James Mirtle had the great idea of doing a statistical run-down of the top teams of the past decade. I'm actually using the 1999-2000 season through the beginning of this season, with adjustments if any of the teams have moved up and down the list. Without further ado, here are the winningest teams of the last decade:
The top two teams are no surprise: six of the last nine Stanley Cup finals featured Detroit or New Jersey, and they each won two cups. Both teams made the playoffs every single year. But the next three teams have had mixed playoff success: Ottawa and Dallas each lost one cup, and San Jose's playoff performance has been well short of expectations. On the other hand, Carolina, Anaheim and Pittsburgh won the other three cups and were runners-up in three others despite having losing records over the last decade. As they say: "flags fly forever" - sustained good teams are no substitute for one or two exceptional seasons sandwiched between mediocrity.
I don't actually find "wins" to be the best indicator of team performance, especially with extra points flying all over the place and rules changing from year-to-year. So let's look at regulation winning percentage instead:
We have the same five teams, with teams 2-5 switching spots. Philadelphia and Colorado are a distant 6th and 7th and haven't caught this group in 2009-10. Surprisingly, the Toronto Maple Leafs were 9th overall.
And what about the bottom of the league?
Perhaps the only surprise is the Chicago Blackhawks - in a few weeks, they'll have passed the Florida Panthers for 25th place overall. But Hawks fans will surely remember that they had six coaches and just one playoff win in eight seasons.
Next time: a look at shooting, and perhaps more evidence for the genius of Jacques Lemaire.