What if the Rockies stayed in Denver?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Eskie Jetski, Nov 5, 2013.

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  1. Eskie Jetski

    Eskie Jetski Registered User

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    Granted, I was only three when they moved to Jersey so I'm not an expert on the situation, but I'm thinking if Don Cherry was given more rope to coach the team and with a few more high draft picks (especially considering they would have had to play the Oilers and Flames 8 times a year), could the club eventually have amounted to anything by the late 80's like the Devils once those high picks came to fruition? It might have been a little more difficult to make advances in the Smythe at that time though with the Alberta teams and once the Kings got Gretzky it wouldn't have made things any easier.

    Also, would the Rockies staying have had a more positive effect on the Jets fortunes as the Norris would have stayed with six teams but Winnipeg might have had a better chance to advance to the Conference Finals at least once during that time span. And poor Toronto might not have even been able to qualify once for the postseason (well, maybe 1990) since they would have had to beat out two teams!
     
  2. Hasbro

    Hasbro Can He Skate?! Sponsor

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    The lack of high draft picks wasn't the problem. The problem was trading those picks for scrub players.

    If the team were to survive it would have needed better management.
     
  3. Hobnobs

    Hobnobs Pinko

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    Why would it be better to give Cherry more rope? He didn't exactly have more rope in Boston as far as I've heard and we can read the results when he has full control.


    Absolute genius that one :sarcasm:

    As far as rockies goes they had management problems if those were solved who knows what would have happened but there would probably be a southern expansion sooner as NHL wouldve promoted it a success with a team surviving in Colorado.
     
  4. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    If getting a lot of high draft picks was the magic solution to save a team, the Thrashers would still be in Atlanta and Edmonton would be in first place this year.

    The Rockies had plenty of high draft picks, but no clue how to develop those prospects into NHL players. Terribly mismanaged franchise.
     
  5. Buck Aki Berg

    Buck Aki Berg Done with this place

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    The interesting what-if for me is stems from the fact that the Jets were forced from the Norris to the Smythe as a result of the Rockies' move to The Swamp, where they were stomped flat by the Oilers year after year in the playoffs. The Norris had to have been the weakest division in sports for part of the late 80s, and they would have been top seed in the Norris in 84-85 and 86-87.

    Granted, even if they stay in the Norris and tear up the first two rounds of the playoffs those two years, they lose to the juggernaut Oilers in the third round instead of the second...
     
  6. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    The Rockies where terrible and looking at their season by season record they didn't do much in the way of improving. Still if they stayed there where do the Nordiques move in 1995? Also if they go to Minnesota or Nashville in 1995 what 2 cities step up and get the expansion teams in the late 90's. Lots of questions to be asked for sure.
     
  7. Hasbro

    Hasbro Can He Skate?! Sponsor

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    Firing him was probably a mistake because he was popular, but I don't expect he would have turned the team around.






    Colorado only got categorized as Southern by the willfully ignorant who wanted an otherness to slag the team for being relocated from Canada or being good.
     
  8. Hasbro

    Hasbro Can He Skate?! Sponsor

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    Some of the asset mismanagement:


    COL got Ron Andruff, Sean Shanahan and 1980 No. 1 (Paul Gagne). Andruff-Shanahan deal gave MON option, which it exercised, of switching 1980 No. 1 picks. (Sept. 13, 1976) That was the first overall in 1980, which was the bust Doug Wickenheiser. Still horrible considering the next five picked were Dave Babych, Denis Savard, Larry Murphy, Darren Veitch, and Paul Coffey. Andruff and Shannahan were both out of the league when Montreal took this pick

    1979-Nov-02 Barry Beck traded from Colorado Rockies to New-York Rangers for Lucien DeBlois and Pat Hickey and future considerations and Dean Turner. Beck was a fan favorite during his stay in Colorado, all the players Colorado got in the deal were gone in two years. Mitigating factor: Hickey was part of the package sent to Toronto for Lanny McDonald and Joel Quennville.

    1981-Jul-21 Dwight Foster traded from Boston Bruins with Round 1 pick in the 1982 draft (Ken Daneyko) to Colorado Rockies for Round 1 pick in the 1982 draft (Gord Kluzak) and Round 2 pick in the 1982 draft (Brian Curran)The pick was the first in the 1982 draft. Kluzak had knee problems, but the next 5 picks were Brian Bellows, Gary Nylund, Ron Sutter, Scott Stevens and Phil Housley.
     
  9. Hasbro

    Hasbro Can He Skate?! Sponsor

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    It's also worth noting the economy crashed hard here in 1982 when the oil market busted.
     
  10. MuzikMachine

    MuzikMachine Registered User

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    For starters, Wayne Gretzky would have played the "Mickey Mouse organization" a lot more times per year. If the Devils' early history is any indication, the Rockies would have continued to be a bottom tier team in the Smythe division. Saying that, the if the Rockies would have fared worse than the Devils, they might have finished lower than the Penguins and ended up with Mario Lemieux. Imagine Lemieux and Gretzky in the same division.

