Worst Team in NHL – Who Has the Worst NHL Record of All Time?
Last Updated: July 8, 2022
The NHL (National Hockey League) was formed in 1917. The NHL was formed by four teams based in Canada, while the very first US team, the Boston Bruins, joined the league in 1924.
The NHL was established to replace the NHA, which was suspended the same year that the NHL was formed.
The inaugural season of the NHL was played between the 19th of December 1917 and the 6th of March 1918.
Only four teams competed in the inaugural season, and the Montreal Canadiens came out on top in the league standings. However, the team lost to the Toronto Arenas in the final match for the championship.
The NHL expanded to the United States in 1924, and just two years later, it took possession of the greatest trophy in the world of professional ice hockey, the Stanley Cup.
Over the years, the number of teams participating extended to six teams, including the Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, and New York Rangers.
These teams are known as the Original Six. The NHL was reorganized many times over the years.
Currently, thirty-nine teams compete in four divisions and two conferences, including twenty-five teams from the USA and seven Canadian teams.
With twenty-five titles, the Montreal Canadiens is the most successful NHL team of all time, followed by the Toronto Maple Leafs with thirty Stanley Cups.
Detroit Red Winds have eleven titles, Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks hold six Stanley Cups, and Edmonton Oilers have five.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, and New Jersey Devils also fall into the category of the most successful NHL teams.
However, we further focus on the worst NHL teams whose time in the league was marked by major losses, some of the worst NHL record stats, and numerous disappointments.
Our worst NHL team list includes Ottawa Senators, Quebec Nordiques, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Winnipeg Jets, Kansas City Scouts, Quebec Bulldogs, San Jose Sharks, Washington Capitals, and Atlanta Thrashers.
10. Ottawa Senators – Season 1993/1994
Over the last ten decades, the NHL produced quite a few impressively successful franchises that won the shiniest Staley Cup multiple times.
However, the Ottawa Senators is not one of those highly successful teams but one of the worst NHL teams in the history of the league.
The Canadian ice hockey team was founded in 1992. During their first season in the NHL, the team performed decently.
However, everything came crashing down in the 1993/1994 season when the team ended with one of the worst NHL record stats.
The Ottawa Senators finished last in the Northern Division with only fourteen wins and sixty-one losses. The team scored two hundred and one goals and received three hundred and ninety-seven goals, so its goal differential that season was -196.
This is why Ottawa Senators appear on our worst team in NHL list. As we will discuss later, the team’s goal differential from the 1993/1994 season is one of the worst NHL record stats of all time.
9. Quebec Nordiques – Season 1989/1990
The worst team in the NHL after the 1989/1990 season was the Quebec Nordiques. The team played in the World Hockey Association between 1972 and 1979. In 1979 it joined the NHL.
In 1995, the franchise became the Colorado Avalanche after relocating from Quebec City to Denver, Colorado.
Before the 1989/1990 season kicked off, the team signed Guy Lafleur, who, before joining the Quebec Nordiques, competed for the New York Rangers and the Montreal Canadiens.
The team also selected Mats Sundin as its first pick. The season started well with Joe Sakic topping a hundred points for the team in the first several games.
However, the rest of the season was disastrous. In the Adams Division, the team ended up last with only twelve wins and sixty-one losses.
The team scored two hundred and forty goals and received four hundred and seven goals, so its goal differential for that season was -167.
8. New York Islanders – Season 1972/1973
The New York Islanders is the worst hockey team from New York-based on its performance during the 1972/1973 season.
The team was founded in 1972, and things were looking great before 1972/1973 kicked off.
Phil Goyette coached the team at the beginning. However, he was replaced by Earl Ingarfield Sr. in the middle of the season.
That season, two young players, Lorne Henning and Bob Nystrom, were given the opportunity to finally prove themselves.
However, the two, alongside their other teammates, finished in last place with one of the worst NHL record stats.
The team won twelve and lost sixty matches. They scored one hundred and seventy and received three hundred and forty-seven.
The following season, the team was slightly better, but it still finished in last place with one hundred and eighty-two goals for and two hundred and forty-seven goals against. That season, Ralph Stewart was the team’s star player with twenty-three goals.
7. New York Rangers – Season 1943/1944
You are probably surprised to see the New York Rangers on our worst team in the NHL list. The New York Rangers was founded in 1926, and it is one of the longest-standing NHL franchises.
It is also one of the Original Six. The team won eight division championships and four Stanley Cups. However, the 1943/1944 season was a true disaster for the Rangers.
With only seventeen points at the end of the season, the team finished in last place. Its worst NHL record of all time is just six wins and thirty-nine losses.
During the 1943/1944 season, the team had one hundred and sixty-two goals for and three hundred and ten goals against.
Its goal differential for that season was -148. Just for a comparison, the Boston Bruins, which finished fifth that season, had a goal differential of -45, so quite a difference between the two last-positioned teams.
6. Winnipeg Jets – Season 1980/1981
Making it onto our list of the worst hockey team stats is another Canadian team, the Winnipeg Jets. The team was founded in 1999, and it competed as the Atlanta Thrashers before being renamed the Winnipeg Jets in 2011.
