When the NHL Draft Lottery (Phase 1) produced a placeholder at the top of the draw, the handwringing began immediately: What if, in this year from outer space, an already-awesome team has a hiccup in the qualifying round, enters Phase 2 of the lottery and winds up with the No. 1 pick?
Of course, should a high-seeded squad like the Pittsburgh Penguins or Edmonton Oilers get bounced in a qualifier, it will be because a team that under normal circumstances would have been outside the playoff picture is suddenly in the main draw. That could cue another form of concern: What if an unworthy outfit actually advances to the Stanley Cup Final?
Considering the three-round grind it takes to make a Final, you could argue any club that gets there — regardless of its regular season record — has proven itself as a quality team. That said, there have been some pretty suspect squads get to the showcase series.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the worst teams to get within four (or fewer) wins of the Stanley Cup.
Senior Writer Ryan Dixon and NHL Editor Rory Boylen always give it 110%, but never rely on clichés when it comes to podcasting. Instead, they use a mix of facts, fun and a varied group of hockey voices to cover Canada’s most beloved game.
1991 Minnesota North Stars
Mario Lemieux’s coming out party — “What a goal! What a move! Ohhh Baby!” — came at the expense of a North Stars team that really should get more play for the astonishing upsets it pulled off.
After finishing fourth in a Norris Division that had two awesome teams (Chicago and St. Louis) and three average-to-awful ones (Detroit, Minnesota and Toronto), the 27-39-14 North Stars (.425 points percentage) went on an absurd run. The fact they beat a Blackhawks team that finished 38 points ahead of them is pretty well known in hockey lore as one of the biggest first-round whackings in history. You know what they did in Round 2? Beat a Blues team that finished 37 points ahead of them in the same number of games — six — it took to dust Chicago.
Minny only needed five games to win the conference final, knocking off an Edmonton team that had won the Stanley Cup 12 months prior. And, by the way, they held a 2-1 series
Read More From Publisher