NHL: Power Ranking the Last 20 Stanley Cup Champions
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The Chicago Blackhawks won their second Stanley Cup in four years this season in a thrilling six-game series.
As we head into the NHL offseason, here is a look at the last 20 Stanley Cup winners ranked in order of greatness.
Keep in mind that each individual season is being rated separately. How a team did during the regular season, how dominant they were during the playoffs and the overall talent on the roster are the biggest three factors in determining this order.
Feel free to chime in as to why you think a team belongs higher or lower on this list, but please indicate why you feel your team deserves a better ranking.
20. 1995 New Jersey Devils
It's tough to assess the 1994-95 New Jersey Devils. They were the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference during the 48-game lockout-shortened season, but they still managed to win the Stanley Cup by sweeping a heavily favored Detroit Red Wings team that had won the President's Trophy.
The season before, New Jersey has come within a double-overtime goal by Stephane Matteau of reaching the Stanley Cup Final, but during the 1995 season, they finished only four games over .500.
There is plenty of talent on this team, starting with Martin Brodeur, Conn Smythe Trophy winner Claude Lemiuex, Scott Stevens, John MacLean, Stephane Richer and Ken Daneyko.
Still, the club's poor regular-season record and the lockout-shortened season lower this team in the minds of many critics.
19. 2012 Los Angeles Kings
The Los Angeles Kings made history in 2012 by becoming the first eighth-seeded team to win the Stanley Cup. It was also the first championship for the Kings franchise, which joined the NHL back in 1967.
The Kings struggled to score goals during most of the regular season, but the offense picked up a bit after Jeff Carter was acquired at the trade deadline from Columbus.
Goalie Jonathan Quick gave the Kings superb goaltending throughout the season and playoffs. Los Angeles also had a big team that played a physical style that wore down opponents.
The Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils in six games to win the Stanley Cup. Quick was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner. Other key contributors to the title include Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Mike Richards, Drew Doughty and Justin Williams.
18. 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning won their first Stanley Cup and the last title in the "Dead Puck Era," which came to an end after the lockout canceled the entire 2004-05 season.
John Tortorella's club edged the Calgary Flames in seven games to win the Cup. However, the Flames outscored the Bolts in the series, 14-13. Brad Richards won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, while Ruslan Fedotenko scored the Cup-winning goal.
Other key players on that Lightning club included Martin St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier, Dave Andreychuk, Dan Boyle, Cory Stillman and goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.
17. 1993 Montreal Canadiens
The 1993 Montreal Canadiens finished in third place in their own division that year, but surprised a lot of people by winning their 24th (and most recent) Stanley Cup.
The Habs downed the Los Angeles Kings in five games to win the Cup. Los Angeles held a 1-0 series lead and a one-goal lead in Game 2 when Marty McSorley was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for using an illegal stick. Montreal tied the game and then won it in overtime to even the series. It did not lose another game.
Goalie Patrick Roy won his second Conn Smythe Trophy to lead the Canadiens to victory.
The Habs won 10 straight games in overtime during the 1993 playoffs after dropping their first overtime game of the postseason.
Other key players on Jacques Demers' club include Vincent Damphousse, Kirk Muller, Mike Keane and Denis Savard.
16. 1997 Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings swept the Philadelphia Flyers to win their first Stanley Cup title since 1955 when Gordie Howe and Alex Delvecchio were among their star players. Goalie Mike Vernon took home the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Other key players in the Wings' first championship in 42 years included Sergei Fedorov, Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Nicklas Lidstrom and Joey Kocur.
Coach Scotty Bowman won the Stanley Cup with his third different club, having previously led the Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins to titles.
15. 2006 Carolina Hurricanes
The Carolina Hurricanes won their first Stanley Cup in 2006. It was their first championship since they won a WHA title in 1973 as the New England Whalers.
Carolina's title was the first in the "new NHL," which came into being after the league introduced rule changes to open up the game.
The 'Canes won the Southeast Division 112 points, good enough to earn them the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Leaders on this club included Eric Staal, Rod Brind'Amour, Corey Stillman, Erik Cole, Justin Williams and late-season addition Doug Weight.
Goalie Cam Ward won the Conn Smythe Trophy as a rookie.
14. 1996 Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in their first season in Denver. A year earlier, the club was known as the Quebec Nordiques.
