Thursday, May 16, 2013

NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Series Win Droughts

Every Stanley Cup winning season begins by qualifying for the postseason. Only 8 teams, however, take the second crucial step of winning a playoff series. For the remaining 22 teams, the playoff series win drought begins.

The chart below describes, in descending order, the number of seasons each of these 22 teams has gone without winning a series in the Stanley Cup playoffs, showing the last year they actually won a postseason series. Where no year appears, that team has NEVER won a playoff series.

Team: Years (Last Series Win)
NYI: 19 (1993)
FLA: 16 (1996)
WPG: 13
CLB: 12
MIN: 9 (2003)
CGY: 8 (2004)
TOR: 8 (2004)
EDM: 7 (2006)
BUF: 6 (2007)
COL: 5 (2008)
DAL: 5 (2008)
ANA: 3 (2009)
CAR: 3 (2009)
MTL: 3 (2010)
TBL: 2 (2011)
VAN: 2 (2011)
NAS: 1 (2012)
NJD: 1 (2012)
PHI: 1 (2012)
PHO: 1 (2012)
STL: 1 (2012)
WAS: 1 (2012)

The Phoenix Coyotes hold the all-time series win drought record of 23 seasons going 14 seasons in Phoenix and 9 seasons in Winnipeg without a series win, a streak that was snapped in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

The current leader is the New York Islanders who have failed to win a playoff series for two decades. The Florida Panthers are close behind with 16 seasons separating them from a postseason series win. Arguably worse are the current Winnipeg Jets (formerly Atlanta Thrashers) and Columbus Blue Jackets, neither of whom have ever won a playoff series, let alone a playoff game, in their unremarkable franchise histories.

Interestingly, 6 of the 7 Canadian teams (Winnipeg, Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, MontrealVancouver) find themselves on the list, with Ottawa being the only club to win a playoff series this postseason. Unfortunately for the hockey-crazed nation, their teams also rank high on the Stanley Cup Championship drought lists, with 20 years separating the country from its last Cup win (Montreal 1993).

Of the eight teams to advance to the second round of the 2013 Playoffs, only two teams (New York Rangers, Los Angeles) have won a playoff series in consecutive postseasons.  None of the other six teams (Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, San Jose) won a series last season.
Dynasties are dying as parity prevails in the salary-capped NHL. Enjoy playoff success while it lasts, as the shelf-life seems to be short.