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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

NHL Minimum Wage & Maximum Wage By Year

In July of 2005, the NHL and NHLPA finalized the 2005 CBA ending a 310 day lockout that resulted in the loss of a season. The core feature of the accord was the introduction a salary cap, setting team spending limits based on league revenue and tying player salaries to such limits.

The maximum player salary was capped at 20% of the team salary cap. Meanwhile, the minimum player salary jumped 257% from $180,000 to $450,000 with fixed bumps in future years.  The chart below shows NHL minimum and maximum player salaries by year since 2005.

Year              Salary Cap     NHL Minimum     NHL Maximum      
2005-2006
$39.0m     
$450,000      
$7.8m     
2006-2007
$44.0m     
$450,000      
$8.8m     
2007-2008
$50.3m     
$475,000      
$10.06m     
2008-2009
$56.7m     
$475,000      
$11.34m     
2009-2010
$56.8m     
$500,000      
$11.36m     
2010-2011
$59.4m     
$500,000      
$11.88m     
2011-2012
$64.3m     
$525,000      
$12.86m     
2012-2013
$70.2m     
$525,000      
$14.04m     
2013-2014
$64.3m     
$550,000      
$12.86m     
2014-2015
$69.0m     
$550,000      
$13.8m     
2015-2016
$71.4m     
$575,000      
$14.3m     
2016-2017
$73.0m     
$575,000      
$14.6m     
2017-2018
$75.0m     
$650,000      
$15.0m     
2018-2019
$79.5m     
$650,000      
$15.9m     
2019-2020
$81.5m     
$700,000      
$16.3m     

The team salary cap has increased 104% since 2005 (an average of 7% per year), providing for maximum player salary to rise by the same margin. Minimum wage, on the other hand, has increased only 83% during that span (an average of 5.5% per year), 21% shy of their top earner counterparts. Thus, while maximum salary has been tied to the spectacular increase in team salary cap, minimum salary has not. 

The chart below shows what minimum salary would be as a percentage of team salary cap, as opposed to the negotiated rate schedule.

Year                NHL Minimum    % of Cap     1.15% of Cap      
2005-2006
$450,000     
1.15%      
$450,000     
2006-2007
$450,000     
1.02%      
$506,000     
2007-2008
$475,000     
.944%      
$578,000     
2008-2009
$475,000     
.837%      
$652,000     
2009-2010
$500,000     
.880%      
$653,000     
2010-2011
$500,000     
.841%      
$683,000     
2011-2012
$525,000     
.816%      
$739,000     
2012-2013
$525,000     
.747%      
$807,000     
2013-2014
$550,000     
.816%      
$739,000     
2014-2015
$550,000     
.797%      
$793,000     
2015-2016
$575,000     
.805%      
$821,100     
2016-2017
$575,000     
.787%      
$829,500     
2017-2018
$650,000     
.867%      
$862,500     
2018-2019
$650,000     
.818%      
$914,250     
2019-2020
$700,000     
.859%      
$937,250     

If minimum wage had been tied to 1.15% of the team salary cap instead of anchoring it to a fixed dollar rate schedule, NHL minimum earners would have received an extra $100,000 in 2007-2008, $200,000 more in 2011-2012, and almost $300,000 more in 2012-2013. In fact, in the fourteen years since the 2005 wage hike, tying it to such a percentage would have yielded an extra $2.6m for such skaters during that span, equaling an additional $187,000 each year on average.

The NHL's minimum wage is scheduled to increase in the coming years reaching $650,000 in 2017-2018, $700,000 in 2019-2020, and $750,000 in 2021-2022. The maximum player salary shall remain at 20% of team salary cap during this span.  

When the current CBA expires after the 2021-2022 season, perhaps the NHLPA should vie to tie minimum wage to a percentage of the team salary cap (with a floor of a 5% bump on prior year pay) so players at both ends of the hockey spectrum can share in increased NHL revenues. Equity for all skaters, regardless of role and talent.

* See also NHL Highest Paid Players By Year.
* See also NHL Highest Player Salary & Cap Hit By Position.
* See also Rethinking NHL Player Salary Structure.

Friday, October 4, 2019

NHL Highest Player Salary & Cap Hit By Position

Since the NHL salary cap was introduced in 2005, clubs have kept a close eye on two key player payroll markers - cap hit and salary. Cap hit corresponds to the dollar amount applied towards team salary cap whereas salary connotes a player's actual take home pay.

