The Five Best Stanley Cup Winners in History Ranked

Ask any hockey fan about the most exciting time of the year, and they will tell you it is Stanley Cup season.

When the greatest tournament in ice hockey rolls around every year, fans around the world anticipate watching thrilling action over four to seven games. There have been some surprise Stanley Cup winners in the past few years, and most of the teams that do claim the trophy are outstanding in every aspect of the sport.

One of the debates that rage in ice hockey circles is whether a particular Stanley Cup winner would have a chance of beating another. While some teams have such a level of greatness that no one questions whether they are an all-time team, others are debatable.

Below is our rundown of the top five Stanley Cup-winning teams in history. We have used statistics and other methods to determine our ranking of the best-ever winners of this illustrious trophy.

1. 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens

One of the greatest teams to grace the rink, the Montreal Canadiens in 1976-1977, had a dominant season, the likes of which had never been seen before in ice hockey. They managed 50 regular-season wins, along with 33 wins at home on their way to the playoffs.

Not only was Montreal a team that knew how to win, but they would dominate teams and rack up the score. On average, they beat their opposition by 2.7 goals a game, lost only a single home game in the regular season, and only lost a total of two playoff matches.

With star players throughout their lineup, no team has come close to dominating this sport as the Montreal Canadiens did in that 76-77 season.

2. 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers

There is a reason Wayne Gretzky is recognized by sports fans and casual observers around the world. Even if you have never seen a full game of ice hockey, you have heard about Gretzky and can likely point to one or more of his accomplishments.

While Gretzky was an outstanding player throughout his career, he did not win Stanley Cups on his own. The Edmonton Oilers in the 1983-1984 season were among the best teams ever constructed in the NHL. Paul Coffey, Mark Messier, and Jari Kurri were among the stars who helped Gretzky on his way to glory that year.

The Oilers were so impressive on offense that teams knew they had to score at least six or seven goals to have a chance of winning. They would score 5.6 goals per game on average throughout that regular season and playoff run.

3. 1981-82 New York Islanders

In the 1980s, the New York Islanders was a name synonymous with success on the ice rink. The Islanders had put together an outstanding roster that competed for the playoffs and Stanley Cup for several seasons in a row. The 1981-1982 season is seen as the pinnacle for that team.

The Islanders were dominant on offense that year, as they showed the league that you could simply try to outscore your opponent and not worry too much about defense. Conceding 3.1 goals a game is not particularly incredible by ice hockey standards, but scoring 4.8 goals per game at the same time is a great feat.

Winning each match by around 2 goals shows that the Islanders were the team to beat that year, which is why they went all the way and won the Stanley Cup in a four-game sweep.

4. 1943-44 Montreal Canadiens

We have already mentioned them on this list, but the Montreal Canadiens deserve another shout-out thanks to their 1943-1944 team. The earliest roster to make this list, the 43-44 roster, is one that dominated the league at that time. 

What is incredible about this season in Canadiens’ history is that only four seasons ago, they were among the worst teams in the NHL. There was even talk about the team folding, as they were not attracting enough fans and were struggling to get results on the ice rink.

Everything changed when they got Dick Irvin as coach in 1940, as he set about building a roster that included the likes of Rocket Richard, Tod Blake, and Elmer Lach that led them to the 1944 Championship.

5. 1971-72 Boston Bruins

Another stellar team in the NHL, the Boston Bruins, had one of their best-ever seasons in 1971-1972. They were led by Bobby Orr, one of the best players the ice rink has ever seen in history. Boston had to do it the hard way that season, as they met an outstanding New York Rangers outfit in the Stanley Cup finals.

Despite having Orr and a great team, they had to battle for six games in order to claim their prize. The Rangers did not make it easy for them, but the Bruins were a terrific defensive team, while Orr led the way in offense with 80 assists and a stunning 117 points.

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