Tag: Hartford Whalers


Video: Will Chris Pronger be elected into the to HHOF?


The NHL on NBC crew takes a look at Chris Pronger’s Hall of Fame prospects now that he has officially become eligible.

Pronger, 40, appeared in 1167 games over 18 seasons with the Whalers, Blues, Oilers, Ducks and Flyers. He scored 157 goals and 698 points to go along with 1590 penalty minutes.

He won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman and the Hart Trophy as the NHL MVP in 2000.

Pronger won Olympic gold with Team Canada in 2002 and 2010. He captured his lone Stanley Cup in 2007 while with Anaheim.

The Dryden, Ontario native was the first-round selection (2nd overall) of the Hartford Whalers in 1993.

Get to know a draft pick — William Nylander


Leading up to the 2014 NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia, we’ll be profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Sunday in the first round. Nothing too in-depth. Just enough so you know who they are and what they’re about.

William Nylander

Height: 5’ 11” Weight: 181  Shoots: Right

Team: MODO

Country: Sweden

NHL Central Scouting Ranking: No. 2 European skater

What kind of player is he?

If there’s a word to describe Nylander it’s “skilled.”

He jumped around a bit last season and ultimately landed in Sweden’s top league for 22 games with MODO scoring one goal with six assists. Considering he was 17 years old and playing against men, those numbers aren’t bad. For a better part of the year he was in Sweden’s second league and had 19 goals and 33 points in 43 games still against players much older than him.

Nylander grabbed the attention of scouts with his play at the World Under-18 Junior Championships where he had six goals and 16 points in seven games.

Long story short, he’s prepared to be a pro. To help everyone feel old, he’s the son of former NHLer Michael Nylander. If he can have or exceed the kind of career his old man did (679 points in 920 games) he’ll have a long career in the NHL. Considering his dad was a third-round pick by the Hartford Whalers in 1991, the bar is set a bit higher for William.


TSN’s Craig Button, a former GM of the Calgary Flames and scouting expert, said Nylander has tremendous ability as Oilers Nation shared.

“Nylander boasts high-end skills highlighted by excellent puck control. His confidence with the puck is outstanding and he has as much patience with it as any player in the draft.”

Chief Scout of NACScouting, Mark Seidel, has this to say about Nylander:

“Expectations coming into the season were unrealistic. He tried to do too much early and showed frustration. He makes offensive plays his teammates don’t even expect and distributes the puck very well. He loves to challenge with speed. He was the best offensive player at the recent Under 18’s. Size is still a concern, but will create offense wherever he plays.”

For more 2014 NHL Draft previews, click here.

Return of the Whalers? Howard Baldwin thinks he can make it happen (again)

Ron Francis

All right so we got the Winnipeg Jets to come back in some way, now how about the Hartford Whalers? If it were up to former Whalers owner Howard Baldwin he’d put his new five-year plan into action to make it work.

Baldwin showed off his plan to business leaders in Hartford to help him and the city of Hartford to help realize their (or his) dreams or bringing the NHL back to town. Before you get too excited, as Rick Green of the Hartford Courant notes, the plan involves a lot of upheaval in the city and more importantly, a lot of public money to make it happen. Highlights of his plan include:

  • $105 million in public funds to renovate the XL Center
  • Support from businesses in Hartford to get things rolling
  • Support from the Governor of Connecticut to move ahead

Sounds like a stacked deck against Baldwin’s plans and it’s probably for good reason. While we’re all extremely nostalgic about the Whalers now, getting full support to a team these days in a new economy to get 18,000 fans a night in a small New England town might prove difficult. Never mind that they’d still need a team to want to move there.

While Baldwin has been busting his tail to make Hartford look like the go-to place for hockey, it’s not as if this is the same situation as Winnipeg. Yes, the Connecticut Whale are there now and keeping the dream alive, but averaging just over 4,700 a game won’t instill confidence that things could work. Compare that to the Manitoba Moose who drew over 8,000 a game last year before getting the Jets this season.

We’d love to see the Whalers reborn, we’re shameless for 80s-90s nostalgia here, this plan just doesn’t make it feel very likely given that you’re asking the people to give up so much money to make it happen.

Best and worst sweaters of all-time: Carolina Hurricanes

Ron Francis

When you talk about the Carolina Hurricanes and their history of sweaters, there’s really not a whole lot of change they’ve done since they’ve been in North Carolina. Don’t think we’re going to ignore the whale in the room when it comes to their departure from Hartford, however.

