When you look at all pro sports every league has a dynasty. Some dynasties are perceived in their own unique way. Football has the New England Patriots of the NFL and Notre Dame of NCAA. Basketball has the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA. Of course baseball has the most obvious and most prolific dynasty of all, the New York Yankees. These are still teams that made history then and still make history now. Notice that I didn’t mention hockey’s list of dynasties yet. That is because the NHL does not have any teams that have made as much history now as they have in the past. Sure you can proclaim that the Montreal Canadiens are a dynasty, but not to the modern fan. The Canadiens last won the Stanley Cup in 1993 and that is 19 years ago to the time I’m conjuring up this article. Since this a hockey article lets stay on topic, I will tell you the best nominees to make the dynasty status in the NHL and I will also tell you the reasons why they are not a dynasty.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have made successful history in the past and also just a few years back in 2009 when they won their third Stanley Cup. Between the late 1990’s and the 2004-2005 lockout the Penguins were facing much difficulties on the ice and in the bookkeeping records. First the team was starting to show disappointing seasons after back to back Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992. Mario Lemiuex and Jaromir Jagr were still performing well but they didn’t have the Championship caliber team they did before, Jagr was still performing well but Lemieux had startling heart problems. An athlete at his most peak physical condition shouldn’t have an abnormal heart beat but yet it came down on him forcing him to retire in 1997. Meanwhile Jagr was still posting unbelievable offensive totals but there wasn’t any playoff success for his team during Lemieux’s absence between 1997 and 2000. Lemieux did come out of retirement and barely pushed his team through into the playoffs during the 2000-2001 season. Jagr was already traded at that point and he too led his own team back into the playoffs which at the time was the Washington Capitals. Nothing became of that glorious comeback season and once again the Penguins fell towards hard times.
In the 2003-2004 season, the Penguins filed for bankruptcy protection during their worst season in franchise history. Lemieux was gone most of the season due to the recurring heart problem and the team played absolutely lousy finishing dead last by far in the entire league. The lockout happened and then things got better very fast for the organization. With the number one draft picks they acquired, they took the NHL by storm and developed into a modern day NHL phenom by posting winning records and eventually winning the Stanley Cup in 2009.
The Detroit Red Wings hold the record in all pro sports in entering the playoffs for 21 consecutive seasons dating back to 1991. Because of their winning ways they are known as hockeytown and gained supreme respect from teams and even fans all over. During their unbelievable playoff streak, they won the Stanley Cup four times including back to back cups in 1997 and 1998. Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Kris Draper, Niklas Lidstrom and company stuck around for all those years winning cups and building their legendary status. Only in 2008 is when Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan didn’t win the cup with that edition of the team. Because of their unheralded drafting capabilities, they found Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg in the 6th and 7th rounds respectively in the NHL draft. Both Datsyuk and Zetterberg led the charge to winning the 2008 Stanley Cup and they were the ones responsible for keeping the playoff streak alive after Yzerman retired. You may think that this team sounds like a dynasty but the amount of time of them winning the cup between 2002 and 2008 is too big of a distance to be recognized as a clear dynasty plus they have achieved little since the Stanley Cup final run in 2009 when they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The final team on my nominee list to be in the near dynasty category was a difficult choice because they are so many teams that hover on the same amount of success of one another. My final nominee is the New Jersey Devils. The reason why I picked New Jersey over the Colorado Avalanche, Chicago Blackhawks and the Dallas Stars is because the Devils had some form of success in both the pre-lockout and post-lockout era’s unlike the other three teams that only had Stanley Cup appearances in just one of those era’s. The Devils won the Stanley Cup three times since 1995 and appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2012 and Martin Brodeur was in net for all of those Stanley Cup Final appearances and victories. The Devils had a supreme defense of Scott Niedermayer, Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko manning the point. The Devils didn’t really have superstar forwards like the Penguins and the Red Wings had but they played a defensive-minded, consistently sound game wearing down opponents with their defensive and goaltending prowess. They always had excellent coaching with Jacques Lemaire, Lou Lamieriello, Pat Burns and most recently Peter Deboer behinf the bench. It tells you how good they seek talent year after year in the personnel department and it goes to show how it translates into winning teams. Even after all those times they won Lord Stanley’s Cup the average attendance after all those years was just 16,000 people, oh well their legacy remains.