The dream of most junior players is to hear their name being called at the NHL draft. Hopefully, it’ll be by a team they either love or at least respect. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with playing in Caroline or Phoenix, but they don’t have the same history or culture. And it’s often reflected in the number of banners in the rafters. Let’s take a look at some of the top NHL franchises any player should want to play for.
3. Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings have to make this list because of the culture of winning in Detroit. Despite having a few bad years recently, the brand is still associated with excellence, and their front office is never satisfied with mediocrity. The team went to the playoffs for 21 seasons straight and only missed them twice in 28 years, so this is a great place for a prospect who wants to win. There’s also a deep hockey culture in the city, and players do get some recognition, so that’s a nice additional perk.
2. Philadelphia Flyers
While the Flyers were an expansion team, they feel just as if they were part of the original 6. The Flyers are a truly iconic franchise, and it can be felt at every level of this organization. The Flyers always seem to bring a good product on the ice and are usually always in the discussion. But the fans are probably one of the greatest things about playing for the Flyers. Philadelphians are nuts about their Flyers, so this is a good place for a young player who doesn’t want to play to the sound of crickets in the middle of the desert.
1. Montreal Canadiens
Most of you would’ve guessed it; the best team to play in the NHL remains the Montreal Canadiens. They have the most history. They have the most cups. And they have the most devoted fans not only in hockey but maybe in all of North American professional sports. The team sold out games at the Bell Center for 14 years straight. That’s how seriously people take hockey in Montreal. And the players are treated like royalty. It also helps that the city is pretty nice too. In addition to its Old World charm and great nightlife, it has a world-class casino and plenty of options to gamble online, which makes it one of the top cities for any player in the league.
The Canadiens are a great fit for any player who wants to attach themselves to a great franchise and have a global reach as a superstar. However, playing in the city also comes with a lot of pressure and media scrutiny, so this is not a job for those who are afraid of the spotlight.
All of these teams are iconic and have years of history behind them. They are also known for being competitive and for the quality of their organization. This is why top talent often seems to gravitate around them and why they always find a way to stay in the picture.