Photo by Tampa Bay Lightning via Twitter
By Jake Ricker
The Tampa Bay Lightning have just won their third Stanley Cup in franchise history and their first second in a row. Ever since the dreaded 2019 season, when the Lightning won 62 games in the regular season but got swept in the first round by the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Bolts have dominated the league and have not lost a playoff series since then. Some might even dare to call this Lightning team a dynasty, but is it time to give them that title? Let's take a look at what makes a team a dynasty and whether or not the Lighting have met that mark.
What is a Dynasty?
Let's get one thing out of the way first: Everyone has different opinions of what the word "dynasty" means, so there will never be a perfect definition of a dynasty. I would say that's part of the fun. So let's see if we can determine just what a dynasty is.
Believe it or not, the NHL has a list of teams that they themselves call a dynasty which you can see here. Although the list was made in 2015 and has not changed since then it can help us get a pretty good idea of what it takes to get this prestigious tag. All of the teams on this list also have their own display in the Hockey Hall of Fame and if that doesn't make it official I don't know what does. The only difference between the displays in the Hockey Hall of Fame and the NHL list is that the NHL has the Leafs' three consecutive cups as one "dynasty" whereas the Hockey Hall of Fame adds in the Leafs' fourth cup they won over their six-year run.
On this list, there are eight different dynasties (five different teams) and all of them have some similarities. One of the first things you will notice is that all of these teams have either four Stanley Cups over 6 years or more or at least three Stanley Cups in a row. The second thing we can see is that all of these teams have at least 100 regular-season wins in their dynasty time frame. The third and final thing you might notice from this list of teams is that all of them won back-to-back cups at some point in their run.
Based on this list it's safe to say that according to the NHL to be considered a dynasty you must:
- Win at least four cups in six years or win at least three in a row (yes this means Pat Maroon is
a one-man dynasty)
- Have 100 total wins in the regular season over the course of your run
- Win back to back cups at least once
This is probably why teams like the 1997-2002 Detroit Red Wings are not on this list. They won 3 cups in 6 years but never won one back to back and also never won that fourth cup. One team that I do think deserves to be called a dynasty is the 2010-2015 Chicago Blackhawks who won three cups in 6 years. While they never won that fourth cup and did not win any back to back, the Blackhawks were the first team to win that many cups in the salary cap era which made winning multiple Stanley Cups a lot more difficult.
So one might argue that in the cap era the only requirement to be called a dynasty is winning at least three Stanley Cups in six years or less.
One last thing to note is that both in the cap and non-cap era these teams have had at least 6 players that played on all Stanley Cup-winning teams. this is something the Lightning will have no problem doing assuming they win another cup with their core group.
Either way, you look at this, the Lightning do not meet either of these "requirements" but they are very close. If you are going by the NHL rules the Bolts could either:
- Win the Cup next season
- If they don't win in 2022 win two more cups over the next 4 years.
If you want to go by cap era rules the Bolts would only need to:
- Win one more cup in the next 4 years.
So while the Lightning might not officially be a "dynasty" according to NHL/Hockey Hall of Fame standards, there is no question that they have accomplished something special in winning back-to-back cups during unprecedented times that most would argue only made things more difficult.
This team has become a tight family that you can tell has each other's backs when they're out there on the ice. They have the drive to win unlike anything I have seen before and their ability to mentally reset after a loss is something to awe at on its own. There is no doubt that we are watching the greatest Lightning team to ever hit the ice so no matter what happens over the next few years, enjoy this Bolts fans.
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