The newest NHL teams are some of the most exciting teams in the league. From the Original Six (before the NHL Expansion in 1967) the League has grown to 30 teams in 22 different states and Canadian Territories. Get familiar with the newest additions to the NHL and be ready for the upcoming season.
1. Winnipeg Jets, 2011
Hometown and Stadium: The Jets play in the MTS Centre (pictured below) in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba. The MTS opened in 2004 and is one of the newer arenas in the NHL. It also has the smallest capacity in the entire NHL, holding only 15,015 fans for hockey games.
Team Snapshot: The Jets aren't necessarily a new team. The team was purchased recently and for the past five seasons was the Atlanta Thrashers. The 2011-2012 season will be the first season for the new Winnipeg Jets.
Best Current Players: The best players for the Jets in their coming season will be left-winger Andrew Ladd and goalie Ondrej Pavelec. Ladd will no doubt lead the team in goals and assists and Pavelec helped the team to a Conference-best 3.14 goals against average.
2. Minnesota Wild, 2000
Hometown and Stadium: The team plays at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. The arena is owned by the city of St. Paul and is considered to be one of the best sports stadiums in the United States.
Team Snapshot: This is not the first NHL team to call Minnesota home. In 1993, the Minnesota North Stars moved to Phoenix where they still play as the Coyotes. Other proposed team names for the Wild were the White Bears, Voyagers, Northern Lights, Freeze and the Blue Ox. Since 2000, the team has won one Division Championship ('o7-'08) and no Conference Championships or Stanley Cups. Their first two seasons were probably their best to-date and they have not qualified for the playoffs in the last three seasons.
Best Current Players: The best players on the Wild are left wing and center: Martin Havlat and Mikko Koivu who combined for 124 points and 39 goals through the 2010-2011 season. Goalie Niklas Backstrom might need surgery and fell apart late last season. It has been rumored all year that Head Coach Todd Richards could be replaced at any moment.
3. Columbus Blue Jackets, 2000
Hometown and Stadium: The team plays at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Team Snapshot: The Cleveland Barons played in Ohio for two seasons before merging with the North Stars. That was the only other NHL team to have played in Ohio before the Blue Jackets. The team name is a reference to the Civil War. The Blue Jackets and Wild both participated in the 2000 NHL Expansion Draft where they were allowed to select any unprotected players from most of the other NHL teams. With the exception of the 2008-2009 season, the Blue Jackets have not qualified for the playoffs.
Best Current Players: The best current player for the Blue Jackets is easily Rick Nash who leads the team in goals, assists, and overall points.
4. Anaheim Ducks, 1993
Hometown and Stadium: The Ducks play at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The Honda Center is nicknamed 'The Pond', a reference to the former name of the venue: Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim.
Team Snapshot: When the Ducks began in '93, not many people took them seriously because they were owned by Disney and had a logo that was meant to appeal to children. For 12 seasons, the Mighty Ducks played under the ownership of Disney, reaching the playoffs four times. In 2004 Disney wanted to sell the team due to the imminent lockout. They successfully sold the team and fan base has gradually grown since then. In the five seasons post-Disney, they have only failed to make the playoffs once, winning the Stanley Cup in 2006-2007.
Best Current Players: Right-winger Corey Perry led the NHL last season with 50 goals and 98 total points (regular season) easily making him the best player on the team and one of the best young players in the game.
5. Ottowa Senators, 1992
Hometown and Stadium: The Senators play at Scotiabank Place in Ottowa, Ontario, Canada.
Team Snapshot: The Senators are another hockey team that has been given a second life. The original Ottowa Senators were one of the first NHL teams and they won the Stanley Cup eleven times. The 'current' Senators reached the Stanley Cup Finals in '06-'07 but were beat by the Ducks. They have made the playoffs 12 times since the '92-'93 season.
Best Current Players: Center Jason Spezza leads the team in goals, assists and points. Goalie Craig Anderson is fantastic but Spezza get the nod for best player on the Senators.
Have you decided on your new favorite hockey team yet? Each of these new teams has something to offer fans. In the upcoming season, have fun watching the newest NHL teams play.