In the latest installment of our series on the best NHL teams in the United States, we took a look at the top three teams in rural America, from Kentucky to Maine.
We also took a deep dive into the top-tier NHL prospects in the region, and what that means for the NHL’s future.
This time around, we’re looking at the National League, where the New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators and New Jersey Devils have been at the forefront of the growth of the game.
The Rangers, who are headed to the Stanley Cup Final, have already made a splash in their inaugural season in town.
New York is home to the Rangers’ home arena, Madison Square Garden, and the team’s players and coaches have been getting their own hotel in the city.
While the Rangers are the team of choice for many young hockey fans in the state, there are some who are looking to move away from the area.
“It’s just like a bubble in terms of the city and the fan base, but there’s so many different reasons for people to stay,” said Scott Pomeroy, a local resident.
“You can go out and have a good time in the suburbs, but the real reason is just the people.
You’re going to see people going to games and going to concerts, and there’s going to be so much that goes on there, and you’re not going to get that in the cities.
You’ll see all the people out here, but I would say the people are really excited about it.”
Pomerot said that the Rangers have provided some of the best atmosphere for the city in the country.
“If you’re a fan in New York, you probably haven’t been to a Rangers game in a long time,” he said.
“There’s so much history here, so many great teams.
I think you’re going a lot of the fans over from the suburbs.
They’re coming in from a different world and seeing what’s going on and they’re excited to see the team play.”
The Rangers are not the only team in town to make an impact in the area, though.
The New Jersey Generals have enjoyed success in the Midwest over the past two years, with the team taking home the 2014 Stanley Cup and the 2015 Calder Cup.
But the Generals’ most impressive accomplishment came last season, when they swept the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs in the first round of the playoffs.
New Jersey is also home to three of the top four teams in North America in terms a draft pick, according to ESPN’s Chad Fox.
“When you look at all the picks they’ve made in the last few years, and then their first-round pick, it’s pretty impressive,” Fox said.
While New Jersey has the best overall draft record in the league, the Generams’ success is built around a relatively new crop of prospects.
That includes three players who were drafted in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
“The Generals are one of those teams that had some very young guys that were very talented in their respective draft years,” Fox explained.
“I think the way they’re doing things, they’re trying to bring in the best of the younger guys that have played in the NHL, so I think that’s the difference that makes them successful.”
The Generals also boast the best record in their division in terms overall draft pick.
They currently have four first-rounder in the system, including one each from the New Jersey and Colorado organizations.
“To get their first two first-year players, they had to spend a ton of money to get them,” Pomeroth said.
They also got two first rounders in the 2016 NHL Entry draft, one from the Buffalo Sabres and the other from the Minnesota Wild.
“In terms of developing those guys into the players that they are today, they’ve done a fantastic job of it,” Fox added.
They want to have a chance to win every year. “
This is the kind of team that is very competitive, they want to compete and they want their success, and that’s what you want in a franchise.
They want to have a chance to win every year.
And they’re going out and they have a lot to prove in the coming years.”
The first two rounds of the NHL Entry drafts are typically filled with a few surprises.
The first was a surprise for the Preds, who selected a goalie, but they didn’t get a top-four pick.
The second pick was a late one for the Blues, who also took the goaltender, but took a goaltender in the fourth round.
The third pick was in the top two, but came after the Blues drafted a forward in the sixth round.
And the fourth pick came after a Blues draft pick