Friday, April 27, 2018

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 23 teams, the playoff series win drought begins.

The chart below describes, in descending order, the number of seasons each of these 23 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       Seasons      Last Series Win
Florida      
21     
Columbus
17     
Never
Toronto
13     
Buffalo
11     
Colorado
10     
Carolina
9     
Vancouver
7     
Arizona     
6     
New Jersey
6     
Philadelphia
6     
Detroit
5     
Los Angeles
4     
Calgary
3     
Chicago
3     
Minnesota
3     
Montreal
3     
Dallas
2     
New York*
2     
Anaheim
1     
Edmonton
1     
New York^
1     
Ottawa
1     
St. Louis
1     

* New York Islanders
^ New York Rangers

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 Florida Panthers with 21 seasons separating them from a postseason series win. Arguably worse are the Columbus Blue Jackets who have never won a playoff series in their 17 season existence. This postseason was special for the Winnipeg Jets (formerly Atlanta Thrashers), as won their first ever playoff game on April 11, 2018 (6,767 days since their first game on October 2, 1999) as well as their first playoff series win, ending a 17 season drought on both counts.

Interestingly, 6 of the 7 Canadian teams (Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, Edmonton, Ottawa) find themselves on the list, with Winnipeg winning their first ever opening round playoff series this postseason. Unfortunately for the hockey-crazed nation, their teams also rank high on the Stanley Cup Championship drought lists, with 25 years separating the country from its last Cup win (Montreal 1993).

Of the eight teams advancing to the second round of the 2018 Playoffs, three (Washington, Pittsburgh, Nashville) won at least one playoff series last year.  None of the others (Tampa Bay, Boston, Winnipeg, San Jose, Vegas) won a series in the 2017 Playoffs, the latter not even being drafted.

Playoff berths are harder to come by every year. Make the most of each opportunity as parity promises your window will likely quickly close.


* See also NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Qualification Droughts.
* See also NHL Stanley Cup Final Appearance Droughts.
* See also NHL Stanley Cup Championship Droughts.

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