The Pittsburgh Penguins became the first team to win the Stanley Cup in consecutive years in the past 19 years, after defeating the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Finals. With most of the team coming back, the question on everybody’s mind now is can they do it three times in a row? If you want to bet on the Penguins to win the Stanley Cup for the third consecutive season, check out the online betting odds for the next hockey season.
The last NHL team to three-peat was the New York Islanders, who actually won four consecutive titles from 1980 to 1983. Since then, there have been other great hockey dynasties like the Wayne Gretzky led Edmonton Oilers of the early 1980s, the Mario Lemieux led Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings in the 1990s. While those teams were great, they were never able to win three consecutive championships.
The difference between the Islanders dynasty of the 1980s and the current Penguins is that the Islanders won those titles in an era where there were fewer teams and no salary cap. If the Penguins manage to win three straight championships in this era, they will be considered a greater dynasty simply because they did it in an era where they were financially restricted by the salary cap.
In the 1980s, the Islanders had 15 players that were on the team that won the first three Stanley Cups. The players included five Hall of Famers in Billy Smith, Clark Gillies, Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin, and Bryan Trottier.
All five players were also under the age of 30. Since there was no salary cap, the Islanders could afford to keep five Hall of Famers on their roster for as long as they wanted because there was no limit on how much they could pay them to retain their services.
The sports landscape has changed so much since then that it is impossible to have that much talent on one team. Even if a team were to figure out a way to do so, they can’t keep the core together for a long time because they won’t be able to afford them, thanks to the salary cap, which was put in place to increase parity in the league.
Now, this isn’t to say the Penguins aren’t talented. Pittsburgh has Sydney Crosby, Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel for their two championship runs, and all four could eventually end up in the Hall of Fame.
Another difference between the two teams is the fact that the Islanders had a much deeper roster than the Penguins, which once again was because of the lack of a salary cap to prevent them from spending on their players.
Age is another factor to consider when comparing these teams. On the Islanders team that won four straight championships, goalie Billy Smith was the only player that was over 30. Compared to the Penguins, whose core of Malkin, Crosby, and Kessel will all be at least 30 this upcoming season.
Even though Crosby, Malkin, and Kessel are still considered to be in their primes, they have also put a lot of mileage on their bodies as they have been playing professionally since they were 18, which the players on the Islanders didn’t have to do. There are also more international tournaments today than there were back in the 1980s.
One thing we know for sure is even though no team has won three consecutive titles since the 1980s, you can’t count out these Penguins.