An individual who leads or commands a group of people or an organization towards a single ultimate goal-that is the definition of being a leader, and no matter who you are there will always be several leaders who will cross your path during life. When you are growing up, the leaders in your life tend to always be your parents or legal guardian, and when you go to school, the leadership role usually falls to a teacher or the principal, and when you get a job, your leader is almost certainly your boss. In regards to work specifically, a person can rise through the ranks to take up a leadership role, and nowhere can this be seen in effect more than in the world of sports, because every single professional sports team possesses its own leader.
Whether it be the NFL, NBA, NHL, or MLB, each team selects one player to serve as their captain, a player who is not only usually very skilled at their respective position, but someone who also possesses the heart and drive needed to instill confidence and a winning attitude on the field of play and in the locker room. In the National Hockey League, being named captain means a lot, especially for certain teams that have a history going back more than half a century, in fact the NHL even has an annual award given out to the player who best exemplifies leadership. Each and every season, the main goal of every hockey team and player is to win the Stanley Cup, and the NHL has the tradition of handing the Cup over to the team’s captain, who then raises it over his head in celebration, but with so many teams and variables, it is improbable that every captain in the NHL will be able to win the Stanley Cup during their career, and this list will identify seven captains who will win a Cup, and eight who will not.
15 Won’t: Blake Wheeler
The city of Winnipeg is actually quite fortunate, as it is one of the only professional sports cities to lose their team and then get it back with the same team name, and ever since moving from Atlanta, the franchise has been far more competitive. The Jets are currently captained by winger Blake Wheeler, who was originally drafted 5th overall in 2004 by the Arizona Coyotes, but he did not come to the Jets franchise until 2011 when he was traded to the team from Boston. Wheeler is a good leader, and he nearly has 200 goals and 500 points for his career, which shows that he is valuable on offense too, the problem is though, that Winnipeg will not be winning a Stanley Cup during the next three seasons, which will be when Wheeler’s contract expires, and it is highly unlikely that they will re-sign a player in his mid 30s when the team will have to pay their superstar and future captain, Patrik Laine at that time; in fact very few teams will give him a shot at that point, which greatly reduces his chances of winning anything.
14 Will: Mikko Koivu
There are a bunch of rarities in the world of professional sports, and one of those rarities is having two brothers play in the same league for different teams, and for them to have both become captains for their respective teams. Retired forward, Saku Koivu was the captain of the Montreal Canadiens for several years, and his younger brother Mikko, who still plays in the NHL, has been the captain of the Minnesota Wild since 2009, the team that he has spent the entirety of his 12-year career with. Koivu has amassed almost 180 goals and over 600 points in his time with Minnesota, and he has proven to be a great leader whether the team is performing well or terribly, and this season, his team is being viewed as a real Stanley Cup contender. The Wild are currently playing phenomenal hockey under their new coach, and if the team continues to play this well in the playoffs, not only will Koivu get his Cup soon, but he may even get it as early as this year.
13 Won’t: Andy Greene
For nearly a decade, the New Jersey Devils were one of the best teams in the NHL, as evidenced by their four Conference Championships and three Stanley Cup wins in 1995, 2000, and 2003, and for each of those wins, the team had a great core of defensemen. Andy Greene has been with New Jersey since the team signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2007, and in all that time, he has become one of the team’s best blueliners as well as their captain. In ten NHL seasons, Greene has less than 50 goals and just under 200 points, but he makes up for his low production by being sound defensively, but as good as he is, it is hard to believe he will ever win a Stanley Cup. The reason for this is quite simple, because New Jersey is currently in a rebuilding phase, which means no championships anytime soon, plus at 34 years old, he is entering the end phase of his career, so unless he gets traded or signs elsewhere, he will not hoist the Cup.
12 Will: Jamie Benn
Despite their record this season, the Dallas Stars are still one of the most offensively gifted teams in the NHL, and although many players on their team can score, the offense is mainly led by two individuals, and winger Jamie Benn is one of them. Dallas was actually extremely lucky to get Benn, as they drafted him late in the 5th round in 2007, and since debuting with the team in 2009, he has managed to put up more than 210 goals and 500 points; and he has proven to be a great leader in the locker room, which is why he was named team captain in 2013. Benn is an all-around great player, and the Stars are just too good to not be considered a contender for the Cup, all they need though, is a bit more help on defense and in goal, and once those two things are addressed, Benn and Dallas will be on the fast track to winning Lord Stanley’s Mug.
