Ranking of NHL Teams Over the Last 10 Years.

This article is a ranking of all NHL teams relative to each other over the last 10 years.

 

The methodology is very simple. Making the playoffs is 20 points. Winning the Conference is 30 points. Winning the Cup is 50 points. A grand total of 100 points is awarded to a Cup winning team in a particular season. The points are added up over the last 10 seasons and all 30 NHL teams are ranked based on their last 10 seasons of performance relative to each other.

 

I will quietly sneak this article into our Statistics classification and hope no one notices that it is really not a complicated statistical calculation.

 

First a little Q & A on the methodology and why I am doing the article in the first place as a Flames writer, all that after the jump, along with the ranking.

(1) Why 10 seasons? 

A: 10 years ago for the 2000-01 season the NHL added the 29th and 30th franchises (the Wild and Blue Jackets) – this means all franchises have the exact same window of time to be evaluated on, without getting into any pro-ration or other calculations.

 

(2) How can you publish this article now? The Cup winner isn’t known yet.

Only two teams will be adjusted relative to all other teams after the Cup Final and I’ll update the article at that time. For now it gives a strong indication for most teams where they rank relatively speaking.

 

(3) Hey, I’m a < X team > fan and you cut off all our glory years making the playoffs and going to the Cup final in < X year(s) > we would rank higher if you included this.

 

A: True, but this is the issue you always face when ranking franchises relative to each other over years. The Toronto Maple Leafs always raise their original six era Stanley Cups in defense of the glory of their franchise and this tendency is also what lead me to do this article as a Flames writer in the first place. Am I guilty of this same "glory days" mentality myself? Leading to the next question.

 

(4) Do the Flames suck? (no team really sucks – but who has really had relative success over the last 10 years? That is the question)

 

A: As a recent addition to the M&G crew one of the things that surprised me was the sharp words M&G posters often have for the Flames – not that they are not often well-deserved and well argued but how do the Flames really rank today relative to other teams? What is the fair comment relatively speaking?

I may be guilty of having the homer glasses on for the Flames. I grew up as a little kid sitting close to the glass watching a great Flames team face the greatest hockey team of all time – the dynasty Oilers. I have this foundation of belief at my core that the Flames are a solid team in the NHL and always have been, despite the ups and downs. Not elite but certainly not sucking. 

 

I have been prompted to do this entire article because I want to personally know, on a level playing field, how the Flames truly measure up over just the last 10 seasons – excluding those elite years in the 80s. This methodology encompasses 5 seasons of the Flames missing the playoffs out of ten seasons (including this year) and should allow a fair answer to the comments of many sharp tongued Flames posters that the Flames are "terrible".

 

Are they really, relatively speaking?

 

 (5) Why don’t you include the President’s Trophy for additional points in your methodology?

I personally think the President’s Trophy means nothing more than the guarantee of home ice in the playoffs and that it is in no way an indication of a successful season. I think last years Washington Capitals and numerous other winners who do not find playoff success will agree.

 

I did give it consideration because I knew it would come up. I talked to or e-mailed several friends who are long time hockey fans.

 

I put the question in an extreme way. If you could win the Presidents trophy every single year for a hundred years or one Stanley Cup, which would it be? The answer was a 100% and as a hockey fan you know what it is too - The Stanley Cup.

 

The Stanley Cup is the center of everything in hockey, the only bar for hockey fans for meaningful success and ranking. It towers over all other classifications, rankings, trophies and awards. It does so to such a degree that sports announcers in other sports are often amused that hockey players often do not want to even touch the President’s Trophy, or the Prince of Wales Trophy or the Clarence Campbell Bowl.

 

(6) Why don’t you give points for winning Division titles?

Same reason I don’t for the President’s Trophy. Division titles don’t really mean anything aside for some degree of home ice advantage in the playoffs.

 

The strength of the teams in Divisions can also fluctuate a lot. Using last year as an example - the Washington Capitals cruised to the SE Division title (and the President’s Trophy) but they were in the weakest Division in the NHL last year.

