In the National Hockey League, people watch the race for last place in the regular season probably more than the race for first overall. Why? Winning the President’s Trophy means nothing. No one cares too much about finishing first – it’s the Stanley Cup that matters. However, there is a big prize for finishing last overall. That prize is really good odds at the first overall draft pick at the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.
That first overall pick has meant the world to some teams and has been squandered by others. The Pittsburgh Penguins are perhaps the one franchise in the NHL that has prospered the most from finishing last overall. In the 1980’s, it brought them Mario Lemieux and two Stanley Cup championships. In the 2000’s, it brought them Sidney Crosby and more visits to the Stanley Cup finals.
So, we’ve created a fictitious trophy for this dubious honour. Since we started tracking with the 1967-68 season when the league was expanded to a reasonable 12 teams, our mythical trophy is named after the first team to finish last overall in the post Original 6 era, the Oakland Seals.
Interestingly, of the Original 6 teams, only the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings have finished last overall since 1967-68. The Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers have certainly had some bad teams over the past 45 years but have never lined the basement floor.
Golden Seals Cup Winners
|2015-16||Toronto Maple Leafs||69|
|2011-12||Columbus Blue Jackets||65|
|2008-09||New York Islanders||61|
|2007-08||Tampa Bay Lightning||71|
|2005-06||St. Louis Blues||57|
|2000-01||New York Islanders||52|
|1998-99||Tampa Bay Lightning||47|
|1997-98||Tampa Bay Lightning||44|
|1991-92||San Jose Sharks||39|
|1987-88||Minnesota North Stars||51|
|1985-86||Detroit Red Wings||40|
|1984-85||Toronto Maple Leafs||48|
|1977-78||Minnesota North Stars||45|
|1976-77||Detroit Red Wings||41|
|1973-74||California Golden Seals||36|
|1972-73||New York Islanders||30|
|1970-71||California Golden Seals||45|
|1969-70||Los Angeles Kings||38|
|1968-69||Minnesota North Stars||51|