blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: May 2017

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

NHL Stanley Cup Final Appearance Droughts

This week the Predators and Penguins qualified for the 2017 Stanley Cup Final erasing a Stanley Cup Final appearance drought of 17 years and 0 years (as the defending champions return to the Final), respectively, while the NHL's other 28 teams extended their absence by another season. The chart below describes, in descending order, the number of seasons each club has gone without a Cup Final appearance, showing the last year they qualified (if ever).

Team       Seasons           Last Cup Final
Toronto Maple Leafs 
49         
St. Louis Blues
46         
Phoenix Coyotes*
37         
Never
New York Islanders
32         
Montreal Canadiens
23         
Florida Panthers
20         
Washington Capitals
18         
Buffalo Sabres
17         
Winnipeg Jets**
17         
Never
Columbus Blue Jackets
16         
Never
Dallas Stars
16         
Minnesota Wild
16         
Never
Colorado Avalanche
15         
Calgary Flames
12         
Carolina Hurricanes
11         
Edmonton Oilers     
11         
Anaheim Ducks
10         
Ottawa Senators      
10         
Detroit Red Wings
8         
Philadelphia Flyers
7         
Vancouver Canucks
6         
New Jersey Devils
5         
Boston Bruins
4         
Los Angeles Kings
3         
New York Rangers
3         
Chicago Blackhawks
2         
Tampa Bay Lightning
2         
San Jose Sharks
1         
Pittsburgh Penguins
0         
Nashville Predators
0         

*   Includes record of Winnipeg Jets prior to relocation to Phoenix
** Includes record of Atlanta Thrashers prior to relocation to Winnipeg

The average drought rests at roughly 13.5 seasons with Toronto laying claim to the longest at 49 seasons, a streak that began prior to NHL expansion beyond its original six teams. Arguably worse is the fact that 4 of the 30 teams (13%) have never skated in a Final in their franchise history (Phoenix, Winnipeg, Minnesota, Columbus), a list that was reduced by one with the Predators earning their first ever Stanley Cup Final appearance this year.

In ten months the quest for the Cup continues for 16 of the 31 clubs (as the Vegas Golden Knights take the ice next  season) that qualify for the postseason. The goal is to hoist the hardware, but simply qualifying for the Stanley Cup Final would be a step in the right direction.
Indeed, one thing leads to another.

* See also NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Qualification Droughts.
* See also NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Series Win Droughts.
* See also NHL Stanley Cup Championship Droughts.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

NHL Consecutive Stanley Cup Rematches

Since the Stanley Cup was first awarded to the NHL's best in 1926, only 10 times have the same two teams met in the Cup Final in consecutive years. Of those 10 meetings, the same team won both series 7 times and teams split 3 times. Put another way, the Cup champion has successfully defended its title in 7 of the 10 rematches (70%).

The chart below describes every consecutive Cup rematch by year.

Year       Matchup
1932   Toronto over New York*  
1933 New York* over Toronto  
1948 Toronto over Detroit
1949 Toronto over Detroit
1954 Detroit over Montreal
1955 Detroit over Montreal
1957 Montreal over Boston
1958 Montreal over Boston
1959 Montreal over Toronto
1960 Montreal over Toronto
1963 Toronto over Detroit
1964 Toronto over Detroit
1968 Montreal over St. Louis
1969 Montreal over St. Louis
1977 Montreal over Boston 
1978 Montreal over Boston   
1983 New York** over Edmonton     
1984 Edmonton over New York**
2008 Detroit over Pittsburgh
2009 Pittsburgh over Detroit

*   New York Rangers
** New York Islanders

Of the 9 teams (Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins) to compete in Stanley Cup Final rematches, all but two (Boston, St. Louis) have won at least one championship during a rematch series. Never have the same two teams met in more than two consecutive Stanley Cup Finals.

Though teams have enjoyed consecutive Stanley Cup wins (24 times) and suffered consecutive Stanley Cup losses (13 times) over the years, the rematch is a far rarer occurrence (10 times). 

With Chicago losing in the preliminary round and Tampa Bay ousted in the conference final of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs, there will be no rematch of last year's finalists in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

* See also NHL Consecutive Stanley Cup Wins.
* See also NHL Consecutive Stanley Cup Losses.