The 2019-2020 NHL season is in full swing. So far the games have been full of excitement: from the Edmonton Oilers’ dynamic duo Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, to the impressive showing of Bruins’ David Pastrnak.

It’ll only get better from here, and we’ve got hockey on the brain from now until mid April. So let’s have a little fun, shall we? Here are our picks for the top 10 best NHL teams of all time.

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10. Colorado Avalanche (2000-01)

Just barely squeaking into this list is the Colorado Avalanche team that lifted Lord Stanley’s Cup after a hard-fought seven-game series against the Devils in 2001.

Posting a regular season total of 118 points, the Avalanche won the President’s Trophy. Buoyed by a 54-goal, 118-point season by captain Joe Sakic, the Avalanche were able to dig deep and beat the New Jersey Devils twice in a row in the Stanley Cup Finals after trailing the series 3-2.

One of the best memories of this season came when 40-year-old defenseman Ray Bourque hoisted the Stanley Cup over his head after he was finally able to win the Cup in his 23rd season.

9. New York Rangers (1993-94)

After winning the President’s Trophy by 11 points, expectations were high for the New York Rangers in the 1994 playoffs despite the team’s 54-year Stanley Cup drought.

This iteration of the Rangers wasn’t particularly known for their offense but featured the likes of Mark Messier, 52-goal scorer Adam Graves and Hall of Fame winger Mike Gartner. Defensive talent was the team’s calling card, as they had two of the best offensive-minded defensemen in the league in Sergei Zubov and Brian Leetch.

The Rangers were able to end the long championship drought in dramatic fashion in Game 7, fighting off waves of attacks from the Vancouver Canucks. There were plenty of nervy moments in the third period as Trevor Linden made it a one-goal game, but the Rangers ultimately were able to nurse their one-goal lead and hoist the Cup.

8. Chicago Blackhawks (2009-10)

The most recent team on our list is the 2009-10 Chicago Blackhawks, who won the team’s first Stanley Cup in almost 50 years. While they weren’t exactly dominant in the regular season, this Blackhawks team featured one of the deepest rosters in recent memory and had plenty of star power on both offense and defense.

This 2010 Blackhawks first line was nightmare fuel for the rest of the league as it featured a pair of dynamic 21-year-old scorers in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews as well as Patrick Sharp, who potted 11 goals in the playoffs. On the blueline they rolled with Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, who were among the best defensemen in the league.

The Blackhawks were able to beat the Flyers in four games and went on an impressive run, winning the Stanley Cup in 2013 and 2015.

7. Boston Bruins (1969-70)

The 1970 Stanley Cup Finals provided us with one of the most iconic moments in the history of sports – Bobby Orr’s game-winning overtime goal which sealed the Bruins first Stanley Cup in 29 years.

This era of Bruins hockey is known affectionately as the “Big Bad Bruins” era thanks to the team’s incredible physical prowess. Even though they were primarily known for their hard-nosed play, this Bruins team also had some fantastic scorers on their squad, including the likes of Hall of Famers Phil Esposito and Johnny Bucyk.

This Bruins team was an easy inclusion on this list as they breezed through the playoffs, winning their final 10 games in a row.

6. Pittsburgh Penguins (1991-92)

Mario Lemieux. Jaromir Jagr. Two of the top-10 goal scorers in the history of the NHL. Need I say more? Led to the promised land by a stable of five 30-goal scorers, the Pittsburgh Penguins were able to win their second Stanley Cup Final in two seasons in 1992.

One thing worth mentioning about this Penguins squad was their dominance in the latter half of the postseason. Pittsburgh won their final eight playoff games in a row, sweeping the Boston Bruins in the Wales Conference Finals and the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup.

5. New York Islanders (1982-83)

In today’s current sporting climate, it’s hard to imagine any professional team winning four straight championships, but that’s exactly what the New York Islanders did in the beginning of the 1980s.

While the 1982-83 team might not look that special if you look at their regular season statistics, they are without a doubt one of the best teams of all time.

Despite finishing the year in second place in the Patrick Conference, the Islanders played fantastic two-way hockey as they allowed the least amount of goals in the NHL thanks to a stout defense and Hall of Fame backstop Billy Smith.

This Islanders team’s crowning achievement came in the Stanley Cup Finals as their defense stifled the prolific Edmonton Oilers offense, en route to a 4-0 Islanders sweep. Center Mike Bossy led the way for the Islanders offense, scoring 60 regular season goals and 17 playoff goals.

4. Calgary Flames (1988-89)

Perhaps one of the most well-rounded teams on this list is the 1988-89 Calgary Flames, who featured multiple 50-goal scorers and allowed the second-fewest goals in the league.

Under the leadership of 34-year-old captain Lanny McDonald, the Flames survived an early postseason scare from the Canucks, who took Calgary to a 7th game. The Flames eventually matched up with the Montreal Canadiens in the finals in 1989, which was a rematch of the Stanley Cup Finals from 3 years prior. Doug Gilmour was able to notch two third period goals in Game 6, giving the Flames their first, and only, Stanley Cup in franchise history.

3. Detroit Red Wings (2001-02)

Nine Hall of Fame Players. An eight-time Stanley Cup Champion coach in Scotty Bowman. Talk about a recipe for success in Hockeytown.
When evaluating a team based purely on the talent on the roster, the 2001-02 Red Wings have a case to be the best team of all time.

The sheer number of superstars that were on this squad is mind-boggling. Some of the big names include the likes of Brendan Shanahan, Sergei Federov, Brett Hull, Niklas Lidstrom, Luc Robitaille, Steve Yzerman, Igor Larianov, Chris Chelios and Dominik Hasek. Not to mention a young center by the name of Pavel Datsyuk!

With such a loaded roster, it’s no wonder that they were able to win the Stanley Cup in just five games.

2. Edmonton Oilers (1984-85)

The Edmonton Oilers were a force to be reckoned with in the 1980s, winning four Stanley Cups in five years. Without a doubt, the best Oilers team from that run was the 1984-85 team, which averaged over 5 goals per game.

Led by the “Great One” Wayne Gretzky, this Oilers team featured 3 players with over 120 points scored – Gretzky, Jari Kurri and Paul Coffey. In total there were six future Hall of Famers on this squad – Gretzky, Currey, Coffey, Glenn Anderson, Mark Messier and Grant Fuhr.

This talented Edmonton bunch breezed through the playoffs, sweeping Los Angeles and Winnipeg before knocking off the Flyers in the Finals in five games.

1. Montreal Canadiens (1976-77)

Those of you who are intensely familiar with the history of the sport likely could have predicted that the Canadiens would wind up at the top of our list. The 1976-77 team finished the regular season with an NHL record 132 points and cruised to a Stanley Cup victory, sweeping the Boston Bruins in four games.

This Habs squad was packed to the gills with talent, featuring eight future Hall of Fame players – Guy Lafleur, Jacques Lemaire, Steve Shutt, Guy Lapointe, Larry Robinson, Serge Savard, Bob Gainey and Ken Dryden.
Led by a pair of 50-goal scorers in Lafleur and Shutt and strengthened on defense with Ken Dryden between the pipes, Montreal outscored their opponents by 216 goals over the course of the year, which is a league record that still stands to this day.

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