11 Won’t: Mark Giordano
With this entry we have Mark Giordano, who is another NHL defenseman who came into the league as an undrafted free agent, and who has also spent the entirety of his career with one team. The Calgary Flames signed Giordano in 2006, and in the eleven seasons since his debut, he has scored just under 100 goals and almost 350 points, and for a good three-year span (2012-2015), he put up some good numbers for a defenseman. If this season’s relatively low production is any indication, Giordano is now in the decline portion of his career, and at 33 years old, that is really not a good thing, and unless he gets traded, he will be with Calgary until he is 37, which will likely be when he calls it a career. Essentially, Giordano has about four seasons left to win a Stanley Cup, and seeing as it will take Calgary a few years to be good enough just to compete in the playoffs, he will probably retire without winning it.
10 Will: Steven Stamkos
In 1998, the Tampa Bay Lightning drafted Vincent Lecavalier first overall, and he eventually went on to help the team win its first ever Stanley Cup, and now, they are hoping that another one of their first overall picks will do the same thing. Steven Stamkos was the top player taken in the 2008 draft, and he has so far spent his entire career with the Lightning, a career which has already seen him score over 320 goals and nearly 600 points, and his offensive capabilities are the main reason why he was made the team’s permanent captain in 2014. Stamkos is a natural pure goal scorer, and he has an incredibly well built team surrounding him, a team that has already made it to the Cup Final together, and a team which is built to compete for a championship for the next couple of years, and based on the team’s talent, at least one of those years will end in Stamkos raising the Cup.
9 Won’t: Mike Fisher
It is true that centerman Mike Fisher is well known within the hockey world as the man who is married to country music superstar, Carrie Underwood, but he is also a 16-year veteran who currently serves as the captain for the Nashville Predators. Throughout his NHL career, Fisher has been a very stable and serviceable centerman, who has scored almost 280 goals and 600 points, and it is his experience and grit that makes him such a valuable player. It is true that Nashville has been a hard team to play against for years now, but in all that time, the team has failed to move past the second-round of the playoffs, and with so many good teams in the Western Conference, it is hard to see that trend ending in the near future, which does not bold well for Fisher’s chances of winning a Cup. Fisher may still be able to produce, but at 36 years old, his window for winning the Cup with the Predators is nearly completely closed.
8 Will: Ryan McDonagh
The Montreal Canadiens may now have All-Star defenseman Shea Weber, but there is no doubt whatsoever that fans of the team wish that Ryan McDonagh was still a part of their organization, because he is now one of the better defensemen in the league. McDonagh was originally drafted by the Habs in the first round in 2007, but before he could even play a game with the team, he was traded to the New York Rangers in 2009, and in 2014, he was given the Rangers’ captaincy. As far as the Eastern Conference goes, the Rangers are amongst the five best teams, and based on their roster, they are built to compete and win now, and with Henrik Lundqvist in goal, the chances of both McDonagh and the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup within the next five years are quite high.
7 Won’t: Nick Foligno
This season has seen several teams go on surprisingly lengthy winning streaks, and the Columbus Blue Jackets have had the longest of these streaks at 16 straight games, and it is primarily thanks to this streak that the team will find themselves in this year’s playoffs. Foligno started out as an Ottawa Senator, and played with the team from 2007 to 2012 until he was traded to Columbus, and in 2015, he was named the team’s new captain. Over his decade-long career, Foligno has scored 150 goals and over 350 points, making him a versatile forward, but he will likely not win a Stanley Cup solely because of where he plays. Columbus may have a young and talented roster, but the Eastern Conference is home to quite a few current and upcoming heavyweight teams, which makes Columbus’ and Foligno’s chances of advancing deep into the playoffs rather low over the next decade or so.
6 Will: Joe Pavelski
Despite ultimately losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the San Jose Sharks finally managed to make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final last season after years of repeated playoff disappointments; and although that loss really hurt, it gave the Sharks’ roster much needed experience and confidence. San Jose is currently led by centerman Joe Pavelski, who has been with the team since they drafted him in 2003, and at this moment, he is the team’s best and most important forward, as in 11 seasons he has scored over 600 points and almost 300 goals. As of right now, San Jose has one of the best rosters in the league, and they are certainly poised to have another deep and successful run in the postseason, and if they play as good as they did last year, than Pavelski could be lifting the Stanley Cup as early as this June.
