The Most Successful NHL Franchises

graph of most successful NHL hockey franchises over time

The Montreal Canadiens are clearly the most successful baseball team of all-time. But which NHL franchise is the second most successful? A rubric was developed to determine which team has been the most historically successful. The points rubric awards progressively more points the further a team went in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The results suggest that the Red Wings, Maple Leafs, and Bruins are the next most successful NHL franchises, after the Canadiens.


16 pts. – Stanley Cup Winners
8 pts. – Reached Stanley Cup Finals
4 pts. – Reached Conference Finals
2 pts. – Reached Conference Semi-Finals
1 pts. – Reached Conference Quarter-Finals


1. Montreal Canadiens – 532 pts.

The Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup a record 35 times. The franchise was especially dominate in the 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s, including four straight championships from 1976 to 1979. However, the team has had less success in recent decades. Its most recent Stanley Cup win was back in 1993, though it did go to the finals in 2021.

2. Detroit Red Wings – 379 pts.

The Red Wings have appeared in the Stanley Cup finals the second most times, with 24. However, the team won less than half of the championship games it participated in, so it only has 11 Stanley Cup wins. The franchise has had more recent success than the Canadiens. Since in the 1990’s , the team has won the championship 4 times.

3. Toronto Maple Leafs – 356 pts.

Early in the team’s history, the Maple Leafs were quite successful. Between the 1940’s and 1950’s, Toronto was arguably the most successful franchise. The team has won the second most Staley Cups, but has not even made the finals since 1967. Since, the NHL’s expansion in the 1970’s, the Maple Leafs have had few achievements.

4. Boston Bruins – 349 pts.

The Bruins are yet another Original Six franchise on this list. The team has made the Stanley Cup finals 20 times, but has only won it on six occasions. Boston’s most recent championship came in 2011, but the team also went to the finals in 2013 and 2019. Except for the 1960’s the Bruins have typically had consistent success in the league.

5. Chicago Blackhawks – 278 pts.

The Blackhawks have won six Stanley Cup championships, with their most recent victories coming in 2010, 2013, and 2015. However, in the 1940’s and 1950’s the team was not nearly as successful as its other Original Six counterparts. The 1990’s and 2000’s are two other decades where the franchise failed to achieve much.


  • franchises have been relocated and renamed often in the NHL, so this reflect current team names
  • the study starts in the 1926-1927 season, the first where the NHL had sole control of the Stanley Cup
graph of most successful NHL hockey teams

Source: Hockey Reference

For the full table of all NHL franchises ranked and a breakdown of success decade by decade please see:

Historic Ranking Table of All NHL Franchises

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