The team won World Hockey Association Championships, the first one in 1978 and the second the following year.
Unfortunately, the 1980/1981 season brought just major disappointments for the Canadian team, which was nicknamed “Lose-ipeg” after losing thirty consecutive games.
Tom McVie coached the team during the most disastrous season. Before the season kicked off, Dave Babych joined the team.
Later in his career, Babych played for the Vancouver Canucks, Hartford Whalers, Philadelphia Flyers, and Los Angeles Kings.
For that season, Morris Lukowich was named the team’s captain. Moe Mantha and Brian Mullen also joined the team before the season started.
In the end, the Winnipeg Jets finished last with nine wins, fifty-seven losses, and only thirty-two points. That season, the team scored two hundred and forty-six goals and received four hundred goals.
5. Kansas City Scouts – Season 1975/1976
The Kansas City Scouts ceased to exist in 1976 after being renamed the Colorado Rockies. The Colorado Rockies existed until 1982, when the team was renamed the New Jersey Devils, which have been competing in the NHL ever since.
The Kansas City Scouts is not the worst hockey team based on its all past performances but based on its disastrous record from the 1975/1976 season.
This was the second and the last season for the team, which played the next season as the Colorado Rockies. In their first thirty-six games, the team won eleven and lost twenty-one times.
After defeating the California Golden Seals, the team won only one more time before the season was completed.
The Kansas City Scouts finished in last place with just twelve wins and fifty-six losses. That season, the team scored one hundred and ninety goals and received three hundred and fifty-one goals.
4. Quebec Bulldogs – Season 1919/1920
Our list of the worst NHL teams also includes the Quebec Bulldogs. The team was founded in 1878. This is one of the oldest ice hockey teams.
Over the years, the team competed in many ice hockey leagues, including the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada, Canadian Amateur Hockey League, Canadian Hockey Association, and National Hockey Association.
The team competed in the NHL for just one season, and it was a season to remember, unfortunately, not for good.
The 1919/1920 season was the team’s very first and last season NHL season. The following year, the team was relocated to Hamilton.
It competed as the Hamilton Tigers between 1920 and 1925 until its final dissolution. Back in the day, each NHL season was divided into two halves. In the first half, the team won two and lost ten games.
The team posted the same disastrous record in the second half. While regarded as the worst team in the NHL, the Quebec Bulldogs had one of the best ice hockey players of all time, Joe Malone.
3. San Jose Sharks – Season 1992/1993
The San Jose Sharks team was founded in 1991 in San Jose, California. The team debuted in the NHL during the 1992/1993 season, and this is the season that all fans of the team do not want to remember at all.
That year, the team set the record by losing seventy-one games. San Jose Sharks lost seventeen games in a row.
The team’s worst defeat was against the Calgary Flames. The match ended with the Calgary Flames winning 13 – 1.
Before the season started, the team selected Mike Rathje during the first-round pick. They had their very first shutout that season thanks to Rob Gaudreau and Arturs Irbe.
However, nothing was enough to save the Sharks from finishing last. That season, the team had two hundred and eighteen goals for and four hundred and fourteen goals against.
The season ended for the San Jose Sharks with one of the worst NHL record stats, eleven wins and seventy-two losses.
2. Washington Capitals – Season 1974/1975
The Washington Capitals is probably another team, alongside the New York Rangers, that you would expect to find on our list of the worst NHL team stats, but here it is.
The Washington Capitals is not the worst team in NHL by any means, but its disastrous record from 1974/1975 earned it a spot here. The team was founded in 1974.
It has one Stanley Cup won in 2018, and two conference championship wins. The team also came out in the top thirteen times in the Division Championship.
The fans, and they are many, may not agree, but the Washington Capitals was the worst team in the NHL during the 1974/1975 season.
The team’s disastrous record of only eight wins and sixty-seven losses is the worst in the history of the team. The team’s .131 winning percentage still holds the record for the worst in the history of the league.
Moreover, the Washington Capitals set several other records, one for most road losses, another one for most consecutive losses, and one for most consecutive road losses.
The team’s first season in the NHL was one to forget, with a goal differential of -265 (181 goals for and 446 goals against).
1. Atlanta Thrashers – Season 1999/2000
We have already mentioned the Winnipeg Jets and the team’s disastrous 1980/1981 season, but these guys appear on our list of the worst NHL teams once again.
During the 1999/2000 season, the team competed as the Atlanta Thrashers. They ended the season in the last place with just thirty-nine points, and this is the worst NHL record for the number of points in an eighty-two-game season.
Patrik Stefan joined the newly formed team as the first selection in the NHL Entry Draft 1999. In its first game, the Thrashers lost 4 -1 against the New Jersey Devils.
The team won the first home match on the 26th of October against the Calgary Flames. That season, the Thrashers recorded only fourteen wins and fifty-seven losses.
The team scored one hundred and seventy and received three hundred and thirteen goals which made its goal differential for that season -143.