The President’s Trophy Curse, fact or fiction

So I keep hearing about the "curse of the President's trophy" and how "only" 30% of it's winners have won the Stanley Cup and it got me thinking, which is always dangerous.

I started thinking "wait, there are 16 teams in the playoffs each year.  That means, in theory, that each of those teams has a 6.25% chance of winning the cup" (looking strictly at math, I think we all recognize top seeds have a better chance in reality because they are the better teams).  So a 30% win rate seemed pretty good to me but I wanted to find out how good it really was.

My methodology was to go back and seed all playoff teams based strictly on points and then find the seeding of every winner of the Cup since the 85-86 season when the President's trophy was first awarded   I realize this is slightly flawed since division winners get a higher seed even if they have less points than other teams that qualified but I didn't have time to accurately research that information so I cheated, deal with it.  (I'll try to actually do that on 4/14 if I have the time)

Below you will find the number of times each "seed" won the Cup and the winning % of that "seed".  I also have this years playoff teams listed for informational purposes.  Basically what I found is you don't want to have a double digit seeding.  And now that I'm done playing Captain Obvious here is the real analysis

  • there is no "curse" for the President's trophy.
  • the top 4 seeds have won an amazing 69.57% of the time
  • it's good to be #1
  • lowest seed to ever win was #9, the Devils in 94-95
  • I like where we are at.

On to the numbers


Historical Data
2009-2010 NHL Playoff teams
Rank Times won Win %
Team Points
1 7 30.43%
Washington Capitals * 121
2 2 8.70%
San Jose Sharks * 113
3 3 13.04%
Chicago Blackhawks * 112
4 4 17.39%
Phoenix Coyotes 107
5 2 8.70%
New Jersey Devils * 103
6 2 8.70%
Vancouver Canucks * 103
7 2 8.70%
Detroit Red Wings 102
8 0 0.00%
Pittsburgh Penguins 101
9 1 4.35%
Los Angeles Kings 101
10 0 0.00%
Buffalo Sabres * 100
11 0 0.00%
Nashville Predators 100
12 0 0.00%
Colorado Avalanche 95
13 0 0.00%
Ottawa Senators 94
14 0 0.00%
Boston Bruins 91
15 0 0.00%
Philadelphia Flyers 88
16 0 0.00%
Montreal Canadiens 88

And here is the list of winners and all their "seed"

Year Winning Team Playoff seed
1985-1986 Canadians 7
1986-1987 Oilers 1
1987-1988 Oilers 3
1988-1989 Flames 1
1989-1990 Oilers 5
1990-1991 Penguins 7
1991-1992 Penguins 6
1992-1993 Canadians 6
1993-1994 Rangers 1
1994-1995 Devils 9
1995-1996 Avalanche 2
1996-1997 Red Wings 5
1997-1998 Red Wings 3
1998-1999 Stars 1
1999-2000 Devils 4
2000-2001 Avalanche 1
2001-2002 Red Wings 1
2002-2003 Devils 4
2003-2004 Lightning 2
2004-2005 Thanks Gary
2005-2006 Hurricanes 3
2006-2007 Ducks 4
2007-2008 Red Wings 1
2008-2009 Penguins 4


Again I haven't seen anything out there like this but if you know of something please let me know.

If this FanPost is written by someone other than one of the blog's editors, the opinions expressed in it do not necessarily reflect those of this blog or SB Nation.

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