The “Picking your Team” series is the uneducated views of Mr. Puck Paddy helping you, the uncommitted/new hockey fan, find the new love of your life. It’s like tinder, except with less pictures and more terrible analysis….
Hockey matters in Canada. It matters a lot. That can cause problems for some players seeking the easy life as a C-list sports start in the United States, where the government is less likely to capture your hard-earned dollar bill. However, it seems to me if you want to be the big fish in a real pond, and you want a fan base that really cares, a Canadian team might be right up your street.
14) Winnipeg Jets
Hockey’s newest franchise (sort of) has had it’s re-acquaintance period with the league and now needs to push on, but it has yet to do so. In theory, a new fan should seek out it’s newest franchise (sort of) as both are seeking a fresh start, but this team doesn’t exactly make it easy for you on the ice right now. Great support, great atmosphere at games, a few nice players but no goaltender. That’s a current problem.
Likeability Rating: C
15) Calgary Flames
Another team fallen on hard times, Calgary is a couple of years in to its “rebuild” mode. Headed by former Leaf GM Brian Burke, they’re looking to brand themselves as 2014’s “Team of Truculence” which doesn’t bode well, unless you like watching cumbersome hockey and goons trying to pick a fight. The Flames are like people with Ginger hair, in many ways. Take that however way you please.
Likeability Rating: D
16) Edmonton Oilers
Maybe it’s just me, but there’s always been something more likeable about Edmonton compared to their more southerly neighbours Calgary. Perhaps it’s those glorious years in the 80’s lead by the Great One that just adds weight to their history as a team. Either way, those days are long, long gone. The good news is, they should be coming out of a big rebuild (although we’ve been saying that for two years now) with some very exciting young attacking players. The bad news is they still cant seem to get their shit together. They’ve got to turn it around some time soon though, right?
Likeability Rating: B minus
17) Vancouver Canucks
Being a new hockey fan, I’ve sort of missed the reason why a lot of people hate the Canucks, but rest assured, people do hate them. To be fair, they seem to have a relatively apathetic fan base and had a few whiney players, but it’s been their overall mismanagement that’s hamstrung them recently. Hard to advise someone to pick up a team on a clear downward trend, unless you have a thing for demonic Swedish twins.
Likeability Rating: D
Do They Even Have Ice There?
We’re beginning to go into the realms of “Oh…do they have a hockey team?” with this grouping of cities, and sadly these franchises wouldn’t necessarily be described as hockey hot beds….unless you were to literally be speaking about their beds, which would be usually quite hot due to the average temperatures of these cities…
18) Tampa Bay Lighting
While every part of me would like to cast off Florida hockey franchise and tell you to roundly ignore them because they’re not worth your time an effort, I would find a hard time doing that to this team. Stamkos is arguably a top 3 player in the league, they seem to have a general manager who’s building a competent franchise, and they are my “hot tip” for Eastern Conference success this season. They’ve had a nice off-season, but without much of a recent history of success, this would be a nice time to get on the train. Seems to be goodwill for them around the league as a rising underdog.
Likeability Rating: B plus
19) Arizona Coyotes
On the other hand…Arizona have been a mess for a long time, and continue to attract no fans to watch their boring and irrelevant franchise. It is unfortunate because they’ve traditionally been decent on the ice and residually appear to be a hard out, but their lack of tanking has resulted in no franchise players to really get excited about. Sorry, but just don’t bother. Nothing personal.
Likeability Rating: F
20) Dallas Stars
Dallas are hard-charging right now, and getting a lot of respect in so doing. Historically this franchise has a decent reputation for a non-traditional hockey market, and after really making a significant break through last year, they’ve made some lofty moves that will but them in the mix. Some exciting young talent, playing against some great teams in their conference, this is a nice group to get on board with.
Likeability Rating: A minus
21) Florida Panthers
Florida are the leagues other tumultuous franchise who are having many of the same problems Nashville are, which immediately puts them on the back foot from a new-fan’s perspective. While this year they have new ownership who seem relatively committed to get the ball rolling in the right direction, there are more than a few skeptics as to whether they can transition to relevance this year. Luongo in net offers improvement, and there are some interesting young prospects to take a look at, but other than that it’s hard to get excited…
Likeability Rating: D