December 5, 2021

How to fix the NHL

Many analyists say that if the NHL doesn’t resume playing this year (at the time of this article it has less than 24 hours to reach a decision), at least 4 teams will fold.

I agree. The NHL needs to lose 5-7 teams immediately. Not only will this take hockey out of the smaller markets, but it will also help spread the talent around.

The borderline NHL-AHL players won’t be playing in the NHL anymore,and while i’m sure that’ll cause alot of my friends in the ECHL to lose their jobs, the NHL talent will be more spread out.

Teams will have talented players and won’t be forced to play the trap anymore, and scoring will go up. more scoring = more attendance.

Also, a few rule changes are needed..

Bring back tag-up offsides like the college game.

Keep the red line for icing, but lose the 2 line pass. Let the players with speed and hands actually do something.

Start actually awarding penalty shots.

Shorten the season so that each game actually matters. A team should play no more than twice / week.

While the current issue at hand is the salary cap situation, the bigger issue is the ratings. Not one nielsen family watched a hockey game on ESPN last year. (perhaps partly because of commentary along the lines of “well Jim, if they wanna win this game, they’re gonna have to try to put more pucks in the net.”

Hockey TV contracts are small to non-existent. Nobody’s watching. Hockey hasn’t had an icon since Gretzky retired. There is no Brett Farve, Kobe Bryant (thankfully), Barry Bonds or Jeff Gordon in the NHL. The average american can’t even name 5 NHL players not on their home team. Something needs to be done about this.

Somebody mentioned that instead of making a salary cap, tie salaries to incentives, but let’s take it a step further. Insert a league minimum: say 300,000 or something, and a max salary too, say $4 mil

Then, add incentives that can bring you over the max salary for things such as making an all star team, scoring over 40 goals, etc.. (every one of these incentives should be something that puts fans in the seats). These incentives would not be yearly, they’d just raise your base salary.

In addition to those incentives, raise the max salary as a function of how long a player has played on teh team.

Example, after 3 years on a team, salary goes up to 5 million. After 5 years, it goes up to 6. etc…

If you get traded, or test the free agent market, you lose your yearly bonuses, but not your incentive bonuses.

Perhaps if players played in the same place longer, fans would actually learn their names.

About Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones is an SEO from Detroit. By day he works as a manager of SEO & Analytics at SapientNitro where his team performs SEO for Fortune500 clients. By night he's either playing hockey or attempting to take over the world with his own websites - which he would have already succeeded in doing had it not been for those meddling kids and their dog. The views expressed here have not been paid for and belong only to Ryan, not any of his employers or clients. Follow Ryan on Twitter at: @RyanJones, add him on Google+ or visit his personal website: www.RyanMJones.com