Lord Stanley’s Cup.
The most sought-after trophy in the history of hockey. So many NHL legends have played for the Stanley Cup while many have their names engraved on immortality and the trophy itself.
But, so many other superstars have failed to get their names on hockey’s most crucial trophy, which has been a bad mark on their incredible careers.
Unfortunately, there are a boatload of true NHL stars who are currently playing without a Stanley Cup to their names.
Just think about Marcel Dionne. One of the greatest goal scorers ever that didn’t win a Cup. Aaron Ward, a decent defenseman you probably forgot about, won three Stanley Cups.
Who do you think most players would rather be in that case? Stanley Cups aren’t always won by the best players.
It’s a shame, but it’s how the Stanley Cup playoffs work out.
Players are judged by championships, it’s the nature of sports. Though a lack of a ring won’t take away all of their accomplishments, it’s certainly easy to forget all of those if they don’t win the one that matters most.
There are a number of NHLers who are great players but haven’t won a championship, and are running out of chances.
This list was based upon the best players who haven’t won a Cup and have very limited opportunities to do so.
So here are the top 15 NHL players that are still playing and running out of time to win their first (and maybe only) Stanley Cup.
15. Mikko Koivu
The 32-year-old has been arguably the best player in Minnesota Wild history, playing in over 700 games in 11 seasons.
Koivu’s been one of the most loyal players to a team in history, staying in a lengthy rebuilding process to help his team.
Considering his brother, Saku, never won a Stanley Cup, it’d be nice if one person of the family could bring Lord Stanley’s mug home.
14. Andrei Markov
Markov’s now 37-years-old and is on the last legs of his career. He’s been a force on the blueline for the Montreal Canadiens, playing in his 16th season with the club.
He has been around in the good years and bad years and never left the city even when he had a chance to play for better teams.
Given the fact he only played 20 games from 2010-11 to 2011-12 only to return to elite status, few players have had the difficult journey that Markov has had.
It’d be great for him to win a Cup before his career ends, which will be sooner rather than later.
13. Nicklas Backstrom
When you think of the Washington Capitals, you can sometimes forget how good Backstrom was when he’s played with standout Alexander Ovechkin his whole career.
He has centered one of the best lines in all of hockey over the years and is a reason for Ovechkin’s success.
At 28 years old, Backstrom already has failed to put up the numbers that he did some seasons ago. But still, he’s a superstar who deserves a Cup .
12. Steven Stamkos
Stamkos would be much higher if he weren’t 25 years old. He has plenty of time to win a Cup, but the fact remains, he’s too talented to not win one.
Anything less than a ring would be devastating for the league’s most dynamic goal scorer.
The two-time Rocket Richard winner has made the Tampa Bay Lightning an elite squad again that fell two games short in last year’s final.
Without a contract beyond the end of this season, perhaps Stammer will pick the place that’ll give him the best shot of winning a cup.
11. Jason Spezza
Spezza stuck around in Ottawa for so many strong years then was forced to stay around during a long rebuilding phase.
He saw great linemates like Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley leave, so no one could blame him when he joined the Dallas Stars a year ago.
At 32 years old and fighting multiple injuries, Spezza’s best years and career is very limited. As one of the elite centers in the NHL for more than a decade, he’s a classy player who deserves his chance at a ring.
10. Ryan Miller
Miller came out of nowhere in 2006 and became a franchise goaltender for the Buffalo Sabres, but the team was never good enough to contend for a Stanley Cup.
Then he went to the St. Louis Blues in 2014 but failed miserably in the first round. He was forced to join a Vancouver Canucks squad after the playoffs. A team that is nowhere close to being a playoff-caliber team.
At 35 years old, Miller has something left, but isn’t good enough to carry teams by himself anymore.
I haven’t seen a goalie as good as him that also failed to have a proper supporting cast. With 332 career wins, seven 30-plus win seasons a .915 save percentage and 2.58 goals against average, Miller has had an unreal career.
He deserves a Stanley Cup, no question about it. Few people have worked so hard towards it.
9. Rick Nash
The 31-year-old spent nine seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who were never competitive under Nash’s watch.
387 career goals, 718 points, three 40-goal seasons and two Olympic Gold Medals round out the terrific career he has had.
Nash has enjoyed plenty of playoff success with the New York Rangers, but they still haven’t won a Cup.
One of the true superstars of the league deserves to cap off his career with the most coveted trophy in hockey.
8. Patrick Marleau
Like so many players that are on this list, Marleau has been so loyal to one team in his entire career.
With the San Jose Sharks, he’s seen nothing but disappointment. From blowing so many playoff series leads to losing captaincy to being the subject of trade rumours, Marleau has made it clear he wants to win in San Jose.
He leads the Sharks in every meaningful stat in the franchise’s history and deserves credit for putting San Jose on the hockey map.
