When growing up, we may be told by our parents or teachers that winning is not everything, but the truth is, that in the adult world, there are some situations in which winning is the only real thing that matters. In reality, we are engineered to want to win from a very young age, what with board games, video games, and any number of the games and sports we are made to play in gym class; and it is this competitiveness and drive to win, that leads to some individuals becoming professional athletes. When you play a sport professionally, whether it be individually or as a part of a team, you want to win every single game you play, because not only does the winning mean bigger paychecks, but it also means that you are thereby better than your opponent.
In football, basketball, baseball, tennis, golf, and hockey, we tend to judge greatness by how many championships an athlete is able to win throughout the length of their career, but sometimes great players end their careers with either a single championship under their belt or none at all. In hockey, the goalie is without a doubt the most important player on the ice, as the goalie is ultimately the last line of defence for their team, and they can literally steal a game from the opposition based on their performance. It is true that a hockey team needs to have a good starting goaltender if they hope to win the Stanley Cup, but not every starting goalie will be able to win a Cup for numerous reasons, and the purpose of this list is to showcase 7 current starting goalies who will win a Stanley Cup in their careers, and 8 who will probably not.
15. WON’T: John Gibson
There was a time when teams dreaded going to California because all 3 of the state’s hockey teams were amongst the NHL’s best, but now things have regressed a bit as Los Angeles and Anaheim have both taken a step back. Anaheim in particular is in need of a change as the team has gone from a dangerous offensive team, to one that desperately needs help in the scoring department. Aside from the offensive woes, Anaheim believes that they are all set in goal with their current starter John Gibson, who is a good enough goalie, but if he stays in Anaheim for the majority of his career, than he will likely not win a Stanley Cup, primarily because of the fact that Anaheim needs to learn to score before they can compete, but also because the team will likely enter into a rebuilding phase within the next few years.
14. WILL: Martin Jones
Last season, the San Jose Sharks finally achieved something that the franchise seemed completely incapable of doing, and that was making it to the Stanley Cup Final, where they ultimately lost to Pittsburgh. For a little more than a decade now, San Jose has been considered a great team, that for some reason flops in the postseason, but now, they have the confidence needed to win it all, as well as a capable goalie in net. Martin Jones has been playing in the NHL for 4 seasons now, and although he started out as a backup for Los Angeles, he has so far excelled as the Sharks’ number one guy, as he was the one in net for their run last season. Seeing as San Jose has now proven that they can indeed contend for a Stanley Cup, the team now has a window in which to win, and if they do, it will likely be with Jones in net.
13. WON’T: Pekka Rinne
The Nashville Predators have been a middle of the pack team for most of their NHL existence, and in the instances where they did appear to be a dangerous team, they usually floundered in the playoffs and were eliminated in the first round. Nashville may have had numerous playoff disappointments, but none of those disappointments can be attributed to their starter Pekka Rinne, who is without a doubt the best goalie that the franchise has ever had. Rinne has been with the Predators for the entirety of his 11-year professional career, where he has managed to earn over 40 shutouts, over 250 wins, a goals against average under 2.40, and a save percentage just under .920. The reason why Rinne will not win a Stanley Cup, is because Nashville does not really have a chance at winning any time soon because of all the other powerhouse teams in the Western Conference, and at 34 years old, Rinne does not have that many years left to win unless he is traded to a real Cup contender.
12. WILL: Devan Dubnyk
Much like the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Minnesota Wild have been having an incredible season so far, to the point that their team is starting to be considered as a Stanley Cup contender by more and more hockey insiders. The reason behind their success is because the Wild are now a team filled with depth and experience, but also because they have Devan Dubnyk who for the past 2 years has been one of the best goalies in the league. Now, before coming to Minnesota, Dubnyk spent time with 3 other teams, and his cumulative performance with those teams, led many to think that he was barely capable of being an NHL goaltender; but today, he is likely going to be this season’s Vezina winner. If Dubnyk’s stellar play continues, and this does happen to be the Wild’s year, than the only question remaining is if he will win multiple Cups.