    I'm wondering if Lou Lamoriello would have gone to Denver instead of New Jersey?
     
  11. Hasbro

    Hasbro Can He Skate?! Sponsor

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    Elway and Lemieux hitting the same town with in a year of each other?:amazed: Kirk Muller ends up in Jersey anyway as the Pens don't survive.

    Another situation is the Rockies draft Bourque in 1979 #1 instead of Ramage. Ray becomes the superstar in town during the gap between David Thompson's drug problem and the Elway trade.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2013
  12. frontsfan2005

    frontsfan2005 Registered User

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    With Brendan Byrne Arena opening in 1982, one would think that if the Rockies stayed put that someone else would move to New Jersey and their brand new NHL ready arena. Pittsburgh was having problems until Mario revived the franchise in the mid-80's, but were they ever a relocation threat? Maybe the NHL would have expanded to NJ in the 80's to make it a 22 team league? Or maybe the struggling expansion Devils move out to Nashville in 1995 when the team doesn't win the Cup? Where does Quebec go, Atlanta?

    Definitely lots of questions to be asked.
     
  13. Buck Aki Berg

    Buck Aki Berg Done with this place

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    None of the four cities that received expansion teams would have been ready to host the Nords in 1995 - the Omni in Atlanta was deemed by the NHL unsuitable even as a temporary home for a team when Ted Turner began expressing interest in a team (which is rich when you consider some of the horr-awful temporary venues the league has used), Bridgestone Arena, Nationwide Arena, and Xcel Center were either incomplete or not yet started in October 1995, and it's unlikely that they play in Minneapolis considering their play for the Jets went south a year later.

    One has to assume that the Nords end up in Phoenix, and the Jets go to Nashville the following year. At the time, Atlanta, Houston, Nashville, Columbus, Hamilton, St. Paul, Oklahoma City, Hampton Roads, and Raleigh were applying for the four expansion cities, so Nashville's expansion team would have likely ended up in Houston, Hamilton, or Oklahoma City.
     
  14. Mayor Bee

    Mayor Bee Registered User

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    Attendance numbers I have from the Colorado Rockies, in the 16,401-seat capacity McNichols Arena.

    1976-77 - 8550 (52.13096762)
    1977-78 - 8923 (54.40521919)
    1978-79 - 6080 (37.07091031)
    1979-80 - 9788 (59.67928785)
    1980-81 - 8888 (54.19181757)
    1981-82 - 8180 (49.87500762)

    It would have taken an act of deus ex machina to salvage that.
     
  15. kaiser matias

    kaiser matias Registered User

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    Pittsburgh was semi-seriously looking at going to Hamilton in the early 1980s. Just like 10 years ago, it took a first overall pick and the arrival of a superstar to keep them in town.


    Considering New Jersey had been used as a relocation threat by many, many teams (I've seen Vancouver, the Rangers, even Chicago mentioned in old THN articles before the Devils showed up) it would have only been a matter of time until someone moved into the East Rutherford.
     
  16. Buck Aki Berg

    Buck Aki Berg Done with this place

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    Perhaps the Blues ends up in New Jersey for the 83-84 season if the Rockies stay put, though the league fought like hell to keep the St. Louis market.
     
  17. frontsfan2005

    frontsfan2005 Registered User

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    I forgot about the Blues potential move in 1983 to Saskatoon, I have a feeling that if the Rockies stayed put, the league would have no problem moving St. Louis to New Jersey. I'm not sure if it was really wanting to keep the St. Louis market, it was more like making sure they weren't moving to a tiny Canadian city that at the time had a population of just over 150,000, or about 1/4 of the size of Quebec, which was the smallest NHL city in 1983.
     
  18. kaiser matias

    kaiser matias Registered User

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    I'm inclined to think the same thing. They have an opportunity to move into the (at the time) brand new Brandon Byrne Arena and add another team to the New York City market, while at the same time leaving a St. Louis market that has a questionable future. It would be nothing like Saskatoon, and I don't think the NHL would have a problem with the Blues becoming the Devils (assuming McMullen buys the team and gives them the same name he gave the Rockies).
     
  19. MuzikMachine

    MuzikMachine Registered User

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    Around the same time, the Oilers had flirted with moving to Hamilton, Minnesota, and Houston and I thought the Jets almost ended up in Minnesota. I'm wondering the if the Rockies stayed in Denver if the Nordiques would have ended up in Minnesota or Houston?
     
  20. Colin226

    Colin226 NJ Devils STH

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    Really interesting stuff guys, thanks for the read!
     
  21. nutbar

    nutbar Registered User

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    What was the deal with the Beck trade? I assume he wanted out of there.
     
  22. Roomtemperature

    Roomtemperature Registered User

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    Did the NHL want a third NYC area team? I mean if McMullen isn't some who just wanted a team because of Jersey roots and having a team like that would anyone think it'd be wise to do so? You got three teams in close enough ranged all established by 1982 and never mind the territorial fees it just doesn't make sense unless you have close ties to the state
     
  23. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    the every playoffs from '94 to '03 would have looked very very different.
     

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