STATurday – Our Expanding Hockey Universe pt. 2

Hi guys and gals!

I was away on a trip to Western Canada last week and therefore forgot to keep you up to date on the burning statistics-related stories to keep you occupied during the holidays. Not that it matters where I was, but it comes into play. Trust me.

If you recall from the previous edition so long ago, we will be organizing the best to worst franchises to come out of the second largest one-time expansion of our beloved NHL. In this article, we will be looking at the NHL-WHA merger of 1979, which brought four new teams into the fold. In this occasion, the owners of the expansion teams paid an expansion fee of $7.5 million each. Just over half a million dollars more than this beauty’s cap hit:

See the source imageCurrently worth more than some of the franchises that were added in that draft year…

To save you the burden of reading the previous edition, we will once again rank the teams on four different factors:

  1. Is the team still around?
  2. Overall record
  3. Playoff appearances
  4. Cups won.

As previously mentioned, the WHA merger brought four teams into the fold; the Edmonton Oilers, the Hartford Whalers, the Quebec Nordiques, and the (original) Winnipeg Jets.

Tragically, this particular expansion class was somewhat brutal for the “team sticking to its own original location” criteria about halfway through the 90s, with the Quebec Nordiques relocating to Colorado to become the Avalanche in 1995; the Winnipeg Jets following suit by going to Arizona to become the Coyotes in 1996, and the Hartford Whalers relocating to Carolina in 1997 to become the Carolina Hurricanes, making for some sweet throwback jerseys to be featured this year. Again, their success (or lack thereof) post-relocation will not be considered, with the exception of cups won, as some form of these teams are still around, and therefore their cups could count towards them.

In terms of records, here are the teams ranked in order of point percentage:
–> Edmonton Oilers, .518, (1326-1215-262-141);
–> Hartford Whalers, .502 (534-709-177);
–> Quebec Nordiques, .459 (497-599-160);
–> Winnipeg Jets, .442 (506-660-172);

As a result of their longevity, Edmonton has the most playoff appearances, with 21. Remarkably, after inclusion in the NHL, the Oilers managed to make the playoffs their first 13 seasons in a row en route to winning all five of their Stanley Cups to date, piggybacked by this great man, pictured in bronze raising Lord Stanley’s mug with some idiot tourist.

I told you it’d come back

Winnipeg had the second most playoff appearances with 11, followed by Quebec’s 9, and Hartford’s 8. None of the other teams would win in their former iterations; however, the Nordiques would win as the Avalanche (literally the year after relocation and again in 2001), and Hartford would go on to win as the Hurricanes in 2006, while the Jets would go bankrupt as the Coyotes.

See the source imageThanks, Commish.

With all that in mind, here are the 1979-80 expansion teams ranked:

  1. Edmonton Oilers
  2. Quebec Nordiques / Colorado Avalanche
  3. Hartford Whalers / Carolina Hurricanes
  4. Winnipeg Jets / Arizona Coyotes

Coincidentally, this is not a draft lottery from the last few years, though recent memory would indicate otherwise…

Pedro Rengel

Pedro Rengel

Originally hailing from the tropical paradise of Venezuela, I moved to Canada at age 11 for the sole reason of falling in love with hockey as a self-proclaimed Pittsburgh Penguins fan. Now a Canadian citizen, my mad love affair with hockey represents a statistical contribution as opposed to an anomaly. Being able to write this well despite having Spanish as a first language is enough of an anomaly (I'm occasionally biased).
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