5 Won’t: Max Pacioretty
The Montreal Canadiens are the oldest and most successful of the NHL’s franchises, and over the course of its 107 years of existence, the team has had nearly 30 captains, most of whom are now in the Hall of Fame. In September of 2015, forward Max Pacioretty was named the team’s 29th captain, and in a hockey hotbed like Montreal, that position can be incredibly stressful, but so far, he has not allowed that stress to affect his performance. Pacioretty has spent his entire 9-year career with Montreal, and in that he has registered just over 200 goals and nearly 400 points, but despite being the Habs’ most productive scorer, he may not be able to lead the team to a 25th Stanley Cup. Montreal’s window to win is now and next year, because the team will not be able to afford to keep their roster intact, and if Pacioretty remains with the team, than Carey Price will probably move on, and without Price in net, Montreal’s chances of winning drastically drops; and if Max is the one who leaves, only a team who cannot compete for a championship will have the cap space to pay him what he wants.
4 Will: Alexander Ovechkin
Alexander Ovechkin was drafted by the Washington Capitals first overall in 2004, and he has so far spent his entire career with the team, a team that he literally saved from financial ruin and probable relocation. It is because of this and the fact that Ovechkin is one of the best goal scorers in NHL history, that Washington named him team captain in 2010, seeing as for his career, he has already scored over 550 goals and 1,000 points. The Capitals have been a good team for a while, and as it stands right now, they are considered to be one of the top contenders to win the Stanley Cup this year, and for good reason, because the team is stacked from top to bottom with good players, and will continue to be for several years, which is why the only question around Ovechkin and winning, is when it will finally happen.
3 Won’t: Shane Doan
In 1996, the original Winnipeg Jets were relocated to the state of Arizona where they were given their new Coyotes name, and in the two decades since the move, the franchise has mostly been a disappointment, with numerous seasons ending with them near the bottom of the standings. Throughout the team’s stay in Arizona, the Coyotes have had one real constant, and that would be Shane Doan, who has been playing for the franchise since being drafted by the Jets in 1995, and he has been the team’s captain since 2003. As a forward, Doan has scored over 400 goals and over 960 points in his 20-year career, and he is a great role-model for the young players currently on the Coyotes’ roster, but he will definitely not be winning a Stanley Cup as a player. The reason is simple, because the Coyotes are at least 5 years away from being in a position to contend, and seeing as Doan is already 40 years old, he may well be retiring after this season is over.
2 Will: Connor McDavid
The Edmonton Oilers are one of only a handful of teams to win 5 Stanley Cups, and they came very close to a 6th title in 2006 when they lost in the final, but since that series a decade ago, the franchise has had to deal with a lot of failure. For years the Oilers finished near the bottom of the standings, which is why they accumulated so many first overall draft picks, but the best of all those number one picks has been Connor McDavid. who they drafted in 2015. McDavid is what many people consider to be the kind of player who only comes around once in a generation, and so far, he has lived up to the hype, as he already has more than 30 goals and 100 points in just over 100 games. The Oilers are young and extremely talented, and their skill is already paying off, as they may even make the playoffs this year, but in order to truly be a threat for winning the Cup, they will need to be better on defense, and once they improve there, than winning will be inevitable.
1 Won’t: Henrik Sedin
In sports, it is rare to see a pair of brothers playing on the same team, but what is even rarer, is having twin brothers on the same team, and for 16 seasons, the Vancouver Canucks have had their offense run by the Sedin twins. Henrik and his brother Daniel were taken 2nd and 3rd overall in 1999, and since their joint debut later that same year, the two have led the team in scoring numerous times, but between the two, Henrik is the slightly better player, which is why he was named captain in 2010. While with Vancouver, Henrik has scored over 230 goals and 1,000 points, and he almost won the Stanley Cup in 2011 when the Canucks lost in game 7 to the Boston Bruins-which is the closest Henrik will ever come to winning it. The Canucks are just bad, and in desperate need for a massive rebuild, and at 36 years old, it is looking highly unlikely that Henrik will be able to win a Cup before retiring.