Vulgar Statistics: The Worst NHL Team Of All Time Tournament
In honor of this season’s putrid Buffalo Sabres effort in which they are on pace to break a handful of 82 game and Post-05 Lockout Era records, I thought I would take a look at some of the worst NHL teams of all time.*
*All time in this case meaning expansion era. No one gives a shit what happened prior to 1967.
How did I do it? I took each team’s worst season in their history (based on points), sent the very worst to the “playoffs” and smashed them against one another until I had a winner. And yes, I said worst team, so Quebec Nordiques, Hartford Whalers, Atlanta Flames, Cleveland Barons, Atlanta Thrashers, Winnipeg Jets 1.0, Minnesota North Stars, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Scouts, and California Golden Seals? You do not escape my wrath. I threw the defunct teams into the current divisions haphazardly and adjusted the points for varying number of games played. Playoff format is the same as it is now.
While the current Buffalo Sabres will almost certainly be among the East’s all time worsts, they do not make this list until the season is over. Therefore the 1971-1972 Sabres landed on this list for their lowest point total. And yes, the 2013-2014 Sabres notched fewer points per game, but I didn’t have the time or the desire to calculate that for every season for every team. Go tattle to Ted Nolan.
The 1992 Sharks get all the credit for losing the most games ever (71), but the Senators actually finished in last place that year on account of having the same number of points and fewer wins, although they were 1-0-1 versus those Sharks. (More on that later.)
Surprise! The Atlanta Flames were actually mediocre to decent for most of their tenure. The Thrashers? Not so much. New Jersey’s poor 83-84 effort is kind of hilarious, and you’ll find out why come playoffs.
With identical 37-35-10 seasons wrapped around the lockout (which I didn’t even consider because, fuck it), I chose the most recent Winnipeg Jets 2.0 season because the worst thing about that team is the fact they still exist. Lucky for us though the Winnipeg Jets 1.0 ensure that we’ll be seeing just a little bit more of them.
And there are the aforementioned 1992 San Jose Sharks, losers of an NHL record 71 games.
This is really only a three team fight so a lot of this is just going to be going through the motions. None of the other four Atlantic teams come close to the 92 Sens and they all played in relatively similar eras too.
Likewise, the 74 Capitals just cruise through the Metropolitan. By the time 1974 rolled around for those Islanders, they’d improved enough to make it to game 7 of the Campbell (eye roll) Conference semi-finals.
So, a little history lesson for you. The putrid Kansas City Scouts actually play themselves here as they moved in 1976 to become the Colorado Rockies. And where did they move after the Rockies went belly up in 1982? Why New Jersey of course! They advance through this division because being a part of three different teams of historic suckage is amazing. Holy crap, did anyone play for all three teams? Sadly no, Bill Oleschuk, Gary Croteau, and Wilf Paiement all played for the Scouts and Rockies, and Mike Kitchen played for the Rockies and Devils.
And there are the San Jose Sharks, destined to go far in this bracket. Suck it, LA.
A few things went into this decision. Washington had fewer points than Ottawa. Washington set an NHL record for losses. And Washington’s 21 unadjusted points were 20 clear of the next closest team, the Kansas City Scouts. The 92 Senators tied in points with the 92 Sharks. Washington’s record vs. Kansas City? 1-3. Ottawa’s record vs. the Sharks? 1-0-1. Washington advances.
With all due respect to the Kansas City Scouts, whose sucking transcended nickname and location, the Sharks also set NHL records and tallied just over half the points. San Jose makes its first finals in anything.
The Capitals win this. It looks close on the surface, but it’s really no contest. 446 goals allowed. Four Hundred Forty Six Goals Allowed! That’s amazing. And 197 was a lower scoring season (274 average) than 1992 (305). The Capitals leading scorer was Tom Williams (?) with 58 points while the Sharks had Kelly Kisio (???) with 78. They gave up double digit goals seven different times (the Sharks did it three times).
So there you have it, the Sharks can’t even win this. Congrats 1974 Capitals, you were a level of suck I’m confident not even the 2014 Sabres can touch.