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This Date in NHL History

June 25: NHL approves addition of four teams

Plus: Kings hire Melrose as coach; goalie Smith named to Hockey Hall of Fame

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

THIS DATE IN HISTORY: June 25

1997: The NHL continues its expansion from a 21-team league in 1991 to 30 teams by the start of the 21st century when it officially approves the addition of four teams during the next three years.

The Nashville Predators are to begin play in the 1998-99 season as the League's 27th team, followed one year later by the Atlanta Thrashers. The Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild will take the ice in the 2000-01 season. The NHL remains a 30-team league until the Vegas Golden Knights arrive in 2017.

The announcement comes exactly 32 years after the NHL reveals its intention to expand from six teams to 12. Two years later, the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings, California Seals and Minnesota North Stars enter the League.

 

MORE MOMENTS

1992: The Kings hire Nick Beverley as their new general manager and Barry Melrose as coach. Los Angeles reaches the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in its history in 1993. But Beverley leaves the Kings in May 1994, and Melrose is fired on April 19, 1995.

 

1993: The Hockey Hall of Fame announces its newest members. They include goaltender Billy Smith, a cornerstone of the New York Islanders' four straight Stanley Cup championships from 1980-83, as well as two members of the Montreal Canadiens' dynasty of the late 1970s, forward Steve Shutt and defenseman Guy Lapointe. The other newcomer is center Edgar Laprade, a member of the New York Rangers for 10 seasons in the 1940s and '50s. Two owners, Seymour Knox III (Buffalo Sabres) and Frank Griffiths (Vancouver Canucks), are named to the Hall in the Builders Category.

 

1998: The NHL Board of Governors announces the establishment of the Maurice Richard Trophy, an annual award to be given to the player who scores the most goals during the regular season. The League also institutes a two-referee system that will be used in 20 games per team in 1998-99, 25 games per team in 1999-2000 and in all games beginning with the 2000-01 season.

 

2000: The New York Rangers find their goalie of the future on the second day of the NHL Draft at Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary. The Rangers, who don't have a first-round pick and get little help in rounds 2-6, use their seventh-round selection (No. 205) on Henrik Lundqvist, a goalie playing for Frolunda in Sweden. Lundqvist doesn't arrive in the NHL until 2005, but he goes on to become the winningest goalie in team history. win the Vezina Trophy in 2012 and help the Rangers end a 20-year absence from the Stanley Cup Final in 2014.

 

2010: Taylor Hall, a forward from Windsor of the Ontario Hockey League, is taken by the Edmonton Oilers with the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Center Tyler Seguin goes No. 2 to the Boston Bruins, followed by defenseman Erik Gudbranson (Florida Panthers) and center Ryan Johansen (Predators). All are Canadian; the first player not born in Canada to be selected is forward Nino Niederreiter of Switzerland, who's chosen No. 5 by the Islanders.

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