The Worst Team In NHL History

February 11, 2010 by Tyler  
Filed under Hockey Columns

Ron Low Washington Capitals GoaltenderI think it’s safe to say that there are some records nobody sets out to own. There is little doubt that the NHL record for worst team in a season is one such mark.

We mentioned how terrible the New York Rangers of the 1943-44 season were, losing a single game to the Detroit Red Wings in what would be the largest margin of victory in an NHL game. That horrendous team won 6 games over the course of their 50 game season, for a winning percentage of 12%. That sounds terrible doesn’t it?

Well, not so fast!

In the inaugural season for the NHL’s Washington Capitals, 1974-75, the team managed just 8 wins over an 80 game schedule, for a dismal winning percentage of just 10%! Their 8-67-5 record  is currently the worst of any team in the history of the National Hockey League.

Ron Low was the starting goaltender for the Capitals that season and the franchise had high hopes for the netminder as he racked up an impressive 1.82 GAA during the pre-season.  Low was the goalie between the pipes for all 8 wins, while amassing a 5.45 GAA in 48 appearances.

The Capitals’ other goalie, Michel Belhumeur, came over from the Philadelphia Flyers via the expansion draft.  Belhumeur played in 35 games that season but could not manage to pull off a victory.  This distinction lands him in the NHL record books for the most games played in one season by a goaltender without a win.  Interestingly, Belhumeur played the next season with the Capitals as well. He didn’t manage a win in that year either and never played in the National Hockey League again.


8 Comments on "The Worst Team In NHL History"

  1. Kyle on Fri, 12th Feb 2010 10:06 am 

    No doubt that the Caps of the mid-70′s were a pitiful sight for fans. On the other hand, perhaps it was a point of pride for the fans there who finally had a hockey team to call their own.

    I can’t even imagine what it would be like to endure a season like that. Perhaps at a certain point it would be easy to just tune out, but I’ve never been that way. I’ve always gone down with the ship, and I bet I’d go down with that one either.

    In other sports, we’ve seen the Detroit Lions go winless in 2009, the Dolphins and a few other teams in recent memory have had 1 win seasons, and this year in the NBA, the New Jersey Nets are currently 4-48 after 52 games. Having a comparable schedule to hockey, they may go down as the worst team in the history of sports! They’re on pace for about a 6-7 win year, for a .085 win percentage if they peak at 7. Right now they sit at .077. How about that?

  2. Tyler on Fri, 12th Feb 2010 10:17 am 

    It’s awesome to compare to other sports as well. Very difficult with Football, but baseball and Basketball are good comparisons.
    Of course, the more recent teams and seasons will be referenced more and this year’s Nets team could very well be the worst in sports history. It’s possible they won’t even reach 7 wins.

  3. Chris Nadeau on Fri, 12th Feb 2010 2:10 pm 

    All I can say is I am glad I am not a Caps, Lions, Dolphins or Nets fan! :-)

  4. Tyler on Fri, 12th Feb 2010 2:35 pm 

    Well that seems rather ‘convenient’ Chris! LOL…But, that makes two of us!

  5. bookbabe on Sat, 13th Feb 2010 12:54 am 

    When someone asked the Caps GM about their 1974-75 highlights film, he said something to the effect that it wasn’t a highlights film; it was an historical document.

    They’re definitely the worst NHL team I’ve seen. The 1943-44 Rangers may have been worse, from what I’ve read and heard. However, I think no NHL team has sustained ineptitude the way the Maple Leafs have since their last Stanley Cup in 1967.

    As for other sports: What about the 1962 Mets? And, of course, there are the Lions.

  6. NHLFans2010 (scott joy) on Sat, 13th Feb 2010 1:40 am 

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  7. HockeyTrivia (Liam Maguire) on Sat, 13th Feb 2010 1:41 am 

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  8. AJ on Sat, 21st Aug 2010 3:34 pm 

    Atleast the Caps won`t have to worry of that ever happening again with Alex Ovechkin there, they are destined to among the best nhl teams for probably the next ten years. The only thing the caps need to improve on is their playoff performances especially after what the habs did this past playoffs.

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