The chart below presents 2019-2020 NHL player cap hit and salary figures for the top ten players in each position per Cap Friendly.

      2019-2020 NHL Player Cap Hit By Position

Forward  $m      Defense     $m      Goalie       $m
McDavid  12.5         Karlsson 11.5  Price 10.5
Panarin  11.6         Doughty 11  Bobrovsky 10
Matthews  11.6         Subban Lundqvist       8.5
Tavares  11        Ekman-Larsson 8.2  Fleury         7
Marner  10.8        Burns Rask         7
Toews  10.5         Carlson 8 Gibson         6.4
Kane  10.5         Trouba Hellebuyck  6.1
Kopitar  10         Hedman 7.8  Holtby      6.1
Eichel  10         Weber 7.8 Crawford         6
Seguin  9.8         Byfuglien 7.6  Schneider        6
        

       

      2019-2020 NHL Player Salary By Position

Forward  $m      Defense     $m        Goalie  $m
Marner  16        Karlsson 14.5  Price 15
Tavares  15.9        Doughty 12  Bobrovsky 11.5
Matthews  15.9         Carlson 12 Fleury     8.5
McDavid  15         Trouba 12  Quick      7
Panarin  14         Burns 10  Lundqvist      7
Seguin  13.5       Subban 10 Jones       6.7
Benn  13         Suter Rask  6.5
Aho  12         Ekblad Gibson    6.4
Kucherov  12        Schmidt 8.8 Rinne      6
Rantanen 12        McDonagh 8.4 Varlamov 6
Stone 12     

Hellebuyck 6

       

Schneider      6


The 2005 CBA permitted a player's cap hit and salary figure to diverge dramatically in the same season and over the course of a multi-year contract. Thus, despite Marner ($16m) being paid the most this season, it's actually McDavid ($12.5m), who costs the most consuming more of his team's $81.5m cap limit than any other player.  The 2013 CBA limits this cap-circumvention loophole providing that no multi-year contract can fluctuate more than 35% year-to-year on salary amounts and 50% from the lowest salary year to the highest salary year.  

Another interesting facet of modern player contracts are signing bonus payments (as opposed to performance bonus payments). The genius of structuring player compensation as a bonus is that the earnings are not subject to escrow withholdings and are payable during lockouts.  

When a player retires their cap hit does not typically count against the team's cap limit.  Two notable exceptions to this rule include: (1) all remaining years of any contract signed by players 35 years of age or older continue to count against a team's cap after retirement; and (2) if a player retires and the salary on any remaining years is less than the cap hit of those remaining years, the difference is recouped and charged to the team's cap for those remaining years. A list of all current 35+ contracts may be found here.

As for injuries, teams must still pay a player's salary while injured but the cap hit does not count against the club (LTIR & SOIR).  

A listing of the highest paid players in the NHL since 1989-1990, along with the teams responsible for cutting their checks, can be found here.


* See also NHL Highest Paid Players By Year.
* See also Rethinking NHL Player Salary Structure.
* See also NHL Minimum Wage & Maximum Wage By Year.

Monday, September 16, 2019

NHL Highest Paid Players By Year

NHL player salaries have seen fantastic fluctuations over the past two decades owing to aggressive player negotiations, reckless owner spending, and the introduction of the NHL salary cap in 2005.

The chart below shows the highest paid players in the NHL in terms of annual salary since 1989-1990 and the team responsible for payment.

Year       Salary Player
1989-1990   $2,000,000 Lemieux (PIT)
1990-1991 $3,000,000 Gretzky (LAK
1991-1992 $3,000,000 Gretzky (LAK)
1992-1993 $3,500,000 Lindros (PHI)
1993-1994 $3,350,000 Lindros (PHI)
1994-1995 $3,660,000 Gretzky (LAK)
1995-1996 $6,540,000 Gretzky (LAK, STL)
1996-1997 $11,350,000 Lemieux (PIT)
1997-1998 $16,450,000 Sakic (COL)
1998-1999 $14,500,000 Fedorov (DET)
1999-2000 $17,400,000 Jagr (PIT)
2000-2001 $10,000,000 Forsberg (COL), Kariya (ANA)
2001-2002     $11,000,000     Jagr (WAS)
2002-2003 $11,480,000 Jagr (WAS)
2003-2004 $11,000,000 Forsberg (COL), Jagr (WAS)
2005-2006 $8,360,000 Jagr (NYR)
2006-2007 $8,360,000 Jagr (NYR)
2007-2008 $10,000,000 Briere (PHI), Gomez (NYR), Vanek (BUF)
2008-2009 $10,000,000 Heatley (OTT)
2009-2010 $10,000,000 Lecavalier (TBL)
2010-2011 $10,000,000 Lecavalier (TBL), Luongo (VAN)
2011-2012 $12,000,000 B. Richards (NYR)
2012-2013 $14,000,000 Weber (NAS)
2013-2014 $14,000,000 Weber (NAS)
2014-2015 $14,000,000 Weber (NAS)
2015-2016 $14,000,000 Weber (NAS)
2016-2017 $14,000,000 Kopitar (LAK)
2017-2018 $13,800,000 Kane (CHI), Toews (CHI)
2018-2019 $15,900,000 Tavares (TOR)
2019-2020 $16,000,000 Marner (TOR)



