Dynasty Debate: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Chicago Blackhawks

© Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Pittsburgh Penguins at Nash

The Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins have combined for half of the Stanley Cups awarded since the introduction of the salary cap 12 years ago.
With three Stanley Cups apiece in that span, each team has warranted the discussion of being a modern dynasty, which would put both the Blackhawks and Penguins on an elite list that NHL.com has compiled.
The list, last updated in 2015, accounts for records in select periods but clearly puts an emphasis on Stanley Cup titles. There is little to no crossover between the accounted seasons, which hints that in order to be a true dynasty, exclusivity is required.
But is one team more deserving of the "dynasty" label?

Chicago Blackhawks (2010, 2013, 2015)

Chicago Blackhawks players pose for a team photo with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in game six of the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals at United Center in Chicago on June 15, 2015. Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks have won three of the past eight Stanley Cups. The team's 2010 Stanley Cup title ended a 47-year championship drought before adding another Cup in 2013 and 2015. Here's a look at Chicago's past decade.
The Blackhawks have failed to make the postseason just once in the past decade, going 40-34-8 in 2007-08, Denis Savard's last season as head coach. Savard was fired by GM Dale Tallon four games into the 2008-09 season after a 1-2-1 start.

Quenneville led the team to a 45-22-11 record and the franchise's first playoff berth in six seasons, losing in the Western Conference Finals.
In the summer of 2009, Tallon himself was relieved of duties and replaced by Stan Bowman, and the modern-day Blackhawks were born.
Bowman often gets credit for the 2010 Stanley Cup champion team, but it was Tallon who created one of the deepest Cup-winning teams of the past 10 years. However, Bowman quickly made the team his own, moving Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Antti Niemi, Kris Versteeg, and Brent Sopel.
It started a path of continuous trades and salary-cap crunching that has proved successful but also may be finally catching up to the team. During Chicago's run of three Cups, Bowman has operated with a core of six players.
These players include Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Niklas Hjalmarsson, the only six players to have won all three Cups with the Blackhawks that remain a member of the team. Patrick Sharp was also a part of the team for all three Cups, but he was traded to Dallas in the summer of 2015.
The core players have kept Chicago competitive during regression due to the tradeoff of winning. The Blackhawks' success has seen Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, Johnny Oduya, Michael Frolik, Teuvo Teravainen, and Scott Darling traded away due to salary-cap concerns and the need to maintain the team's winning core.
Yet, much like every season, Chicago's future still looks quite promising. Rookies Ryan Hartman and Nick Schmaltz are both former first-round picks who showed poise during the 2016-17 season.
Hartman, 22, scored 19 goals and 31 points in 76 games and drove play in the right direction. Schmaltz, 21, tallied six goals and 28 points but was often on the wrong end of shot differentials.
Then there's Alex DeBrincat, who has torn apart the OHL the past three seasons with the Erie Otters and could find himself in Chicago next season.

Pittsburgh Penguins (2009, 2016, 2017)

Pittsburgh Penguins players pose for a team photo with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Nashville Predators in game six of the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN, on June 11, 2017. Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

After losing in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2008, the Penguins returned to the finals in 2009 and won their first Cup since 1992. The Penguins won again in 2016 and 2017, becoming the first back-to-back champions since the Detroit Red Wings in the mid-1990s.
The Penguins have more wins -- and losses -- and a slightly better points percentage than the Blackhawks in the past 10 years.
The Penguins also now hold the longest active playoff streak in the NHL at 11 consecutive seasons. Chicago is second with nine.
Pittsburgh has been built on a smaller core than Chicago. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, Kris Letang, and Marc-Andre Fleury have been the only recurring players for each of the Penguins' Stanley Cups.
However, Fleury was the backup to rookie Matt Murray during last year's run and was replaced during the Eastern Conference Finals this year, as well. Letang also missed the second half of this season and all of the playoffs.
During that span, Pittsburgh has also had two GMs and three head coaches. After eight years in Pittsburgh, Ray Shero was fired in 2014 and replaced with Jim Rutherford, who has built the first back-to-back championship team in 20 years.
Rutherford immediately fired head coach Dan Bylsma, who was named the interim replacement for Michel Therrien and helped guide the team to an 18-3-4 record to end the regular season before ultimately claiming the Cup.
Byslma was then replaced with Mike Johnston ahead of the 2014-15 season. Johnston spent the previous six years as coach and GM of the WHL's Portland Winterhawks.
In 2014-15, Johnston coached the Penguins to fourth in the Metro Division, followed by a first-round exit to the New York Rangers. The following season, Mike Sullivan replaced Johnston on an interim basis after the Penguins began the season with a 15-10-3 record.
Sullivan opened up the team's offense, and slow starts from Crosby and Letang turned into 85-point and 67-point campaigns, respectively.
Rutherford has built a strong team by being active on the trade front, most notably adding Phil Kessel to the team's core in 2015. Other notable moves include the addition of Patric Hornqvist, Conor Sheary and Justin Schultz.

