Not since the late 80s has a team thoroughly dominated the NHL like the Oilers. There was a 5 year period where they won 4 Stanley Cups. The Oilers organization took what youth they had and expended as much from them as possible. Ever since the Oilers of the 80s, there has not been another team that ran through its opponents so easily. I would call the Oilers of the 80s a dynasty, for that time period.
In the NHL today, the definition of what constitutes a "dynasty" has changed. It used to be a requirement that the team in question had to at least win back-to-back championships, because the Cup is the only thing that matters in the end. Now, with the amount of parity that exists in the NHL, the previous definition of what is a "dynasty" is antiquated.
Luke Richardson, in his recent blog, cited Sportsnet.ca’s Mike Brophy who said the Kings' could be a "dynasty in the making." This is, of course in reference to the Kings' system and huge upside. To say nothing of the fact, the Kings are in a favorable salary cap position, as pointed out by Richardson in the same blog:
Looking at the Kings salary cap hit for 2012-13, they’re in good shape to maintain their current roster.
Goaltender Jonathan Quick, defensemen Drew Doughty, Matt Greene, and Slava Voynov, and forwards Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Justin Williams are under contract for next season.
Their notable free agents include Dustin Penner, Jarret Stoll and Dwight King, all of whom should be affordable re-signings if Kings management decides to keep them onboard.
What's great about the NHL is, even with this favorable position the Kings are in for the future, it still doesn't guarantee them multiple Stanley Cups, just as the Penguins of '09 were not guaranteed greatness from their Cup win, just as the Hawks were not guaranteed dynasty status, etc., etc., etc.
The year after teams win the Cup, there are noticeable differences from the year before. Even if you don't change the makeup of your team, there is a jockeying for position that takes place during the offseason. Teams find their weaknesses, which were the reasons for their respective failures in the postseason, and fix them to compete. A grueling regular and postseason are followed by an offseason which used to be a month and a half longer than before, then your back playing again. The mental stress and physical demands of the sport. There are reasons why repeating as Cup champs is so difficult.
any sequence of powerful leaders of the same family, organization, league
This is just one definition of the word, but it gets me to my original point. I think this is an exclusive club every team tries for in the NHL. However, that doesn't always mean a championship is required for admittance.
The Red Wings have made the playoffs in 21 consecutive seasons. The Wings have advanced past the first round 15 out of 21 times in that span. Out of 6 trips to the Stanley Cup Finals, the Red Wings have won 4 Cups. All their Cup wins were not in succession, but that doesn't make the Red Wings any less of a dynasty in that timeframe.
I think perhaps it's time to use a different barometer for greatness than we've been using. "Dynasty" is not a word to be thrown around so easily after every NHL season has concluded. The 2011-2012 Kings are one win away from the Stanley Cup. If they win, they will be herald as the best hockey team in the world. It's what they do past this year that will resonate throughout hockey history.