As a fan, I love to see all the new teams making playoff runs in the NHL. But, I don’t think I can say the same about the league itself. No matter what leagues say, they definitely prefer the largest market teams to make it farthest into the playoffs.
From the NHL’s stand point, the worst thing that could have happened was for them to lose all their big market teams in the first round. Tampa, Washington, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Nashville, Vegas, Winnipeg, all out in the first round of the playoffs. This is leaving teams like Dallas, Carolina, and San Jose (all smaller NHL market teams) with a chance to make the Stanley Cup Finals. Something the NHL probably didn’t see coming.
Like I said before, as a fan, I love this. Parody amongst the best teams in a league is always a good thing. Out of the remaining teams left in the playoffs, I would most want to see a match-up between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Dallas Stars in the Stanley Cup Finals. Two teams that fans would never guess would be in the finals unless you are just an overly optimistic fan of either of those two teams.
From the leagues perspective, this years Stanley Cup Finals is shaping up to be one that they would want to forget, from a ratings perspective. In the east, the best they can hope for is that the Boston Bruins make it to the finals, as they are they are the largest market left in the east. But to be honest, I’m really sick of seeing Boston teams in championships, and hopefully you are too.
In in the west, well, it’s not looking to good. Vegas and Winnipeg, the two biggest markets in terms of value in the west, are both out. The best they got in the west is probably Colorado, maybe St. Louis.
If it was up to the NHL, they would want teams like the New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings in the finals every year, just like it was in 2014. But, you cannot always get what you want. I am always more interested in the finals when there are teams in it that you don’t think would make it. But, at the end of the day, the NHL is a business, and the main goal of a business is to make money. And it would be a lot easier for them to make money dealing with the New York and LA market rather than markets like Dallas and Carolina.