Sunday, May 13, 2007

Forty years of expansion hockey

It's been 40 years of NHL hockey since the league expanded from the Original 6, something one Globe and Mail reader pointed out to me earlier this year. He was hoping for a statistical analysis of just how those six teams have fared in the league since that point, something I've started to put together over at Globe on Hockey today.

Additional submissions welcome, as always.



At 11:02 p.m., May 13, 2007, Blogger Paul Nicholson said...

Good opportunity for a shameless plug of my newly created (and not yet polished) Historical Map of the NHL.

It was really interesting to me as i was putting it together how 'boring' it gets watching the NHL from this perspective during the "monopoly 6" era. It was completely dominated by 3 teams for the most part, and NY and Boston didn't win the cup at all. Didn't seem to be any parity in the league at all. Stark contrast to the way the cup starts bouncing around the league after expansion. Coupled that with the fact that other sports leagues were rapidly expanding during the '6' era and it is really starts to amaze me that the NHL survived at all.

Oh - and as a relatively new convert to hockey, i was surprised how US-centric the NHL has always been. The way some people talk, you'd think the game was only recently comprised of a majority of US cities.

At 9:58 a.m., May 14, 2007, Anonymous Chris DeGroat said...

There's some pretty interesting information in there. Toronto being the worst team... Detroit having the most playoff misses. I'd like to see how the 'Next 6' teams match up with them over the same time frame.

At 10:26 a.m., May 14, 2007, Blogger Jason said...

Go Leafs go!


At 10:47 a.m., May 14, 2007, Blogger PPP said...

Freaking Leafs couldn't even finish first in being the worst (most playoff misses)!

At 3:34 p.m., May 14, 2007, Anonymous Frank said...

Paul, one of the reasons Montreal and Detroit dominated in the original six (40s, 50s, and early 60s) was because there was no amateur draft back then.

Montreal got first access to all of the junior players coming out of Quebec. As a result, they became a perrennial power house.

Detroit, on the other hand spent a lot of time and money in scouting and developing young talent in Western Canada, signing up players at the age of 16 and having them play with junior teams they owned.

Its interesting that since the introduction of the amateur draft Montreal no longer has a majority of francophones, and has lost and never regained its superiorty, except for the 1970s with Guy LaFleur et al.

On the other hand Detroit - except for a few periods - has dominated, largely because they still put a lot of time and resources into scouting and drafting well, and then allow the young talent the time to develop in their farm system. Again, their willing to put some money into this end of the business - unlike many other teams - has really paid off for them. I know they also spent a lot on free agents, in the last decade, but most of their star players came through the draft, or through acquiring prospects.

Once the amateur draft was established, parity started to develop. With the introduction of free agency at lower and lower age levels, even more parity has been introducted. And now with the salary cap on top of the amateur draft and free agency at 27, it is unlikely we will ever again see a Montreal or Edmonton type dynasty in the NHL.

At 8:57 p.m., May 14, 2007, Blogger Paul Nicholson said...

That's interesting. As I said, i'm a relatively new convert (last 6 years or so). I didn't realize that there wasn't a draft for so long. Most major leagues started an entry/amateur draft pretty soon after they started.

Interesting reads now that i look at it...


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