Los Angeles Kings Ready for Darryl Sutter Milestone

The next game that the Los Angeles Kings win with Darryl Sutter behind the bench will move him into sole possession of 12th place on the all time wins list.

His longevity and success really merits a debate on where he ranks amongst the very best coaches in NHL history.

Scotty Bowman, Joel Quenneville, Al Arbour, and Dick Irvin are the only coaches who have both more regular season wins as well as more Stanley Cup championships than Sutter.

Among the coaches with more regular season wins than Sutter, only Bowman, Quenneville, and Ken Hitchcock have a higher Points Percentage than him.

It’s important to consider that the NHL regular season wasn’t always as long as it is now, so some coaches of the past didn’t have the chance to accumulate as many regular season wins as more contemporary coaches do.

It’s why championships and Points Percentage are probably the best metrics to compare coaches of different eras.

It’s always an inexact science to do rankings like these, but Sutter has accomplished enough to warrant inclusion of this manner.

It’s an honor to even be involved in the debate of greatest coaches in NHL history. Only 17 different head coaches have won multiple Stanley Cups, so Sutter’s in rarified company.

Bowman is objectively number one on the list. He has the most regular season wins, the most postseason wins, and the most Stanley Cups. It can’t get much more conclusive than that, and when you add the fact that he won with numerous teams, and has a fantastic Points Percentage of .657, it’s an easy choice.

Toe Blake checks in at number two for me. He won 8 Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens in the 1950s and 1960s, including 5 straight from 1956-1960. He had a points percentage of .634.

At number 3, I’d go with Glen Sather, who won 4 Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers during the 1980s with a Points Percentage of .602. He also has the best playoff winning percentage of any coach who coached at least 10 playoff games. For the record, he coached 127 playoff games.

I’m placing Quenneville at number 4. He has already won 3 Cups and is 2nd all time in wins. He also has an impressive .616 Points Percentage.

I’m going with Arbour at number 5, who won 4 straight Cups with the New York Islanders from 1980-1983. He had a Points Percentage of .564.

I’m placing Irvin at number 6. He won a Stanley Cup with the Toronto Maple Leafs and then 3 Cups with the Montreal Canadiens. He coached the Canadiens before Blake did. 

Hap Day is my choice for number 7. Day won 5 Stanley Cups with the Maple Leafs in the 1940s. Day coached the Maple Leafs after Irvin.

At number 8, I’m going with Fred Shero. He won back-to-back Cups with the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1970s and had a .612 Points Percentage.

I’m placing Tommy Ivan at number 9, who won 3 Cups with the Detroit Red Wings in the 1950s at had a Points Percentage of .599.

I’m going with Punch Imlach at number 10. Imlach won 4 Stanley Cups with the Maple Leafs in the 1960s and had a points percentage of .537.

Sutter doesn’t crack my top 10 yet, but things can change. Right now, I’d actually put him at number 11.

So my list is Bowman, Blake, Sather, Quenneville, Arbour, Irvin, Day, Shero, Ivan, Imlach, and Sutter, in that order. It was hard to finally narrow it down, because this league has had some incredible coaches.

At number 12, I’d go Lester Patrick, who won 2 Cups with the New York Rangers from 1926-1939 and had a Points Percentage of .554.

So that’s where I see Sutter as of now: better than Patrick, but not at the level of Imlach. Those are some fantastic names to be mentioned with, though.

The multiple Stanley Cups is huge. Anybody could get lucky once with the right group of players, but to collect multiple championships cements a coach’s legendary status.

I don’t see how the case could be made that Sutter isn’t a Hall of Fame coach. He has the Cups, the regular season wins, and playoff success with multiple teams.

He might jump over Imlach on my list if he were to get another Cup, even though Imlach would still have 4 of his own. It’d be close, but Sutter’s superior Points Percentage could persuade me.

It will be yet another terrific accomplishment for a coach who has had quite the remarkable career when Sutter passes Jacques Lemaire on the all time wins list.

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