 

The schedule gives extra games to Division teams and if a team piles up points in a weak Division or loses points because it is playing in the toughest Division – either way it is best to just avoid the debate. What matters is making the playoffs and that is where the line is drawn.

 

Couple Notes:

 

Division Winners, President Trophy winners etc - once again the only thing that really matters in hockey is The Stanley Cup.

 

I don’t award 30 points really for winning the Conference Title; I award 30 points for playing in the Cup Final another 50 points for winning it. I award 20 points not for "winning in the regular season" but 20 points for earning the right to play for the Stanley Cup by making the playoffs. My methodology is completely Cup Centric.

 

Other sports might be different. I think winning a Pennant in Baseball means something to baseball fans even if they don’t win the World Series. The term "Final Four" is a basketball term that gives an indication that the final four teams are a measure of success in basketball but in hockey it is only the final two who play in the Cup Final that matter.

 

Do most hockey fans even remember when their team lost in a Conference Final after 5 years have passed? I don’t, I could look up Flames playoff history I guess but the fact is I don’t care.

 

In hockey all that is remembered is the Cup Final. 7 years later Flames fans still talk about the 2004 Cup final they lost. 17 years later Canuck fans still talk about the 1994 Cup final they lost – no one dwells or cares about those second or third round playoff losses.

 

 Without further adieu here is the 10-year ranking of all NHL teams relative to each other.

Rank

Team

Cups

(50 Pts)

Cup Final

(30 Pts)

Playoffs

(20 Pts)

Total Points

1

DET

2

3

10

390

2

NJD

1

2

9

290

3

PIT

1

2

6

230

3

ANA

1

2

6

230

5

COL

1

1

7

220

6

PHI

0

1

9

210

7

OTT

0

1

8

190

7

CAR

1

2

4

190

9

SJS

0

0

9

180

9

TBL

1

1

5

180

11

VAN

0

0

8

160

11

CHI

1

1

4

160

13

MON

0

0

7

140

13

BOS

0

0

7

140

15

CGY

0

1

5

130

16

WAS

0

0

6

120

16

DAL

0

0

6

120

16

NAS

0

0

6

120

19

STL

0

0

5

100

19

BUF

0

0

5

100

19

NYR

0

0

5

100

22

EDM

0

1

3

90

23

TOR

0

0

4

80

23

NYI

0

0

4

80

23

LAK

0

0

4

80

26

PHO

0

0

3

60

26

MIN

0

0

3

60

28

ATL

0

0

1

20

28

CBJ

0

0

1

20

30

FLO

0

0

0

0

 

Conclusion: The Calgary Flames over the last 10 seasons are the statistical median of the NHL, not elite but exactly in the middle. 

Everything is relative. The Flames can be a lot better but they could also be a lot worse… Don’t believe the hype of them being terrible – it simply isn’t true relatively speaking over the last decade.

 

Final Comments for Flames fans

 

A lot of people are extremely down on the Flames lately seeing them on a one-way path off a cliff based on the information they have at the moment but the fact is things can change relatively fast in hockey.

 

Late bloomers like Mark Giordano happen. One-sided trades like the Kipper trade can happen. The Flames indisputably lost all three trades they made last season and this weakened the team but they recovered with excellent off-season moves, moves that were mocked by the entire hockey world. Getting Alex Tanguay back, giving Tim Jackman a two-year deal instead of a one-year deal, picking up an old center named Brendan Morrison and yes, even the much mocked Olli Jokinen re-singing turned out all right.

 

The Flames for a decade have always been that mid-level team looking for that final big tweak to take them into the top. Historically, even if you go back 30 years and average that elite 80s Flames team with the ‘young gun bust era’ of the 90s, overall you have a team that sits historically right in the middle of the pack. That is just the facts. As bad as you may think it is for the Flames, it really isn’t relatively speaking…

Things are all unicorns and butterflies up the road now in the Edmonton at the moment about their future, while some Flames fans hang their heads about the future. We will see how that turns out for Edmonton Oiler fans, they might want to get on the phone to Islanders, Thrashers or Panthers fans to see how they feel about their rebuilds - 10 years later all those fans are still waiting...

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