Top 10 NHL Teams of All-Time

Team
Season
Record
Leading Scorer
Playoff Result
Edmonton Oilers
1983-84
57-18-5
Wayne Gretzky (205 Points)
Stanley Cup Champion
Montreal Canadiens
1976-77
60-8-12
Guy Lafleur (136 Points)
Stanley Cup Champion
New York Islanders
1981-82
54-16-10
Mike Bossy (147 Points)
Stanley Cup Champion
Boston Bruins
1971-72
54-13-11
Phil Esposito (133 Points)
Stanley Cup Champion
Detroit Red Wings
2001-02
51-17-10-4
Brendan Shanahan (75 Points)
Stanley Cup Champion
Montreal Canadiens
1977-78
59-10-11
Guy Lafleur (132 Points)
Stanley Cup Champion
Philadelphia Flyers
1973-74
50-16-12
Bobby Clarke (87 Points)
Stanley Cup Champion
Colorado Avalanche
2000-01
52-16-10-4
Joe Sakic (118 Points)
Stanley Cup Champion
Edmonton Oilers
1984-85
49-20-11
Wayne Gretzky (208 Points)
Stanley Cup Champion
Montreal Canadiens
1975-76
58-11-11
Guy Lafleur (125 Points)
Stanley Cup Champion

1. 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers

Wayne Gretzky is the best play in the history of hockey and he led this 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers teams to one of the best seasons ever. Gretzky scored 205 points and nobody else in the league was really close, the next closest player had 79 fewer points. With a 57-18-5 record and the most points in the history of the NHL, the Oilers went on to beat the New York Islanders to win the Stanley Cup and begin a dynasty that spanned almost a decade long.

2. 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens

It was a toss-up between the Oilers and the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens for number 1 on our list but I would label it 1A and 1B if I could. The Canadians had an excellent regular season going 60-8-12 with 132 points scored. No team in an 80 game regular season has lost less than 8 games. They were led by Yvan Cournoyer and even though he didn’t play in the playoffs the Canadiens went on to sweep the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals and only lost a total of 2 games in the playoffs. It’s a tough call but there is no argument that this is one of the best 2 teams to ever play in the NHL.

3. 1981-82 New York Islanders

The next team on our list is the New York Islanders who were led by coach Al Arbour and went on to have a 54-16-10 season in the 1981-82 season. The Islanders ranked 2nd in goals for and were also 2nd in goals against which is a great recipe for success. Their leading scorer was Mike Bossy who finished the season with 147 points, which was only behind Wayne Gretzky. The defense was led by Denis Potvin which was just too much for opposing teams to handle which is why all-around this team was really tough to beat. After they beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals it solidified their spot as a top 5 team in NHL history.

4. 1971-72 Boston Bruins

A common trend amongst all of these teams on our list is they score a lot of points and don’t give up a lot, which ultimately is the goal. This 1971-72 Bruins team ranked first in the NHL with 330 goals and only allowed 204 goals on the other end. They were led on the offensive side by Phil Esposito who scored 133 points on the season and their defense with the likes of Bobby Orr, Carol Vadnais, and Dallas Smith they were tough to get by. The ultimately went 53-13-11 and won the Stanley Cup Finals vs the New York Rangers in 6 games. This was the best team to ever take the ice in Boston.

5. 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings

The 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings were stacked with Hall of Famers on the player side, coaching, ownership, and even scouts. As of this writing, in total, they have 12 total hall of Famers in the organization from this team and it showed in their performance. They didn’t have any big-time point scorers but Brett Hull, Sergei Fedorov, and Brendan Shanahan each scored over 60 points and they had 5 total players with over 50 points. Their defensive unit was strong as well only allowing a total of 187 goals during the course of the season. Besides getting taken to 7 games in the conference finals by the Avalanche, the Red Wings had things under control beating the Carolina Hurricanes in the finals in 5 games.

6. 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens

The 2nd Montreal Canadiens team to make our list is their squad from the 1977-78 season. They were led by hall of fame coach Scotty Bowman to a 59-10-11 season and were the best team on both ends of the ice. They scored a league-high 359 goals and also allowed the fewest in the league with 183. Their best offensive player was Guy Lafleur who exploded for 132 points in this season. It was really hard for any team to give this version of the Canadians a proper challenge and they easily went on to win the Stanley Cup over the Boston Bruins in 6 games.

7. 1973-74 Philadelphia Flyers

The best team to ever take the ice in Philadelphia was the 1973-74 Flyers. They were the first post-expansion team to win the Stanley Cup and despite not being the best team offensively nobody could score on them. They allowed the least amount of goals in the NHL, 164, and had one of the best goalies in the history of hockey. Bernie Parent averaged less than 2 goals per game and himself had a 47-13-12 record. The Flyers had some hard-fought playoff battles but ultimately prevailed in 6 games over the Boston Bruins.

8. 2000-01 Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche had been successful in the past but their 2000-01 team that won the Stanley Cup was their best. Their captain was Joe Sakic, who was elected to the hall of fame in 2012, and he led their team with 118 points. Like all of these teams, they dominated in the regular season going 52-16-10-4 with 118 total points over the 82 game season. However, they did have a bit of a tough time in the playoffs having to go to 7 games in two series’ but ultimately came out on top. They beat the New Jersey Devils in 7 games to secure their 2nd Stanley Cup championship.

9. 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers

The last of the Edmonton Oilers dynasty teams to make our list is the 1984-85 unit. They were once again led by the greatest player of all-time Wayne Gretzky who had a league-high 208 points. Not only did they have Gretzky but they had Jari Kurri and Paul Coffey who both scored over 120 points. They weren’t quite as good in the regular season as previous years but they still went 49-20-11 and ranked 1st in the league in goals for. They also faced hardly any challenges in the playoffs only losing 3 total games en-route to their 4-1 series win over the Flyers in the Stanley Cup final.

10. 1975-76 Montreal Canadiens

Closing out our list is the 1975-76 Montreal Canadiens. This was the first of their four consecutive championships and at 58-11-11 they didn’t disappoint. Like many of their other teams, they were led by Guy Lafleur who finished the season with 125 points and was joined by Pete Mahovlich who was another 100+ point scorer on the team. Even though they hadn’t reached the full strength we saw them in the years after this, this team was still one of the greatest to ever play the game.

 

Tyler currently runs the lineups.com twitter handle posting various content including betting trends, player trends, and game previews. Follow me on twitter @tylerdubya29 to see constantly retweeted clever sports related jokes.

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