End of (Dynasty) Discussion

In the end, Pittsburgh holds the advantage of the dynasty label.
Chicago's ability to hold together a core both on the ice, on the bench and in the front office is remarkable in a league with consistently growing parity. But Pittsburgh's dedication to winning and its core have paid off after notable turnover at key levels of the organization.
The Penguins have found the right combination to believe more Stanley Cups are on the horizon. However, Chicago's core remains intact, as well, and history has shown that the Western Conference powerhouse will rise up again, too.
Perhaps the two can meet one day to hash out the dynasty discussion once and for all, until then Crosby holds just another entitlement above the rest of his peers. 
Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @JMessing23.

'If You Ain't First, You're Last': Erie Otters Take Step Back In OHL

Erie Otters Erie Otters Training.jpg

By Jacob Messing

A historic Erie Otters season ended suddenly in late May when host Windsor defeated the regular season champions 4-3 for the Memorial Cup, given to the winner of a four-team tournament played

Knights Have ‘Golden’ NHL Debut

© Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Preseason-Vegas Golden Knights at Vancouver Canucks

By Jacob Messing

The past few months have been full of firsts for the Vegas Golden Knights, the NHL’s 31st franchise.

In March they signed Brandon Wheat Kings center Reid Duke, in June they sifted through opposing rosters during the expansion draft and selected one player from each team, and later in the summer they unveiled their home jerseys.

10 NCAA Players To Watch In 2017-18


By Jacob Messing

The wait is almost over for hockey fans.

Social media is teeming with #IsItOctoberYet, NHL training camps have started, and teams are beginning to take shape. But mid-September doesn’t just mean a new professional season; the puck is set to drop October 1 for college hockey.

Who Will Replace Nashville's Ryan Ellis?

© Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Anaheim Ducks at Nashville Predators

By Jacob Messing

Last week, the Nashville Predators announced they would be without rising defenseman Ryan Ellis until the turn of the calendar year. The 26-year-old Canadian is recovering from offseason knee surgery and has not begun skating yet.

Intersection Of NHL Trading Trends And Matt Duchene Deal

© Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Ottawa Senators at Colorado Avalanche

By Jacob Messing

Is Nugent-Hopkins A Fit As Penguins Third Line Center?

© Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports NCAA Hockey: Frozen Four-Boston University vs North Dakota

By Jacob Messing

A New Test For Griffins’ Sadowy

© Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Anaheim Ducks at Nashville Predators

By Jacob Messing

The last three years have been complicated for Dylan Sadowy.

He’s played in the OHL, AHL, and ECHL, been drafted into the NHL by one team, and traded to another -- although he’s yet to play a game in the world’s best league.

5 Best NHL Players On Each Side Of 30

© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Edmonton Oilers

By Jacob Messing

Earlier this month, Sidney Crosby turned 30 years old, and even at that benchmark age the Pittsburgh Penguins captain still remains at the forefront of any argument about who is the best player in the world.

However, that’s not to say a new generation of budding stars won’t be entering the conversation soon.

The NHL is becoming increasingly younger, and 20-year-old phenom Connor McDavid highlights the future of the game. So, rather than compare them -- given that Crosby has 10 years on the Edmonton Oilers’ young captain -- we decided to break down the best players by age groups, those above 30 and those below.

AHL Sophomores To Watch In 2017-18

© Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Buffalo Sabres

By Jacob Messing

Late summer is typically when hockey fans ask, “Is it October yet?”

While the start of the season is still a long way off, camps begin in a month -- a time for high-end prospects and AHL players to get good, long looks from their coaches as teams push for roster spots and players seek to fulfill their NHL dreams.

Why Danis Zaripov Won’t Find An NHL Home

© Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports OLYMPICS: Mens Hockey-Russia vs Czech Republic

By Jacob Messing

KHL star Danis Zaripov is reportedly eyeing to play his hockey stateside after a two-year ban from the International Ice Hockey Federation for a failed drug test. Both organizations follow the policies of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), resulting in Russian side AK Bars Kazan voiding Zaripov’s recently signed two-year deal.