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Evolution of the NHL from six to 32 teams

With the recently announced expansion to Seattle, the National Hockey League will grow to 32 teams for the 2020-21 season, a 433 percent increase over the days of the Original Six. A look at the league's mushrooming growth:

Max Rubin cheers and holds a sign in

Max Rubin cheers and holds a sign in favor of the team name "Kraken" following the announcement of a new NHL hockey team in Seattle, at a celebratory party Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Photo Credit: AP/Elaine Thompson

With the recently announced expansion to Seattle, the National Hockey League will grow to 32 teams for the 2020-21 season, a 533 percent increase over the days of the Original Six. A look at the league’s mushrooming growth:

6 TEAMS: 1942-67

1942-43: Brooklyn Americans franchise folds after the 1941-42 season, leaving Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs.

12 TEAMS: 1967-70

1967-68: Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, California/Oakland Seals, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues begin play.

14 TEAMS: 1970-72

1970-71: Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks begin play. Seals become California Golden Seals.

16 TEAMS: 1972-74

1972-73: Islanders, Atlanta Flames begin play, as does the rival 12-team World Hockey Association.

18 TEAMS: 1974-78

1974-75: Kansas City Scouts, Washington Capitals begin play

1976-77: Scouts become Colorado Rockies, California Golden Seals become Cleveland Barons.

17 TEAMS: 1978-79

North Stars and Barons merge into a new Minnesota North Stars.

21 TEAMS: 1979-91

1979-80: Former WHA teams Edmonton Oilers, New England Whalers, Quebec Nordiques, Winnipeg Jets are absorbed into the NHL after the rival league folds.

1980-81: Atlanta Flames move to Calgary.

1982-83: Colorado Rockies become New Jersey Devils.

22 TEAMS: 1991-92

San Jose Sharks begin play.

24 TEAMS: 1992-93

Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning begin play.

26 TEAMS: 1993-98

1993-94: Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Florida Panthers begin play.

1995-96: Nordiques become Colorado Avalanche.

1996-97: Jets become Phoenix Coyotes.

1997-97: Whalers become Carolina Hurricanes.

27 TEAMS: 1998-99

1998-99: Nashville Predators begin play.

28 TEAMS: 1999- 2000

1999-2000: Atlanta Thrashers begin play.

30 TEAMS: 2000-17

2001-02: Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild begin play.

2011-12: Thrashers become Winnipeg Jets.

31 TEAMS: 2017-2020

Vegas Golden Knights begin play.

32 TEAMS: 2020

NHL will add a team in Seattle. Ownership group has reportedly registered trademarks for 13 potential team names: Seattle Cougars, Seattle Eagles, Seattle Emeralds, Seattle Evergreens, Seattle Firebirds, Seattle Kraken, Seattle Rainiers, Seattle Renegades, Seattle Sea Lions, Seattle Seals, Seattle Sockeyes, Seattle Totems and Seattle Whales. The leaders include Kraken, a gigantic legendary tentacled sea monster, and Totems, an historic nickname of Seattle minor-league hockey teams.

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