The St. Louis Blues made history in 2019 when they won their first-ever Stanley Cup. It had been a long and tough road to the top of the sport for the Blues, but finally, they made their fans love them even more by winning the championship series. Now that the Blues have won it once, can they be one of only a handful of teams to win it back to back?
Salary cap era
Since the beginning of the salary cap era in hockey, there has only been one franchise to win the Stanley Cup in two consecutive seasons. That team was the Pittsburgh Penguins when they won two in a row in 2017. Before the Penguins did it, it had been 19 years since another NHL team had gone back to back. The salary cap era began in 2005, and it really did help to level the playing field for hockey franchises. There has only been one franchise to win two years in a row, proving that it has become more difficult than ever to do.
The first expansion team
The first expansion team to win back to back Stanley Cups was the Philadelphia Flyers in 1975. Over the years, the established NHL teams tended to dominate the championship picture, but the Flyers changed the game. They showed it was possible to overcome the old order and dominate the league like so many other teams had been doing.
While the Blues might be hoping they can go on and add a second Stanley Cup in quick succession, they will know it won’t be easy. Years ago, teams like the Red Wings, Maple Leafs, and Canadiens were able to set up dynasties that would win the Stanley Cup year after year. A dominant team isn’t so good for business as far as most American sports are concerned, and leveling the playing field has always been important. The draft helps, but the salary cap appears to have finally put an end to teams dominating the championship picture.
Can St. Louis do it?
While recent history would suggest the Blues are going to have a fight on their hands to win another Stanley Cup so suddenly, they are showing spirit. With the playoffs in sight, the Blues are sitting pretty at the top of their conference. Getting an easy route through the playoffs could be just what the doctor ordered for long-suffering St. Louis fans. They had watched their team try and fail time and time again to win the Stanley Cup, so a period of dominance will definitely please Blues fans.
Whether the rest of the league is willing to let Blues fans live in bliss for much longer will have to be seen. If history has taught us anything about the NHL, our money is not going to be on the St. Louis Blues lifting the Cup twice in a row. That doesn’t mean that they won’t, just that they don’t have form on their side to help them do it.