Jagr lays claim to the largest salary in a single season banking $17.4m in 2000, with Sakic a close second at $16.45m in 1998. The lowest paid top earner over the past 30 seasons was Lemieux, taking $2m in 1990. 

Six times during this span Jagr led all players in pay (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007) with Gretzky (1991, 1992, 1995, 1996) and Weber tied for second place with four such salary titles (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016). Only five times since 1990 has a goaltender (Luongo 2011) or a defenseman (Weber 2013-2016) led the league in pay.

In terms of accomplishments, three times during this span the NHL salary king has captured the Art Ross finishing with the most regular season points (Gretzky 1991, Lemieux 1997, Jagr 2000) yet only once has one hoisted the Stanley Cup (Forsberg 2001) in his highest paid year.

As for MVP honors, hockey writers and GMs have never recognized a top earner for regular season (Hart, NorrisVezina) or playoff (Conn Smythe) performance during this period, though the players twice picked Jagr (2000, 2006) as such (Lindsay) during his six season pay day heyday.

Of course, since the salary cap was introduced in 2005, the key figure in terms of a player's cost to a team is his cap hit figure as opposed to his annual salary. A list of the top player salary and cap hit figures by position for the 2019-20 NHL season can be found here.


* See also NHL Highest Player Salary & Cap Hit By Position.
* See also NHL Minimum Wage & Maximum Wage By Year.
* See also Rethinking NHL Player Salary Structure.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

2019 NHL Individual Awards Winners

When it comes to the NHL Awards, a handful are earned on statistical achievement while the rest are won through votes cast by various organizations depending on the award. The chart below shows the award winners for the 2019 NHL season.

NHL Award              Winner 
Conn Smythe Trophy                              Ryan O'Reilly
Art Ross Trophy Nikita Kucherov
Maurice Richard Trophy Alex Ovechkin
Hart Trophy Nikita Kucherov
Ted Lindsay Award Nikita Kucherov
Selke Trophy Ryan O'Reilly
Norris Trophy Mark Giordano
Vezina Trophy Andrei Vasilevskiy
Jennings Trophy Robin Lehner/Thomas Greiss
Calder Trophy Elias Pettersson
Jack Adams Award Barry Trotz
GM of the Year Don Sweeney
Bill Masterton Trophy                        Robin Lehner
Lady Byng Trophy Aleksander Barkov
King Clancy Trophy Jason Zucker
Messier Award Wayne Simmonds

2019 NHL First All-Star Team honors went to Vasilevskiy (G), Burns (D), Giordano (D), McDavid (C), Kucherov (RW) and Ovechkin (LW). The 2019 NHL Second All-Star Team roster was Bishop (G), Carlson (D), Hedman (D), Crosby (C), Kane (RW) and Marchand (LW).  

The 2019 NHL All-Rookie Team was comprised of newcomers Jordan Binnington (G), Rasmus Dahlin (D), Miro Heiskanen (D), Anthony Cirelli (F), Elias Pettersson (F) and Brady Tkachuk (F).

* See also 2018 NHL Individual Awards Winners.
* See also 2017 NHL Individual Awards Winners.
* See also 2016 NHL Individual Awards Winners.
* See also 2015 NHL Individual Awards Winners.
* See also 2014 NHL Individual Awards Winners.
* See also 2013 NHL Individual Awards Winners.
* See also 2012 NHL Individual Awards Winners.
* See also 2011 NHL Individual Awards Winners.
* See also 2010 NHL Individual Awards Winners.
* See also 2009 NHL Individual Awards Winners.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

NHL Consecutive Stanley Cup Wins

Since the Stanley Cup was dedicated to NHL's top team in 1926, only seven franchises (Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins) have successfully defended their title and won the Stanley Cup in consecutive years.

