Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Most Playoff Appearances -- NHL Teams

This is the 4th and final part of a series that began yesterday with the NFL. I had considered doing it for MLS and the WNBA, but decided against it.

As one of the incorrectly, but semantically correctly, named "Original Six" franchises of the National Hockey League, the New York Rangers -- known on this site as The Scum -- are one of the leaders on this list. But the New Jersey Devils have done pretty well on it as well. So have the New York Islanders -- although not lately.

From 1942-43 to 1966-67, 4 of the NHL's 6 teams made the Playoffs. From 1967-68 to 1969-70, it was 8 out of 12. From 1979-80 to 1990-91, it was a whopping 16 out of 21. You had to be really bad to not make it -- as the Colorado Rockies/New Jersey Devils were for most of that period. In 1991, the Minnesota North Stars made the Finals with a losing record. Today, it's 16 out of 30, still a pretty good percentage.

This makes the total times a team has reached the Playoffs much bigger than it would be in MLB and the NFL. And the amount of franchise relocations in the NHL makes the proportions much smaller as well. Indeed, while the Yankees lead MLB by making the Playoffs, on the average, every 2.14 seasons, 5 NFL teams can beat that, and fully 4/5 of the NBA does. And the Montreal Canadiens make even the Yankees, Celtics and Lakers look lazy.

1 Montreal Canadiens 82
2 Boston Bruins 66
3 Toronto Maple Leafs 64
4 Detroit Red Wings 59
5 Chicago Blackhawks 56
6 New York Rangers 53
7 Philadelphia Flyers 35
8 St. Louis Blues 35
9 Buffalo Sabres 29
Flames combined 29
North Stars/Stars combined 29
10 Calgary Flames 26
Nordiques/Avalanche combined 26
11 Pittsburgh Penguins 26
12 Edmonton Oilers 25
13 Los Angeles Kings 25
14 Vancouver Canucks 24
15 Washington Capitals 22
Scouts/Rockies/Devils combined 21
16 New York Islanders 21
Whalers/Hurricanes combined 20
17 New Jersey Devils 20
Jets/Coyotes combined 17
Both sets of Jets combined 17
18 San Jose Sharks 14
19 Colorado Avalanche 12
20 Dallas Stars 12
21 Ottawa Senators 12
22 Anaheim Ducks 8
23 Phoenix Coyotes 7
24 Nashville Predators 6
25 Tampa Bay Lightning 6
26 Carolina Hurricanes 5
27 Florida Panthers 3
28 Minnesota Wild 3
29 Columbus Blue Jackets 1
Thrashers/Jets combined 1
30 Winnipeg Jets 0

Here's the proportions. The first column to the right of the team is the number of times they've made the Playoffs. The next is their number of seasons. The last is, on the average, every how many years they make the Playoffs. This chart would have seriously favored the Isles up until 1987, and would have been rather kind them even as recently as 1995. No longer: Both the Rangers and, especially, the Devils are well ahead of them.

1 Calgary Flames 26 30 1.15
2 Philadelphia Flyers 35 43 1.23
3 St. Louis Blues 35 43 1.23
4 Montreal Canadiens 82 102 1.24
5 Colorado Avalanche 12 15 1.25
6 Boston Bruins 66 86 1.30
Flames combined 29 38 1.31
7 San Jose Sharks 14 19 1.36
8 Buffalo Sabres 29 40 1.38
Both sets of Jets combined 17 24 1.41
9 Dallas Stars 12 17 1.42
10 Detroit Red Wings 59 84 1.42
11 New Jersey Devils 20 29 1.45
12 Toronto Maple Leafs 64 93 1.45
Nordiques/Avalanche combined 26 38 1.46
North Stars/Stars combined 29 43 1.48
13 Chicago Blackhawks 56 84 1.50
14 Ottawa Senators 12 18 1.50
15 Edmonton Oilers 25 38 1.52
16 New York Rangers 53 84 1.58
17 Washington Capitals 22 36 1.64
18 Pittsburgh Penguins 26 43 1.65
19 Vancouver Canucks 24 40 1.67
Scouts/Rockies/Devils combined 21 36 1.71
20 Los Angeles Kings 25 43 1.72
21 New York Islanders 21 38 1.81
Whalers/Hurricanes combined 20 38 1.90
22 Nashville Predators 6 12 2.00
23 Phoenix Coyotes 7 14 2.00
24 Anaheim Ducks 8 17 2.13
Jets/Coyotes combined 17 38 2.24
25 Carolina Hurricanes 5 13 2.60
26 Tampa Bay Lightning 6 18 3.00
27 Minnesota Wild 3 10 3.33
28 Florida Panthers 3 17 5.67
29 Columbus Blue Jackets 1 10 10.00
Thrashers/Jets combined 1 11 11.00
30 Winnipeg Jets 0 0 0.00

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