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Thrashers Place in Expansion History

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After clinching the playoffs yesterday we can officially close the book on this question: how many seasons would it take to make the post-season.?Unfortunatley, it took 7 seasons which is very near to dead last of expansion franchises. The Capitals are even worse waiting until their 9th season. The Blue Jackets are the last playoff virgins out there and as long as Doug MacLean is GM I like their chances of passing the Thrashers mark of futility.

I have left off this list the Original Six teams and four WHA franchises that joined the NHL after the merger (Edmonton, Hartford/Carolina, Quebec/Colorado, Winnipeg/Phoenix). In truth it is not fair to compare any of the more recent expansion teams to the six teams which joined the NHL in 1967 because all of those teams were put into their own division and therefore 4 of the 6 were guaranteed playoff spots their very first year (and one team an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals). The 1967 Expansion teams I've marked with an (*) for that reason.

Another thing that jumps out is that making the playoffs right away isn't necessarily a good thing. Oakland went defunct and the original Minnesota, Atlanta and Oakland teams moved away from their starting point. The teams that struggled out of the gate are generally speaking well run franchises today. Is this correlation or coincidence?

Seasons Until First Playoff Appearance
1st Minnesota/Dallas North Stars *
1st Los Angeles Kings *
1st St. Louis Blues *
1st Philadelphia *
2nd Atlanta/Calgary Flames
2nd Oakland/Cleveland Seals/Barons * (defunct franchise)
3rd Florida
3rd Buffalo
3rd Pittsburgh *
3rd San Jose Sharks
3rd Minnesota Wild
3rd NY Islanders
4th Tampa Bay
4th Kansas City/Colorado/New Jersey
4th Anaheim
5th Nashville
5th Vancouver
5th Ottawa
6+ Columbus
7th Atlanta Thrashers
9th Washington