First off, that’s not true. But this is an exercise in a couple “what ifs”. There really is no chance of Halifax being awarded a National Hockey League team in the near future, or any city in Atlantic Canada for that matter. There are many reasons, which I won’t get in to in this blog. With teams being assembled and playing for the World Cup of hockey let’s piece together our own team. An expansion draft wouldn’t be exciting to do so let’s go back to very old NHL roster rules where players could draft from within their own boundary and have exclusive rights to these players before any other team tries to capture them. This is how the Montreal Canadians and Toronto Maple Leafs won nearly 40 Stanley Cups between them. Quebec and Ontario produce a lot of hockey stars.
Let’s set our boundary as all of Atlantic Canada to see what this fictional Halifax NHL team might look like, under old rules. As you can imagine it’s full of high-end talent such as Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon and Brad Marchand. The rest of the roster might be hard to come up with off the top of your head, so I did the work for you. Here are the 2017-2018 NHL Halifax _____ (Explosion? Highlanders? Sailors? Voyagers? Citadels?):
Brad Marchand (NS), Sidney Crosby (NS), Teddy Purcell (NFLD)
Colin Greening (NFLD), Nathan MacKinnon (NS), James Sheppard (NS)
Alex Killorn (NS), Brad Richards (PEI), Logan Shaw (NS)
Brad Malone (NB), Steve Ott (PEI), Daniel Cleary (NFLD)
Luke Adam (NFLD), Eric Boulton (NS), Zach Sill (NS)
Brandon Gormley (PEI), Andrew MacDonald (NS)
Aaron Johnson (NS), Adam Pardy (NFLD)
Randy Jones (NS), Adam McQuaid (PEI)
Mark Flood (PEI), Ryan Graves (NS)
Jake Allen (NB), Calvin Pickard (NB), Joey MacDonald (NS)
The forwards are quite respectable with some dynamic NHL talent, youth, veterans and some role players mixed in. A few retired guys like Michael Ryder and Ryane Clowe could have been added to beef up the forwards, but overall this looks reasonable up front.
The defencemen could use some retired players too. Actually bringing Don Sweeney, Al Macinnis and Colin White out of retirement is advisable. Sure the 8 D who are listed are fair professional hockey players but they would make the Edmonton Oilers’ defence look like perennial all-stars. There’s not one defenceman with experience as an NHL top 2 D pair.
The goaltending with Allen, Pickard and MacDonald is respectable as long as Allen plays well and stays healthy. The 3 goalies barely have 200 NHL games between them but that’s a problem NHL general managers and coaches have been faced with many times in the past.
Did I miss anyone? If I did miss a player please add them to the comments at the bottom. What record would this team have? Where would they finish in the NHL Northeast division? What trades would you make to improve the defence and other areas? If anyone assembles this team in NHL 17 let me know. I’d love to know how it does.