You don’t need to win three or four championships in a row to be considered a dynasty, but you do have to win multiple times over a short span and stay competitive in between. The Kings and Hawks are on the verge of qualifying as a dynasty, so who will get it first?
What makes a dynasty in today’s NHL?
It’s a conversation we’ve had more than a few times. What are the criteria to qualify as a dynasty in the modern, 30-team NHL? The days of winning three or four consecutive championships are long past. Heck, the Oilers never even won three in a row.
Of course, you still have to win the Stanley Cup to be considered a dynasty. The San Jose Sharks, who have eclipsed 100 points seven times in the past 10 seasons and qualified for three conference finals, are not even close. But at the same time, when you look at the elite teams of today, we have to do more than compare them to the legendary Edmonton Oilers or New York Islanders or Montreal Canadiens, because the definition of dynasty in sports has changed.
You don’t need to win four in a row to qualify for this haughty status, but you do need to win multiple championships in a short time frame and stay consistently dominant for a long duration. The last dynasty were the Detroit Red Wings, who over 14 seasons won four Cups, lost in the final twice and were eliminated in the conference final twice. They won those four Cups in an 11-year span – so even calling those Wings a dynasty can be a contentious point.
Reaching dynasty status has become a more difficult goal to achieve with 30 teams and a salary cap, but in redefining what a dynasty is in modern days, you also don’t want to make it too easy to achieve. We don’t want to be proclaiming a new entrant to the club every five years.
But we have two teams on the verge of qualifying as a dynasty in 2014-15: Los Angeles and Chicago. A championship for either would be their third in a short time span (three in six years for Chicago, potentially three in four years for Los Angeles) – and there’s no sign either will suddenly slow down after 2015. Really, would anyone be surprised if these teams combined for, say, six Cups in the next eight years?
And that’s just it: both Chicago and L.A. are built to keep winning well beyond next season. They have solid cores, a wave of young players ready or soon-to-be ready to jump in with cap-friendly contracts, reliable goalies, elite veteran coaches and two of the smartest front offices in the league. Even if neither team wins the Cup next season they’ll still be in a position to push for dynasty status in 2016. Chicago could win three in seven years, while Los Angeles could win three in five years.
They’ve also been rock-solid when they haven’t won the Cup. Los Angeles made it to the conference final last year, while Chicago made it there this year. Considering how good the two teams have been in the years they didn’t get the Cup, they could win three times in seven years and still be dynastic.
Both will return as strong as ever in 2014-15 and the race will be on. It only seems a matter of time until one of these powerhouses will earn it.
So who will make up the next NHL dynasty: Los Angeles or Chicago? After 2014, next championship wins.
Down the stretch they come.