Big defenseman Uwe Krupp scored the winning goal in Game 4 of Colorado's sweep of the Florida Panthers. Joe Sakic won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
The Avs finished the season with 104 points, good for the Pacific Division title and the second seed in the Western Conference.
Other key players on this club included goalie Patrick Roy, Peter Forsberg, Claude Lemieux, Valeri Kamensky and Adam Deadmarsh.
13. 1998 Detroit Red Wings
The 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings remain the last team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. Their celebration also featured one of the most moving moments in NHL history as former Wings defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov was handed the Cup by his former teammates while sitting in his wheelchair.
The Red Wings swept the Washington Capitals to clinch their second straight championship. Steve Yzerman was named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Other star players on this Detroit team included Brendan Shanahan, Nicklas Lidstrom, Larry Murphy, Slava Kozlov, Darren McCarty and goalie Chris Osgood.
12. 2007 Anaheim Ducks
The 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks became the first California-based NHL team to win the Stanley Cup.
Randy Carlyle's team finished the regular season with 110 points, good for the second seed in the Western Conference.
The Ducks featured a pair of outstanding defensemen in Chris Pronger and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Scott Niedermayer.
Goalie J.S. Giguere played outstanding in goal, leading Anaheim to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in five years.
Up front, the Anaheim attack was led by sniper Teemu Selanne, Chris Kunitz, Andy McDonald, Dustin Penner and Ryan Getzlaf.
The Ducks defeated the Ottawa Senators in five games to win their first Stanley Cup.
11. 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins
The Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup in a rematch of the previous year's final with the Detroit Red Wings.
The Pens won the series in seven games, clinching Game 7 in Detroit by a 2-1 margin. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made a huge save in the dying seconds to clinch the win.
Pittsburgh was struggling midway through the season when the club replaced coach Michel Therrien with Dan Bylsma. The Pens went 18-3-4 the rest of the way and went on to win their first championship since 1992.
Key players on this team included Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Miro Satan, Jordan Staal, Matt Cooke and Sergei Gonchar.
Malkin was voted the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP.
10. 1999 Dallas Stars
Should it have counted or not? More than a decade later, that question still hangs over the Cup-clinching goal scored by Brett Hull in double overtime that gave the 1998-99 Dallas Stars a championship. Sabres fans still contend Hull's skate was in the crease before the puck and the goal should have been disallowed.
Still, nothing can take away from the excellence of that Dallas club that included Conn Smythe Trophy winner, Joe Nieuwendyk.
The Stars won the President's Trophy that season and were favored to win the franchise's first title.
Star players on the Stars that year included Nieuwendyk, Hull, Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen, defenseman Sergei Zubov and goalie Ed Belfour.
9. 2010 Chicago Blackhawks
A "phantom goal" by Patrick Kane at 4:06 of overtime in Game 6 clinched the first Stanley Cup championship for the Blackhawks since the Kennedy Administration (1961).
The Blackhawks finished the season with 112 points. Kane led the club with 30 goals but five other players scored more than 20 during the season, giving Chicago a balanced attack.
Key players for the Blackhawks in 2010 included Kane, Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, Brian Campbell, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp and goalie Antti Niemi.
Toews won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
Hossa finally won a Stanley Cup after appearing in the finals for the third straight season with his 3rd different club.
After winning the Cup, the Blackhawks had to break up their club, trading away many of their supporting cast to get under the salary cap. But they kept the core players together and made another title run in 2013.
8. 2000 New Jersey Devils
The New Jersey Devils won their second Stanley Cup championship in 2000 after defeating the defending champion Dallas Stars in the final round.
Captain Scott Stevens won the Conn Smythe Trophy for the Devils who began the playoffs as the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference.
Other key players on this team include Future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur, Claude Lemieux, Scott Gomez, Scott Niedermayer, Bobby Holik and Ken Daneyko.
While the Devils are best remembered for their defense, they actually finished 2nd in the league with 251 goals scored during the regular season.
7. 2003 New Jersey Devils
The New Jersey Devils won their third Stanley Cup title in nine years by defeating the Anaheim Ducks in seven games in the final. J.S. Giguere, the goalie of the losing team, won the Conn Smythe Trophy that year, the first time a non-winning player had won the award since 1987.