The record for consecutive Stanley Cup wins by the same club is five (Montreal 1956-1957-1958-1969-1960) with two teams managing four straight wins (Montreal 1976-1977-1978-1979, New York Islanders 1980-1981-1982-1983), one team duplicating three year streaks (Toronto 1947-1948-1949 & 1962-1963-1964), and four squads posting one or more pairs (Detroit 1936-1937 & 1954-1955 & 1997-1998, Philadelphia 1974-1975, Edmonton 1984-1985 & 1987-1988, Pittsburgh 1991-1992 & 2016-2017).

The charts below describe these streaks by team, years, and vice versa.

Team                  Years
Montreal 1930-1931 (2), 1956-1957-1958-1959-1960 (5),

1965-1966 (2), 1968-1969 (2), 1976-1977-1978-1979 (4)
Detroit 1936-1937 (2), 1954-1955 (2), 1997-1998 (2)
Toronto 1947-1948-1949 (3), 1962-1963-1964 (3)
Philadelphia 1974-1975 (2)
New York** 1980-1981-1982-1983 (4)
Edmonton 1984-1985 (2), 1987-1988 (2)
Pittsburgh 1991-1992 (2), 2016-2017 (2)

Years                  Team
1930-1931 Montreal
1936-1937 Detroit
1947-1949 Toronto
1954-1955 Detroit
1956-1960 Montreal
1962-1964 Toronto
1965-1966 Montreal
1968-1969 Montreal
1974-1975 Philadelphia
1976-1979 Montreal 
1980-1983 New York**   
1984-1985 Edmonton     
1987-1988 Edmonton
1991-1992 Pittsburgh
1997-1998 Detroit
2016-2017 Pittsburgh

** New York Islanders

Prior to Pittsburgh turning the trick in 2017, Detroit was the last team to appear in consecutive Stanley Cup Finals (2008, 2009) when they rematched against Pittsburgh. Unfortunately for Detroit, they failed to defend their title. Fortunately for Pittsburgh, they spared themselves the shame of losing in consecutive Cup Finals.

The last team to win the Stanley Cup three times in a row was the New York Islanders, when they claimed it four times in the 1980s (1980-1983)
.

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

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Conn Smythe Trophy - Stanley Cup Playoff MVP

Moments before each Stanley Cup crowning the Conn Smythe Trophy is bestowed upon the Hockey Writers' selection of the postseason's best. First presented to Jean Beliveau in 1965, the honor dedicated to the Leaf legend has been handed out 54 times to 47 different players.

Typically finding a Stanley Cup champion (48 times) who is Canadian (46 times), the trophy has only found six Stanley Cup Final losers (Roger Crozier, Glenn Hall, Reggie Leach, Ron Hextall, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Tim Thomas) and eight non-frostbacks (Brian Leetch, Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Evgeni Malkin, Tim Thomas, Jonathan Quick, Patrick Kane, Alexander Ovechkin). That said, only 5 of the past 9 winners were Canadian (Justin Williams 2014, Duncan Keith 2015, Sidney Crosby 2016-2017, Ryan O'Reilly 2019) with the remaining four awarded to a Russian (Alexander Ovechkin 2018) and three Americans (Tim Thomas 2011, Jonathan Quick 2012, Patrick Kane 2013).

Positionally the award has been dominated by centers (19) and goalies (16), followed by defensemen (10), right wingers (6) and left siders (3). Only Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy has taken the trophy three times with the well-heeled five-some of Bobby Orr, Bernie Parent, Wayne GretzkyMario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby each taking it twice. Bernie Parent (1974, 1975), Mario Lemieux (1991, 1992) and Sidney Crosby (2016, 2017) are the only to win it in consecutive seasons.

On June 12th of 2019, O'Reilly became the 46th Canadian, 19th center and first St. Louis Blue to earn the honor. Tim Thomas is the eldest recipient of the award at age 37 (2011), while Patrick Roy remains the youngest at age 20 (1986).

2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Handshake Lines

The time-honored tradition of NHL playoff combatants shaking hands upon the conclusion of a series is among the greatest displays of sportsmanship in professional team sports today. Seconds after the horn sounds at the end of a series, players and coaches from both teams convene at center ice to celebrate each other's efforts.

