Sports with Patrick Townes
The Seattle Kraken is scheduled to make an even 32 teams in the National Hockey League in the 2021-22 season. New teams, new colours, and new jerseys represent an exciting time for players and fans. The last expansion team was of course the Vegas Golden Knights. What was first thought of as teams throwing away extra pieces, turned into a respected and skillful team. The pieces however that filled out the Golden Knights’ roster were far from leftovers and castaways.
The Golden Knights team did a fantastic job collecting draft picks and building a future by committing not to draft certain players from teams. Also, the players they did select were mostly second and third top line players who did not fit into the payrolls of many of the teams they were drafted from. There is a very good documentary about the team called “Valiant” if you are interested. This team is a good story for hockey, and has built a successful fan base in the City. The documentary gives credit to the management team for selecting a squad full of second line players. They competed with other teams’ top lines, and dominated opponents’ second, third and fourth lines.
How did the National Hockey League get to 32 teams? Can you name the original six teams? – in 1942 the teams were the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and the Toronto Maple Leafs. If you have a hard time remembering the original six teams, just think of what teams have not substantially changed their jerseys over time. Now for a real tough question, name the newest eight teams to enter the league? – Seattle Kraken (2021), Vegas Golden Knights (2017), Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild (2000), Atlanta Thrashers (1999), Nashville Predators (1998), Florida Panthers, and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (1993). Who is next? In a shortened season(s) where the National Hockey League is looking for new revenue, they introduced the reverse retro alternative jerseys for all current teams. This was a good effort but all the jerseys out there seem to diminish the overall prestige of owning a jersey and being a fan. Again, look at the original six teams. They honour the heritage of their players and their organizations, and, for the most part, have kept their look consistent throughout the years.
The Blue Jays are rumored to be targeting a big bat and pitching depth this off season. The key term so far being “rumored”. Based on last year’s performance and future shortened seasons, it may be the time to add via free agency and via trade. Adding a piece like Nolan Arenado or Francisco Lindor would be fantastic contributors to the lineup and to the defense. Having a player like Arenado would take the pressure off Guerrero Jr. because he plays third base. After a season where both the MVPs were first basemen, one would hope that Guerrero Jr. is getting into shape this offseason and practicing his defense. Starting pitching is needed — if teams use starting pitchers anymore! Potential suitors could be Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ (former Yankees last season) and even Trevor Bauer (last year’s Cy Young winner) on a one-year contract.