11. WON’T: Cory Schneider
A few years ago, the Vancouver Canucks had a goaltending controversy that many teams around the NHL wish they had, as the team had both Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider competing for the number one spot. In the end, Vancouver traded away both of them, with Schneider going to the New Jersey Devils, where he has spent the last 4 years serving as their number one starter; but unfortunately, it does not look as though he will be ending his career with his name on the Stanley Cup. The reason for this is simple, because New Jersey is currently years away from competing for a championship because of their mini rebuild, as well as the fact that their division is filled with most of the Eastern Conference’s best teams. Schneider is still under contract with the Devils for another 4 years, so unless he gets traded or the Devils miraculously win a Cup in that time, he will likely not win a Cup because very few contenders will rely on a goalie in their mid 30s with limited playoff experience to lead them to victory.
10. WILL: Cam Talbot
After about a decade of disappointment and finishing at the bottom of the overall standings, it looks like the Edmonton Oilers are finally becoming a team that is both exciting to watch and competitive. It is true that the main reason behind Edmonton’s turnaround rests on the fact that they were able to draft Connor McDavid 1st overall in 2015, but they now also have a goalie who can actually serve as a team’s number one starter. Cam Talbot is his name, and he came into the NHL in 2010 when he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the New York Rangers. It was in the 2014-15 season that Talbot showed the world what he could do when he took over for Henrik Lundqvist, and then that offseason he was traded to the Oilers where he took over the number one spot fairly quickly. Based on how they are already playing, Edmonton will be a contender very soon and may well end up winning multiple championships, and if Talbot is still with the team, he could be there for at least one of those wins.
9. WON’T: Jake Allen
The St. Louis Blues have been a team that many hockey insiders believed would contend for and win a Stanley Cup based on how dominant they have been in certain years during the regular season, but they are also a team that has failed to make any real progress in the playoffs. Over the past few years, the Blues have gone through 3 starting goalies, including their current netminder Jake Allen, who has been with the team ever since they drafted him in 2008. This season, the Blues have underperformed, primarily because the team has lost several good players through trades and free agency, but also because Jake Allen himself has underperformed, and if Allen has demonstrated anything during his tenure with St. Louis, it is that he does not have what it takes to lead the team when it matters most, and if he could not do that with a team that was as good as the Blues, then it is unlikely he can lead another team to a Stanley Cup.
8. WILL: Carey Price
The Montreal Canadiens are considered to be the best team in Canada, and their record sure does indicate that, but the main reason why they are doing so well, aside from their improved overall play, is the fact that they have the best goalie in the world in Carey Price. There may have been a very short time in which Montreal contemplated getting rid of Price, but fortunately they chose not to, and in 2015 he became one of just a handful of goalies to win both the Vezina and league MVP in the same season. Based on just how good Price is, there is no doubt that he will hoist the Stanley Cup at least once in his career, as he can literally carry a team to victory, but the only question is if he will win one in Montreal or not, because he can only carry a team so much before getting too tired and moving on.
7. WON’T: Ryan Miller
At one time, Ryan Miller was considered to be one of the best goalies in the entire NHL, as evidenced by the fact that he won the Vezina Trophy in 2010, but that award came when he was undoubtedly in the prime of his career. This season marks Miller’s 14th in the NHL, and for most of that time, he has served as a number one goalie, first with the Buffalo Sabres, then St. Louis, and now Vancouver; and despite the fact that he is still a decent goalie, he is nowhere near the player he was in 2010. Miller has managed to win over 350 games in his career, and has earned nearly 40 shutouts to go along with a save percentage of .915 and a goals against average of under 2.60. The problem though, is that by the time next season comes around, Miller will be 37 years old, meaning that he is very close to the end of his career, unless he plans on retiring at the end of this season, and very few teams will want to sign a goalie who is that old who has not already won a championship to help in their quest to win one.
