Constructing a Stanley Cup Champion in the Salary Cap Era

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Since the lockout in 2004-05 the NHL has seen a lot of change. While attendance and television ratings have risen, the salary cap, which was introduced to control spending and balance opportunity,  has also steadily increased each year. With the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) set to expire this fall we could be in for even more change that can impact the way organizations choose to structure their franchises.

This infographic examines how Stanley Cup winning teams have been constructed since the cap was introduced.
For each team, notice the progression/regression of their farm team affiliate leading up to and following their Championship year. There are some interesting trends. Perhaps most notable is that Carolina is the only team of the lot to not make the playoffs in the following season while simultaneously having to transition their farm team to a new city. Coincidence? Maybe. We’ll let you decide. The other 5 teams have maintained strong organizational depth from bottom to top and reap the benefits of repeated playoff appearances.

Only one team, Chicago, did not have their oldest players (on average per position) on defence. Detroit and Pittsburgh had the oldest defensive corps yet the Penguins had by far the youngest offence.  Also of interest when it comes to the Pens is that each of their Centermen were products of their own drafting/farm system. Only the Red Wings had more overall players on their squad through drafting than the Penguins.


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