Full credit to my Uncle Mike, got me thinking about this topic.
Are the Tampa Bay Lightning now in the pantheon of NHL Franchise that can be considered dynasties?
Let’s first define the word. Dynast – In the world of sports, a “dynasty” is a team that has exhibited excellence over a considerable period of time. In order to be considered a “dynasty”, a team is usually required to win at least two titles over a short period of time.
The Tamp Bay Lightning have won 2 Cups, in fact they won them back to back. Which has only happened in the modern era (1967 forward) 10 times. Not counting double for the 4 consecutive years the Canadian’s and Islander’s won the cup. Now add into the equation it has only happened one other time since the Salary Cap was installed in the 05-06 season. You are really in some rarified air.
However the story to me isn’t just in the Cups won, but appearances made in the Cup Finals, and respectively the conference finals.
So how does this compare to the other franchises that qualify under the dynasty tag.
So already the Boltz are in great company. The 3 cup appearances in the 2nd shortest time span. Also the cup that they lost was to the Blackhawks so we can forgive them for that. 5 Conference final appearances, also in a shorter amount of time then everyone but the Hawks.
But what about the individuals who made up these dynasties. How do the Boltz rank in that matter?
They have captured at least one of every major individual award in their run. Accept the Jack Adams which is insane because people are praising John Cooper as the next Scotty Bowman. Well are you ready for this. By the numbers they are the most dominant dynasty in individual trophies.
Every other major franchise has two or more categories where they fall short to the Lightning. So based off of this we can quantify that they are in the same category as the Penguins and Blackhawks. But how do they stack up against the historic franchises of the 80’s and 90’s. In an era with no salary cap and some of the sports defining stars.
As far as banners they are still an outside shot to catch the Islanders and Oilers. But the Devils is an interesting comp. Almost 10 years of superior seasons and 3 cups in the bag. Tampa currently on a 7 year heater and defiantly has a chance at that.
So where the Boltz legends stack up against these against names like Gretzky, Yzerman, Sakic, Roy, and Brodeur?
Only the famous Gretzky Oilers surpass the Lightning.
Now that we have compared them to the teams of the past lets look at their window moving forward. As stated they have been on this tear for 7 years already. So realistically how much time do they have left? Other than the Wings, Penguins, and Devils most of the other big name dynasties had their window close within 10 years.
To get an idea of how long the window will be open we have to look at their core players ages and contracts.
Arguably the best defensemen in the league the past five years is perhaps going to lose a step with age, but defenseman seem to get better till their about 35. He is signed for another four years at a steal of 7.8 million.
Kucherov is 28 and signed for six more years at a very manageable cap hit of 9.5 million. He has an Art Ross, Hart and set the record for most points by a Russian born player in a single season. Thats right more than Ovi and Malkin. You have that elite weapon locked up for less than Patrick Kane at the age of 28.
The reigning Conn Smyth winner Vasilevskiy is signed for 7 more years. His cap hit is 8.5 million. Which is steep for goaltending but, with a Conn Smyth, Vezina, and two Cups under his belt at the age of 26 you can deal with that. To give a comparable he is in Patrick Roy territory.
Finally the key to this whole thing will be Brayden Point. At just 25 years of age he is poised to be the next big name in hockey. His post season performances are becoming things of legends. He has a taste for the spotlight and a knack to score the big goals. He will command big money in two years, but hopefully the cap will go up by then and the team can keep him around.
So now let’s answer the question are the Tamp Bay Lightning a dynasty? Yes, definitively yes.
Are the Lightning one of the greatest dynasties of the modern era? Certainly, with more rings, cup appearances, and individual trophies then LA and Boston they easily sit in third behind the Penguins and Hawks.
What about all time? The jury is still out. It’s hard to compete with the sheer number of rings that the legacy teams have. Let alone cup appearances. However, as we already discussed this teams window is far from shut and perhaps it has just opened.
Congratulations to the Lightning and good luck on your journey to the top of the NHL History books.