Originally Posted by Flyer_Frank
Arguably, it was when the WHA teams merged into the NHL that cost Schultz his job. 21 teams down from a peak of more than 30 when both leagues had a full stock of teams, cost a lot of guys. Add to that a growing talent pool with more Euros and Americans plus guys were getting bigger with more focus on skating and the game was great then and pretty well stayed that way until the clutch-and-grab trapping days of the mid-90s and beyond.
With the much bigger talent pool of today, I have no problem with a 30 team league, I think the talent can support it. I don't want to see any expansion though.
Many in the hockey world have agreed with me that there is way too much expansion and the talent is really diluted. John Davidson was on a Rangers broadcast like 5 years ago in his first trip back to MSG as the Blues head man and told Sam and Joe that there are no 3rd lines anymore because of the excessive expansion! I said Bravo JD and wrote about it here!
20-22 teams would be great today and contract those 8 crappy franchises that don't draw flies and we'd see an amazing NHL and 3rd lines like Boston, NY, and Montreal enjoyed in the early 1970's!
Boston with Sanderson as their 3rd line center!
NY with Stemkowski as their 3rd line center!
Montreal with Pete Mahovlich
or Henri Richard
as their 3rd line center!
Remember Montreal with Beliveau, Lemaire, Richard, and Mahovlich as their 4 centers or Boston with Esposito, Stanfield, Sanderson, Walton, the Rangers with Ratelle, Tkaczuk, Stemkowski, Goyette and Bobby Rousseau
playing powerplay specialist and part-time right winger because they were so deep at center ice!
The Rangers were so deep at center that they traded or left exposed in the expansion draft Orland Kurtenbach
, Syl Apps
, Juha Widing, Don Luce
they were so deep at Center Ice!
Can you imagine having all those center iceman from 1970-71 in one organization that were NHL players and good players?
They had so many leftwingers that guys like Jarry and Egers couldn't make the Rangers or a guy like Mike Murphy
at right wing and how about Moose Dupont and Steve Durbano
on the blueline along with Al Hamilton
and Mike Robitaille
The Rangers were like eight deep in NHL talent and still never won the Cup in those years!
Montreal had guys like Houle, Tardif, Roberto, Mickey Redmond
, who couldn't get regular icetime!
Boston had guys like Reggie Leach
, Bob Stewart
, Rick MacLeish
as some who couldn't crack the Boston lineup because it was so full of talent!
Get back to 22 teams and we'd see awesome 3rd lines and alot more scoring and awesome play!