It feels good to talk about how well run the Redwings are as an organization. You'll find no shortage of praise for Ken Holland or Brian Burke and the like. It's much more fun to rip apart the organizations that just don't seem to get it. So in the spirit of being cruel (summer is tough on a hockey fanatic), here are the Top 5 Worst run NHL franchises.
#5 - NY Rangers
Since winning the Cup in 1994 and ending the 50 year drought, the Rangers seem intent on making a run at that record. Sather almost single-handedly forced the cap issue by offering ludicrous salaries to over the hill veterans. Since the lockout, he hasn't done much better, offering bloated contracts to Holik, Gomez, Redden, and now Gaborik. Any reputation he had for his work in Edmonton has been entirely reversed. There are no signs on the horizon that things are getting better here. If it weren't for Lundqvist in net, the Rangers wouldn't even be a playoff contender. Change is needed in New York.
#4 - LA Kings
LA has been preaching the youth movement for over a decade now. Some of the young guys back then have already retired, and they have yet to see a squad worth the price of entry. Lombardi has been true to his plan over the past few years for the most part, only straying occasionally to sign a veteran or two. Still, the Kings don't seem much closer to being relevant than they were in 2004. How long to King fans have to wait for the dream to be realized. How long can Lombardi hold off the wolves with the promise of better things to come? Don't expect a sudden rise to power this year.
#3 - Montreal Canadiens
How can a team fall so far, so fast? Or was it that 2007-08 was just a fluke? The Canadiens haven't made a serious run at the Cup since they won it as major underdogs in 1993. For an organization that once prided itself as the rightful owners of the Stanley Cup, they sure haven't shown it to anyone under the age of 50. Bob Gainey had one really bad year in 2008-09, from his handling of the coaching situation, to barely making the playoffs only to be totally embarrassed, to allowing his team to be completely dismantled and put back together with whatever leftovers he could overpay for on July 1st. Was this part of a plan? If so, who is he working for? Boston?
#2 - NY Islanders
It was a tough call not making the Islanders #1. Good thing for Mr. Wang and company that the Lightning are around. It's tough to recall anything this franchise has done right in the past 20 years (and drafting Tavares doesn't count - that was a no brainer that only came about because they were so inept this year). You can start with Yashin, then move on to the DiPietro contract, throw in the coaching / GM fiasco of last summer, and sprinkle in a prospect firesale that netted two months of Ryan Smyth's services. All told, John Tavares had better be that good.
#1 - Tampa Bay Lightning
The future was looking bright for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the summer of 2004. The last five years have been a total disaster. It started with mismanagement of contracts in the off season, resulting in the loss of Khabibulin. Since then, no goalie to wear the Bolts logo has been worthy of the crease. Things took a turn for the bizarre last summer with the new management team, who went on a teenage girl shopping spree, overpaying for every available player on the market. Some of the defensive signings this summer may start to right the ship, but as for now, the Lightning hold the title as the undisputed worst run franchise in the NHL.
Minnesota Wild for giving fans an expansion team for almost a decade now.
Atlanta Thrashers for failing to win a single playoff game in their existence
Toronto Maple Leafs for many reasons. Burke seems to be righting the ship, which kept them off the list.