Despite a few hardcore fans probably disagreeing, I have assembled a list of the top 5 best teams in NHL history.
I have to say though, that it wasn't easy, considering there have been over 1,000 teams that have played a season in the NHL since the league began in 1917.
So, without delay, here it is.
1. 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens —The Canadiens rolled up 60 regular season wins — 33 at home — on their way to capturing their 20th Stanley Cup in franchise history in 1976. But perhaps most intriguing was the Habs awe-inspiring consistency in finding the back of the net. Built on the offensive firepower of the likes of Guy Lafluer, not only did Montreal set an NHL record for most points in a season by a team with 132, but they outscored their opponents by 216 goals in 80 games for an average of 2.7 goals a game. Montreal also lost just one regular season home game and two playoff games that year. Precisely why the 1976-77 Canadiens, set the standard by which all other great teams in the NHL will continue to be measured.
2. 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers — The 1983-84 Oilers have stood the test of time as one of hockey’s best. In just their fifth season in the NHL, the Oilers he would win their first of five Stanley Cups in seven years, and at the same time thrust Wayne Gretzky into the annals of NHL history, as the greatest player of all time. With a roster full of names like Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Glenn Anderson, Grant Fuhr and Paul Coffey, hockey fans have to wonder how the Oiler ever lost a game at all. Edmonton was a offense dynamo, setting the record for goals with 446, becoming the first NHL franchise to eclipse the 400-goal mark for the third straight season. Young and fast, the Oilers racked up a franchise record 59 wins and 119 points, averaging more than five per game, establishing a mark that still stands today.
3. 1982-83 New York Islanders — The Islanders were a well-oiled machine during the 1982-83 season, and a heavy favorite to win their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup. Stacked with Hall of Famers like Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin, Butch Goring and goaltender Billy Smith, legendary NHL coach Al Arbour seemed to win games at will. The Islanders began the season, winning 11 of 13 contests, but by January many were saying New York had reached their peak and may be on their way down. But Arbor continued to pull the strings and by March things heated up. NY plowed through the postseason, making it back to its fifth final in a row, which was capped by sweep of the superstar-laden Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup Final. The Islanders held the Oilers to just six points for the series while scoring 17, and matched the 1950 Montreal Canadiens with five Stanley Cups in succession.
4. 1951-52 Detroit Red Wings — Many hockey historians, consider the 1951-52 Wings the finest in franchise history. Loaded with All-Stars and future Hall of Famers like Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Red Kelly and goalie Terry Sawchuk, the Red Wings may have been the best single-season team of all-time. The '52 championship represented the apex of the Red Wings decade of dominance. Sawchuk’s won his first of three straight Vezina Trophies with a 1.94 goals-against average and a league-leading dozen shutouts, while Howe recorded his second straight scoring title with 86 points, including 47 goals. The team was stacked with star power and seemed invincible. The Wings ended the season with a sweep in the Stanley Cup playoffs with a perfect 8-0 record. A feat that has not yet been repeated.
5. 1962-63 Toronto Maple Leafs — In a year that saw Toronto win its 11th Stanley Cup, the Leafs kicked off the ’62-63 campaign as defending champions, who had just won their first Cup in a decade. And most of the components from that team – including and starting goalie Johnny Bower – were back. However, the 1962-63 Maple Leafs looked like anything but experienced and confident. Up front, Toronto had all sorts of veterans including captain George Armstrong and leading scorer Frank Mahovlich. But others like Dave Keon, Bob Nevin and Eddie Shack hadn't even celebrated their 25th birthdays. Nevertheless, all emerged as stars that season. After a sluggish start, the Leafs caught fire and ended their season in first with a 35-23-12 record. It was the first time in 15 years Toronto had won the Prince of Wales Trophy. They went on from there to beat the Detroit Red Wings in the fourth game of the Stanley Cup Final.