At 36 years of age, he only has a couple of shots left at a Cup. It’d be great to see him win one with any team.
7. Alex Ovechkin
Ovechkin deserves a Cup greatly, maybe more than any other NHLer. However, he’s just 30 years of age, has plenty of dynamic seasons left, and his Washington Capitals are an elite team and are built to win for years.
So yes, I think he’s going to win one eventually, with so much time. But still, he’s the best NHL player currently playing.
He’s the greatest Russian hockey player ever. With five Rocket Richard trophies and basically single handedly bringing hockey back to new heights in Washington, few iconic superstars like Ovechkin deserve a Cup.
6. Henrik Lundqvist
The definition of consistency and stealing games. Lundqvist has been the NHL’s best goalie since he broke onto the scene in 2005-06 to fix the fortunes of Manhattan’s hockey team.
King Henrik has won 30-plus games in every season except the lockout-shortened 2013 season, where he still won 24 games.
The one-time Vezina winner has stolen games and made so many incredible saves like no other.
He’s 6-2 in career game sevens and has only allowed multiple goals in those games twice, and it’s not like he was to blame in those losses.
He carries his team and elevates them like no other. With one trip to the Stanley Cup Final, he’s running out of time to get back to there.
He’s going to be 34 years old by the 2016 playoffs, a popular age for goaltenders to decline. It’d be awesome for the future Hall of Famer to get at least one Cup.
5. Shane Doan
Out of all the players you’ll see on this list, no one defines loyalty the way Doan has throughout his career.
It’s amazing how the Arizona Coyotes captain has stayed in the desert for almost 20 seasons despite a struggling history, very poor attendance and virtually no solid ownership situations.
Alas, Doan is 39 years old, has shut down chances to play for better teams and was a consistent superstar for the Coyotes, with 12 seasons of 20-plus goals.
He was shockingly left out on Canada’s 2010 Olympic Gold Medal-winning team, so he hasn’t had the chance to win any of the major titles.
Doan won’t win a Cup in Arizona, so it’d be great if he got the chance to plays somewhere else and win one.
Then again, it also was his choice to stay with one frustrating team this whole time.
4. Roberto Luongo
With all of the mediocre teams he’s played for during two stints in Florida and all of the undeserved abuse he got from fans, coaches and, some of the media in Vancouver–despite an incredible tenure–Luongo deserves a Cup.
He was oh so close in 2011, but fell flat on his head in Game 7. Luongo’s incredible career (411 career wins, a .919 save percentage, 2.49 goals against average), seven 30-win seasons and two Olympic Gold Medals are overshadowed by a lack of a Stanley Cup.
He’s one of the best goalies to ever play the game. He deserves nothing more than one championship to complete what has been a remarkable career that’s been unfailry criticized.
3. Daniel and Henrik Sedin
Like Luongo, the Sedins have spent so long in Vancouver, have been criticized unfairly many times, but have delivered so strongly.
Drafted together in 1999, they’ve been the greatest brother combination in NHL history.
Olympic Gold in 2006, each winning one scoring title, and both on their respective ways to 1,000 career points, this twin combination has been the best in the NHL since the lockout.
Love them or hate them, the Sedin Twins have dominated all of their opponents and have been so exciting to watch. It’s a shame they haven’t won a Stanley Cup yet, because they’ve fought so hard together to achieve greatness.
It’s just missing one piece.
2. Joe Thornton
Jumbo Joe is in Marleau’s situation; the team has made it clear they’d like to trade him, and he’s had to endure so much frustration on a very strong Sharks franchise since joining them 10 years ago.
The one-time Art Ross Trophy winner and Olympic Gold Medalist has been one of the league’s finest playmakers in a defensive era of hockey.
Thornton sits at 1,275 career points. He has 11 seasons of 70-plus points and three 100-point seasons.
Thornton’s been one of hockey’s true superstars for ages, and it’s remarkable how he’s still producing.
At age 36, he’s definitely running out of time to win a Stanley Cup. And few players have played so well for so long without winning hockey’s most elusive prize.
It’d be nice if he could complete a Hall of Fame career with one.
1. Jarome Iginla
Ask any NHL fan or expert who the best player is that hasn’t won a Stanley Cup yet, and a bunch of them will say Jarome Iginla.
1, 242 career points. Two Rocket Richard trophies. Two 50-goal seasons. He also scored 30-plus goals for 12 straight seasons despite never playing hockey with an elite center for so many years.
Iginla played on a Calgary Flames squad that only made one deep run to the playoffs in 2004, barely missing out on a Stanley Cup in a seven-game series.
He’s playing for his fourth team in as many seasons as he fights dearly for a Cup. With two Olympic Gold Medals, he’s won many significant titles in his career.
But he’s still missing a Stanley Cup. Considering how classy he is and how great he’s been for so long, Iginla deserves the chance to win a Stanley Cup.
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