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007, but haven’t done much since then. They unsuccessfully defended the championship the following season when they were eliminated in the Conference Semifinals by the Dallas Stars.

    A steady decline in their attendance has coincided with their dry spell. Perhaps it’s time the Ducks look for a new place of residence.

    It might be in the Ducks’ best interest to relocate and start anew. They’ve made changes to their coaching staff by firing Randy Carlyle and bringing in Bruce Boudreau.

    A change of scenery might be just what the Ducks need to move forward.

Dallas Stars

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    Not making the playoffs for four consecutive seasons will deal a blow to any team’s attendance. The Dallas Stars are proof of that.

    Not only have they not qualified for the playoffs in four years but the Stars have finished last in the Pacific two of those four years.

    The team has struggled on the financial end of things, too. They filed for bankruptcy in 2011 and WHL Kamloops Blazers owner Tom Gaglardi purchased them as the sole bidder.

    Relocation could help put the Stars in a position to be successful on the ice and on the business side of the game. 

Colorado Avalanche

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    Unlike a lot of the other teams on this list, the Colorado Avalanche have seen a sharp increase in their attendance over the past few seasons.

    They went from averaging 75.5 percent of the Pepsi Arena’s maximum capacity in 2009-10, to just over 86 percent this past season.

    The deciding factor will be whether or not they can sustain that growth. The fact that they haven’t made a postseason appearance since 2010 makes it hard to believe they can continue progressing at that rate.

    The Avs have called Colorado home ever since 1995—the season they won their first Stanley Cup. Even with young superstars like Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog at the helm, a new city and a new crop of fans might give them the push they need.

Florida Panthers

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    The Florida Panthers are another team that has actually seen a growth in attendance rate over the past few seasons.

    This past season was the first time they qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs since 2000. Unfortunately, they were met with the same fate as 12 years ago, when the New Jersey Devils eliminated them in Round 1.

    One major pitfall of the Panthers is that there isn’t a core group of players for fans to get behind. They made some great moves in the 2011 offseason but their team feels, to some extent, thrown together.

    There are plenty of cities that would gladly welcome the Panthers. A fan base that will readily get behind them will help the Panthers immensely in their Stanley Cup aspirations.

Phoenix Coyotes

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    The Phoenix Coyotes have, without a doubt, some of the NHL’s most abysmal attendance numbers. While they’ve seen a minuscule boost in fan presence, they’re still barely averaging 72 percent of the arena’s maximum capacity.

    Their 2012 Pacific Division Championship, playoff run and re-signing of captain Shane Doan may add up to a decent surge in attendance—not enough to warrant staying in Phoenix, though.

    Whether or not they’ve made great strides recently, their humiliating ownership situation is less than ideal. It's a bit tougher for fans to get behind a team owned by the league.

    If there’s a chance relocation will coincide with new ownership, then that’s exactly what the Coyotes need to maintain the progress shown in the 2011-12 season.

    With the construction of Quebec’s new arena to be completed by late 2015, the city should be itching for its own hockey team. They're guaranteed to get behind the team.

New Jersey

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    The New Jersey Devils haven’t given relocation much consideration since 1995 when the team almost set out for Nashville. It might be time for the Devils to give the idea another shot.

    The Devils' attendance prospered from 2007-2009. Since then though, their attendance has sporadically risen and fallen. They haven’t broken the 90 percent mark since the 2009-10 season.

    Yes, they have the best attendance figures of the teams on this list, but with three Stanley Cups, five Conference Championships and ongoing rivalries with the New York Rangers, their attendance is underwhelming.

    Even though they made it to the Stanley Cup finals this past season, their playoff performance over the past few seasons has been terrible. In the four times they’ve qualified in the last five years, they’ve only made it past the Conference Quarterfinals once.

    Combine that with the loss of their beloved Zach Parise and the Devils fans must be disappointed.

    Perhaps the Devils would be the best candidate to move to Ontario or Quebec. Their rich history would be appreciated by the Canadian fans.

    Michael Prunka is a Bleacher Report Featured Columnist and Sports Writing Intern. Stay up to date with him by liking his Facebook page and following him on Twitter.


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