What is the greatest NHL franchise over the past 20 years? There have been a lot of great franchises over the past 20 years. If you had to pick the best, who would it be? For me, it would be between the Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, and New Jersey Devils. Between those 3, they have 10 of the 20 Stanley Cup championships.
Why its Detroit:
What can you say about this team in the last 20 years? They have won 4 Stanley Cups during the time period, and only missed the playoffs once (1990).
Why its not Detroit:
No salary cap enabled them to spend the most money and buy a lot of talent.
Why its New Jersey:
Only missed the playoffs once (1996) during this time span, just like Detroit. They also won 3 cups. The one thing that sets them apart during this era is how they basically invented "the trap." It was a type of hockey that was rarely seen before this time period and this style was a huge reason for those 3 cups.
Why its not New Jersey:
Their style led to them having poor television ratings and attendence. Great franchises should have great attendence, especially when they are winning like the Devils in the 90's.
Why its Pittsburgh:
Missed the playof 5 times during this time span, but managed to win 3 cups. They also have went through some of the biggest Stars in the game with Mario Lemieux, Jaramir Jagr, Paul Coffey, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin.
Why its not Pittsburgh:
Poor play in the early 2000's, missing the playoffs 4 years in a row. Almost went bankrupt, and were being threatened to move (even though that had to do with poor ownership more than anything). They also had some poor attendence in the early 2000's.
With that said, my pick would be the Detroit Red Wings. Yes I hate them, but how many Cup finals have they made it to during this time period? Amazing,