The only thing that counts in arguing which NFL team is a better franchise is Super Bowl wins. That’s all that matters to fans. We always laugh at the Vikings or Lions fans in the bar when they brings up their NFL Championship trophies from the pre-merger era, those don’t count. But if those titles don’t count, then why do we count the Stanley Cups from the NHL’s pre-expansion era? The NHL went from 6 teams to 12, a higher percentage than when the NFL and AFL became one league and jumped from 13 teams to 23 for the start of the 1966 season. When discussing meaningless championships, look no further than the Stanley Cups wins before the NHL’s 1967, six team expansion.
The original six-era was basically a carousel, all you had to do is wait and it would eventually spin your way. Every team had a shot at the Cup every year and the teams took turns winning it. Toronto, Montreal and Detroit took way more turns than New York, Chicago and Boston but that’s beside the point. Even the bad teams could get lucky and win, especially when you’re only going against five opponents. What I’m asking all of you do is forget about those original six-era titles and simply focus on championships after the 1967/68 season. Let’s take a look at the number of Cups per team after expansion.
Montreal Canadiens: 10 titles. Hey Montreal you’re still top dog! You lost 14 titles but are still on top. It’s insane how good this franchise has been despite not winning in a generation.
Penguins and Oilers: 5 titles each. These two teams have been great since expansion. Pens have won thanks to the Lemieux and Crosby-eras and Edmonton won 5 with the great Wayne Gretzky.
Islanders and Red Wings: 4 each. Islanders were the team of the early 80s and the Wings were the NHL’s crown jewel in the late-90s and 2000s.
Hawks, Bruins, Devils: 3 each.
Kings, Avs, Flyers: 2 each.
Ducks, Flames, Hurricanes, Stars, Rangers and Lighting: 1 each.
The Leafs unfortunately went from 13 to zero without their pre-expansion Cups. The original Ottawa Senators also won 11 titles before 1934 while the current Sens have not won a Cup since their creation in 1992. Vancouver hasn’t won a Cup after expansion either, but they didn’t have one before. I just put that in because it’s funny.