The Devils won with defense, led by goalie Martin Brodeur. They tied for the league lead in goals against, allowing just 166 goals in 82 games. Key defensemen on the roster included Scott Stevens, Brian Rafalski and Scott Niedermayer.
Pat Burns coached the Devils to a title after a 108-point regular season. Other key players on this title-winning club included Patrik Elias, Scott Gomez, Jamie Langenbrunner, Joe Nieuwendyk and John Madden.
6. 2001 Colorado Avalanche
The 2000-01 Colorado Avalanche won the franchise's second Stanley Cup after winning the President's Trophy with 118 points.
Joe Sakic was second in the league with 118 points while Peter Forsberg added 89 points to tie for ninth.
The Avs beat the Devils in a thrilling seven-game final series. Goalie Patrick Roy won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
Other significant players on this championship team include Milan Hejduk, Chris Drury, Alex Tanguay and Adam Foote.
This series is best remembered for defenseman Ray Bourque who won the only Stanley Cup of his Hall of Fame career in the last NHL game he played.
5. 2008 Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings finished a strong regular season with 115 points to win the President's Trophy, then went on to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games to win the Stanley Cup. Henrik Zetterberg won the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs.
In addition to Zetterberg, key performers on Mike Babcock's club included Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom, Brian Rafalski.
Goalie Chris Osgood split time during the regular season with Dominik Hasek. When Hasek had a shaky start to the playoffs, Osgood took over the played well enough in goal to lead the Wings to a title.
Detroit would return to the Stanley Cup Final the following season and face the Penguins again, but Pittsburgh won the rematch.
4. 2011 Boston Bruins
The 2010-11 Boston Bruins finished the season with 103 points and then went on to win their first Stanley Cup since 1972 by defeating the Vancouver Canucks in seven games.
The Bruins rolled four lines at you and played an aggressive forecheck which often tired out opponents over the course of a game.
Players like Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron personified the hard-working, physical style of play that the Bruins excelled at. Captain Zdeno Chara led the defense, while goalie Tim Thomas won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs.
Veteran Mark Recchi contributed to the Bruins' victory at 42 and then announced his retirement. Recchi provided veteran leadership to a roster filled with mostly younger players.
3. 1994 New York Rangers
The New York Rangers ended a 54-year Stanley Cup drought on June 14, 1994, at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers edged the Canucks 3-2 in the 7th and deciding game to win the their first title since 1940.
Brian Leetch became the first ever American-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy after scoring 34 points in 23 playoff games.
The Rangers won the President's Trophy for the second time in three seasons and breezed through the first two rounds of the playoffs. They trailed the Devils, 3-2, in the Eastern Conference Final when captain Mark Messier guaranteed a win in Game 6 at New Jersey.
Messier delivered, scoring three goals and adding an assist in a 4-2 comeback win. The Rangers then won Game 7 in double overtime on Stephane Matteau's historic goal.
Other key players on the championship team include Adam Graves, Sergei Zubov, Alexei Kovalev, Jeff Beukeboom and Mike Richter.
2. 2013 Chicago Blackhawks
The 2012-13 Blackhawks got off to the best start in NHL history, picking up at least a point in their first 24 games of the season (21-0-3).
Chicago went on to win the President's Trophy with the league's best record as coach Joel Quenneville never led the team rest on its laurels.
By the end of the season, the club was second in the league in goals scored and first in goals allowed.
The Blackhawks faced and overcame a 3-1 series deficit against Detroit in the 2nd round of the playoffs, but rallied to win three straight and advance to the next round.
In the Stanley Cup Final, the Blackhawks defeated the Bruins in a hard-fought, six-game series that saw three games go into overtime.
Patrick Kane won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. Other star players on the Blackhawks include goalie Corey Crawford, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa, Brent Seabrook and Patrick Sharp.
1. 2002 Detroit Red Wings
The 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings had one of the deepest collections of talent of any team in NHL history.
Among the current or potential Hall of Famers on the roster were Brett Hull, Sergei Fedorov, Brendan Shanahan, Luc Robitaille, Steve Yzerman, Chris Chelios, Pavel Datsyuk and Dominik Hasek.
Detroit finished the regular season with a league-best 116 points and went on to defeat the upstart Carolina Hurricanes to win the Stanley Cup. Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
Add coach Scotty Bowman, arguably the most successful coach in NHL history, to the list and you have the makings of one of the league's best all-time teams.