6. WILL: Petr Mrazek
It is quite possible that this is the year in which the Detroit Red Wings’ consecutive playoff streak is snapped, which is both a positive and a negative for the franchise as they desperately need to infuse their roster with young and better players through the draft. For the past 3 seasons, Detroit has been alternating their starting goalies, and now that Jimmy Howard is injured, they have once again made Petr Mrazek their starting goalie, and despite some lackluster play this season, he is still considered to be a rising star amongst the NHL’s young netminders. Mrazek has proven that he can play great in both the regular season and playoffs, which is why he will most likely finish his career with at least one Cup under his belt; with the only real question being if he will do so with a rebuilt Detroit team, or if he will win after either signing or being traded elsewhere.
5. WON’T: Henrik Lundqvist
The fact that Henrik Lundqvist only has a single Vezina win under his belt is a shame in it of itself, but what is a real travesty is the fact that he will probably finish his career without ever winning the Stanley Cup. Lundqvist has so far spent his entire 12-year career with the New York Rangers, who have been a good team for some time now, and in that time, he has garnered a save percentage of .920 and a goals against average of 2.30; and this season he will pass the 400 win mark. The closest he came to winning a Cup came in 2014 when the Rangers lost to Los Angeles in the final, and based on his performance this year, it is getting harder to believe that he will be able to lead New York to a championship; and at 34 years old, if his skills are now diminishing, he will simply continue to regress as time goes by.
4. WILL: Braden Holtby
The Washington Capitals have been a great team for years now, and they have been considered a Stanley Cup contender for several of those seasons, but prior to 2014, they never really had a true number one starting goalie. That all changed though once Braden Holtby came into his own, as he is now not only the Capitals clear starter, but also one of the top 3 goalies currently in the NHL, who may in fact go on to win his second consecutive Vezina after this season is done. Based on how he has played the last 3 seasons, Holtby will definitely end up winning a Stanley Cup, especially in the next few years, as long as the Capitals are able to actually play complete and team focused games in the playoffs; and if they cannot do that, than Holtby can easily go somewhere else to win.
3. WON’T: Ben Bishop
For most of his career, Ben Bishop was regarded as a backup netminder without a very bright future in the NHL, but fortunately for him, he was able to find a home with the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was in the 2013-14 season that Bishop exploded onto to scene and became the Lightning’s number 1 starter, which is a position he still holds today, and he nearly helped lead the team to a championship in 2015 when Tampa lost to Chicago in the Final. This season will likely be Bishop’s final year with the Lightning, as he is expected to sign elsewhere in free agency, which is a bad move on his part because Tampa is built to win for the next couple of years, and as it has been proven in other sports, whenever a player decides to take money elsewhere and leaves the team that helped make them great, they hardly ever have the same level of success.
2. WILL: Frederik Andersen
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been a comically bad and underachieving team for well over a decade, but now that they are finally being run by a coaching staff and front office who know how to do a proper rebuild, they are already starting to show some very positive results. A big reason for the Leafs’ failures over the years was the fact that they did not have a true number one goalie, but they have appeared to have solved that problem with their current starter Frederik Andersen who they traded for last offseason. It is true that Andersen started off the season a tad poorly, but he has since proven that he can be a legitimate starter in the NHL, and he is fortunate enough to be surrounded by a very young, excited, and talented group of players who have already started to demonstrate that they can win; and seeing as Toronto is poised to be a great team in the near future, Andersen’s chances of winning a Cup are quite good.
1. WON’T: Roberto Luongo
Much like Henrik Lundqvist, Roberto Luongo came incredibly close to winning his first Stanley Cup, when he and his team lost in a Final, but whereas Lundqvist may still have a few years left in the tank to win something, Luongo is very close to retirement. Luongo is currently playing in his 17th NHL season, and serves as the starting goalie for the Florida Panthers, who many believed could have been a playoff threat this season, but thanks to injuries and management issues, the team will be lucky if they even make the playoffs. At 37 years old, Luongo is basically at the end of his career, and if he plays another 2 seasons in Florida, fine, but the team does not look like they will be winning anything in that time as other teams just keep improving, so it is highly probable that Luongo will be one of the only goalies in NHL history to have over 450 career wins and no Stanley Cups to show for it.
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