The videos below capture the final moments of play in each series-ending game to date in the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs along with the ensuing traditional team handshake line, sorted by round and series end date.

FIRST ROUND

The Blue Jackets eliminated the Lightning in Game 4 on April 16, 2019.

The Islanders eliminated the Penguins in Game 4 on April 16, 2019.

The Avalanche eliminated the Flames in Game 5 on April 19, 2019.

The Blues eliminated the Jets in Game 6 on April 20, 2019. 

The Stars eliminated the Predators in Game 6 on April 22, 2019.

The Bruins eliminated the Leafs in Game 7 on April 23, 2019.

The Sharks eliminated the Golden Knights in Game 7 on April 23, 2019.

The Hurricanes eliminated the Capitals in Game 7 on April 24, 2019.

SECOND ROUND

The Hurricanes eliminated the Islanders in Game 4 on May 3, 2019.

The Bruins eliminated the Blue Jackets in Game 6 on May 6, 2019.

The Blues eliminated the Stars in Game 7 on May 7, 2019.

The Sharks eliminated the Avalanche in Game 7 on May 8, 2019.

THIRD ROUND

The Bruins eliminated the Hurricanes in Game 4 on May 16, 2019.

The Blues eliminated the Sharks in Game 6 on May 21, 2019.

STANLEY CUP FINAL

The Blues eliminated the Bruins in Game 7 on June 12, 2019.

In an age of results reigning over respect, it's encouraging to see such sportsmanship in professional sport, albeit with notable exceptions (Milan Lucic 2014), abstention (Martin Brodeur 2008Derek Boogaard 2007, Chris Chelios 2007Darren McCarty 1997, Ed Belfour 1995Billy Smith, Gerry Cheevers) and disdain (Dino Ciccarelli 1996) in recent years.

* See also 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Handshake Lines.
* See also 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Handshake Lines.
* See also 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Handshake Lines.
* See also 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Handshake Lines.
* See also 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Handshake Lines.
* See also 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Handshake Lines.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

NHL Stanley Cup Final Appearance Droughts

This week the Blues and Bruins qualified for the 2019 Stanley Cup Final erasing a Stanley Cup Final appearance drought of 47 and 5 seasons, respectively, while the NHL's other 29 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 
51         
Phoenix Coyotes*
39         
Never
New York Islanders
34         
Montreal Canadiens
25         
Florida Panthers
22         
Buffalo Sabres
19         
Winnipeg Jets**
19         
Never
Columbus Blue Jackets
18         
Never
Dallas Stars
18         
Minnesota Wild
18         
Never
Colorado Avalanche
17         
Calgary Flames
14         
Carolina Hurricanes
13         
Edmonton Oilers     
13         
Anaheim Ducks
12         
Ottawa Senators      
12         
Detroit Red Wings
10         
Philadelphia Flyers
9         
Vancouver Canucks
8         
New Jersey Devils
7         
Los Angeles Kings
5         
New York Rangers
5         
Chicago Blackhawks
4         
Tampa Bay Lightning
4         
San Jose Sharks
3         
Pittsburgh Penguins
2         
Nashville Predators
2         
Vegas Golden Knights
1         
Washington Capitals
1         
Boston Bruins
0         
St. Louis Blues
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 seasons with Toronto laying claim to the longest at 51 seasons, a streak that began prior to NHL expansion beyond its original six teams. Arguably worse is the fact that 4 of the 31 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 Golden Knights earning a Stanley Cup Final appearance in their inaugural season (2018).

In ten months the quest for the Cup continues for 16 of the 31 clubs 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, April 28, 2019

Battle of Alberta & NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

For the past four decades, the province of Alberta has hosted two NHL teams, the Edmonton Oilers (emigrating from the WHL in 1979) and the Calgary Flames (relocating from Atlanta in 1980). Separated by a mere 175 miles, these two franchises have forged one of the most intense rivalries in the game, playing hundreds of regular season games and five playoff series against each other, in what's known throughout the league as the "Battle of Alberta". The Oilers have qualified for the postseason 21 times, skating in the Cup Final seven times (1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990, 2006) and winning the Stanley Cup five times (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990). The Flames have skated in the playoffs 22 times, cracking the Cup Final three times (1986, 1989, 2004) and hoisting once (1989).

To put the early years of these fierce provincial foes in perspective, both teams made the playoffs each year from their inauguration through 1991, with one of them skating in the Stanley Cup Final for eight consecutive years (1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990) and winning it six times during that span, spilling oceans of blood en route.