Best: The original road red sweaters the Hurricanes busted out with is the one I identify best with when it comes to what they’ve had over time. It was a simple design and while the logo leaves a lot to be desired, the storm flags design that goes around the bottom of the sweater with the simple stripes make it stand out well. The piping that came in later on after the lockout and the addition of the RBK Edge designs dumbed the whole thing down. The Hurricanes got it right the first time around without the needless piping.

Worst: When the Hurricanes introduced a third sweater that was going to take advantage of their secondary logo, I was excited to see what they would pull off. After all, their secondary logo is ingenious using a hockey stick as a flag pole with the, ahem, tropical storm warning flag atop it being blown by the wind. Instead, they went full on with the black color scheme dulling everything out, including the storm flag stripes at the bottom. They had a real chance to do something cool and came up with something that was hip for the moment. For shame.

Long Live the Whalers: Give me your tired, your weary, your Pucky the Whale (although not like this). Give me your green and blue, your navy blue and gray, and your Brass Bonanza. Give me the Hartford Whalers sweaters in every iteration they’ve ever donned in their history. The Hurricanes bolted Hartford and left behind a legacy of looks that tug at every hockey fan’s heartstrings. If you can’t appreciate the looks the Whalers brought to the ice, I don’t want to even know who you are.

“Iconic” doesn’t even begin to describe what the Whalers are and were to hockey fans… If only as many people loved the Whalers then as they do now perhaps Peter Karmanos wouldn’t have run screaming for North Carolina.

Assessment: Listen, nothing is ever going to live up to the bar that the Whalers set beforehand and the Hurricanes have been fighting that retroactive Whalers fandom since they moved to North Carolina so that’s not fair. All things considered, the Hurricanes have an OK look right now. The logo is tough to love but they have a great color scheme and the sweaters are nicely designed enough. Hey, if it’s good enough for the “Justin Bieber of hockey” it’s good enough for me. It’ll just never be as nice as something that once originated out of Hartford.

Numbers don’t back up nostalgia when it comes to bringing the NHL back to Quebec, Winnipeg

Image (1) nordiquesvsjets-thumb-250x367-19814-thumb-250x367-19815-thumb-250x367-19927.jpg for post 15543

It’s hard not to be nostalgic for other eras. And to be honest, the events don’t even need to be that far in the past for people to get that way; sometimes I look back wistfully at the days of Jaromir Jagr’s mullet or Charles Barkley taking the NBA by storm with the Phoenix Suns.

But the problem with those memories is that they’re often seen through rose-colored (and factually questionable) glasses.

If money wasn’t an object, it would be absolutely fantastic to see the Winnipeg Jets and Quebec Nordiques play in the NHL again. Heck, while we’re at it, why not bring back the Hartford Whalers and coerce the Anaheim Ducks to change their names to the California Golden Seals for good measure?

Derek Zona of SB Nation crunches the numbers and comes to the cold reality of the situation: Winnipeg and Quebec markets are simply not very likely to support NHL teams over the long haul.

Not only would either city immediately become the smallest market in the league, it would be by an enormous margin. Quebec City is 60 percent and Winnipeg only 53 percent of the size of Ottawa, the current smallest market in the NHL. On a per capita basis, Quebec would be the fifth-poorest market and Winnipeg would be the poorest market in the league.


Proponents of teams in Quebec City and Winnipeg like to point to the cost-certainty of the salary cap as prescribed by the CBA, an agreement signed after both the Nordiques and Jets left for good.  But even though salaries are now capped, they’ve still grown at a staggering rate. In 1996, the average NHL salary was $984,000. In 2009, the average NHL salary was $2,283,000. That’s growth of 132 percent. If salaries tracked to inflation, the average player salary would have been $1,331,000. For a comparison, Winnipeg’s GDP has grown 53 percent since 1996. In other words, player salaries are outpacing GDP growth in a market that couldn’t afford player salaries in the first place.

Prior to the fall of the U.S. dollar relative to the Canadian dollar, teams now considered to be financially stable struggled mightily to compete. Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver were all taking in Canadian dollars of less relative worth and paying out U.S. dollars. And while the short-term market outlook doesn’t lend itself to the recovery of the U.S. dollar, the possibility exists that a recovery can and may happen. If that were to happen, the already hamstrung markets of Quebec City and Winnipeg would find themselves facing the exact situation they faced in the early 1990s.

It’s fun to think about the possibilities of the Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets skating once again. Giving those fans a chance to root for their teams is a noble sentiment. But sending teams into markets that cannot support a franchise is what got Gary Bettman into this mess in the first place. Relocation should be considered in the framework of what is best for the long-term fiscal health of the league and future growth of the game, not governed by nostalgia for what once was untenable.

I know it’s a bummer for many of you, but Zona provides black-and-white numbers that are pretty hard to refute. Click here to read more about it.