Presidents' Trophy Curse

Presidents’ Trophy Curse Is Alive And Well

You know it and I know it. The NHL's Presidents' trophy, awarded to the best team in the league, is cursed. The winner hasn't gone on to win the Stanley Cup since 2013 when the Chicago Blackhawks won.

Since the award was handed out in 1985-86, only those Hawks in 12-13 and seven other teams have won the Presidents' Trophy and the Stanley Cup in the same year. That's only 22% of teams. Ouch.

This year the New York Rangers have to deal with that curse.

Presidents’ Trophy Curse: Struggles Out Of The Gate

We already know that Presidents' Trophy winners struggle to win the Cup, but they also struggle to get through the first two rounds of the playoffs.

  • First Round: 8
  • Second Round: 11
  • Third Round: 3
  • Cup Finals: 8

Of the 37 Presidents' Trophy winners, 51% didn't make it past the second round. That includes last year's Boston Bruins who posted the best regular season in the NHL ever with 135 points. And yet, they were dropped in the first round of the 2023 playoffs by the Florida Panthers, the worst team in those playoffs.

In the past 10 years, only one team has won the Prez trophy and made it past the first two rounds. Coincidentally, that team was the New York Rangers in 2014-15.

Presidents’ Trophy Curse: History Doesn't Matter

The curse doesn’t quiver in the face of history either.

I already mentioned those 2022-23 Boston Bruins and their record-setting regular season with 135 points, three points better than the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens who were widely seen as the best team to ever play the game.

The Bruins weren't the first record-setting Presidents’ Trophy-winning team to have missed out on the Stanley Cup:

  • In 2018-19, the Tampa Bay Lightning, who had equalized the single-season record for wins (62), got swept in the opening round of the playoffs by Columbus, a team that was 30 points worse than Tampa.
  • In 1995-95, the Detroit Red Wings set the single-season record for wins (62) and lost in the Western Conference Finals to Colorado.

The curse doesn’t care about history, record-breaking teams, or the regular season. With Boston succumbing to Florida last year, the myth and legend of the Presidents’ Trophy curse grows.

Presidents’ Trophy Last 10 Winners

Last 10 Presidents’ Trophy Winners
2023Boston Bruins
2022 Florida Panthers
2021Colorado Avalanche
2020Boston Bruins
2019Tampa Bay Lightning
2018Nashville Predators
2017Washington Capitals
2016Washington Capitals
2015New York Rangers
2014Boston Bruins

I’m sure the NHL brass smile from ear to ear when they see a list like this. Over the last 10 years, there have been seven different regular-season champions. Parity is alive and well in the NHL!

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