There were dark times too. Edmonton missed the postseason 18 times (1993-1996, 2002, 2004, 2007-2016, 2018, 2019), including a NHL record 10 consecutive postseason absences (2007-2016). Calgary failed to qualify for the playoffs 15 times (1992, 1997-2003, 2010-2014, 2016, 2018). 

Both missed the same postseason eight times (2002, 2010-2014, 2016, 2018), including seven of the past nine playoffs. On the other hand, both qualified for the same postseason 13 times (1981-1991, 2006, 2017), though it's only happened twice in the past 26 seasons (2006, 2017).

In terms of head-to-head playoff matchups, the Alberta teams have locked horns five times (1983, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1991). Edmonton has won all but one such series (1986), owing to a spectacular Steve Smith own goal, with the winner reaching the Stanley Cup Final four times (1983, 1984, 1986, 1988) and hoisting twice (1984, 1988) after such affairs.

Regarding other NHL teams facing both Alberta squads in the same postseason, only the Winnipeg Jets (1985, 1987), Los Angeles Kings (1989, 1990) and Anaheim Ducks (2006, 2017) have done it. To date, only the 2017 Anaheim Ducks have won series against both Alberta teams in the same postseason. 

Interestingly, when both Alberta sides have played the same opponent in a postseason, the victor has advanced to the Stanley Cup Final every time (1985, 1987, 1989, 1990, 2006) but once (2017), hoisting the Cup all but twice (2006, 2017).

The last time Edmonton and Calgary both qualified for the postseason was 2017.  Neither made it past the opening round, falling to San Jose and Anaheim, respectively.

For the sake of NHL fans everywhere, let's hope this playoff rivalry is sparked again soon.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

NHL Consecutive Stanley Cup Losses

Since the Stanley Cup was dedicated to NHL's top team in 1926, only five franchises (Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red WingsMontreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues) have qualified for consecutive Cup Finals and lost each time.  

Nine times the losing streak was limited to two years though twice a three year streak struck (Toronto 1938-1940, St. Louis 1968-1970).  The charts below describe these streaks by team and years, and vice versa.

Team                  Years
Toronto 1935-1936 (2), 1938-1939-1940 (3), 1959-1960 (2),
Detroit 1941-1942 (2), 1948-1949 (2), 1963-1964 (2)
Montreal 1951-1952 (2), 1954-1955 (2)
Boston 1957-1958 (2), 1977-1978 (2)
St. Louis 1968-1969-1970 (3)

Years                  Team
1935-1936 Toronto
1938-1940 Toronto
1941-1942 Detroit
1948-1949 Detroit
1951-1952 Montreal
1954-1955 Montreal
1957-1958 Boston
1959-1960 Toronto
1963-1964 Detroit
1968-1970 St. Louis 
1977-1978 Boston

In 2016, the Tampa Bay Lightning fell one game short of returning to the Stanley Cup Final for their second consecutive year.  Had they qualified and lost to their western conference counterpart, they would have become the sixth franchise on this inglorious list.

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

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      
22     
Toronto
14     
Buffalo
12     
Vancouver
8     
Arizona     
7     
New Jersey
7     
Philadelphia
7     
Detroit
6     
Los Angeles
5     
Calgary
4     
Chicago
4     
Minnesota
4     
Montreal
4     
Anaheim
2     
Edmonton
2     
New York^
2     
Ottawa
2     
Nashville
1     
Pittsburgh
1     
Tampa Bay
1     
Vegas
1     
Washington
1     
Winnipeg
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 22 seasons separating them from a postseason series win. This postseason was special for the Columbus Blue Jackets who won the first playoff series of their 19 year existence sweeping the Presidents' Trophy winning Tampa Bay Lightning. Last year's postseason was special for the Winnipeg Jets (formerly Atlanta Thrashers), as they 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, all 7 Canadian teams (Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, Edmonton, Ottawa, Winnipeg) find themselves on the list. Unfortunately for the hockey-crazed nation, their teams also rank high on the Stanley Cup Championship drought lists, with 26 years separating the country from its last Cup win (Montreal 1993).

Of the eight teams advancing to the second round of the 2019 Playoffs, two (Boston, San Jose) won at least one playoff series last year. None of the others (Carolina, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, New York Islanders, St. Louis) won a series in the 2018 Playoffs. In fact, four of them didn't even qualify for last year's playoff (Carolina, Dallas, New York Islanders, St. Louis).

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.