Every young hockey player dreams of one day holding the Stanley Cup above their head and skating a victory lap around the ice. The Stanley Cup is the hardest Championship trophy to win in professional sports: teams play a grueling 82-game-long season, followed by four 7-game series, which can add an additional 28 games to the total number played that year. A team needs the right combination of hockey All-Stars, veterans, rookies and role players to perform at their very best at the same time. The Stanley Cup is the stuff of hockey legends; once you win, your name is engraved on the trophy itself, and your name becomes hockey history.
For most players, the Stanley Cup is a dream that will never actually came to pass, while a small percentage of players earn the right to carry the Cup on multiple occasions. We have found 15 forgettable players who have had their names engraved on the Stanley Cup more than once, but had made only the smallest of contributions towards winning the prize. While they may have done small things that contributed to the success of the team, the team would most likely have won the Cup anyways had they not been on the team. We have also identified the greatest of NHL legends who never had the opportunity to hoist the Cup over their heads, even though their hockey careers are some of the most impressive in the history of the game.
Some of these hockey superstars and the teams they played with simply weren’t able to overcome the marathon that is the NHL playoffs, while others had the unfortunate task of trying to beat the powerhouse hockey dynasties of 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s.
30 Multiple Rings: Brooks Orpik (2009, 2018)
The two-time Stanley Cup Champion is one of the least talented players to have earned more than one Cup Ring. Brooks Orpik won his first Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009 when the Pens were overflowing with young talent; that year, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby had finished first and third, respectively, in league scoring.
Orpik, with 19 points that season and 4 over 24 playoff games, was hardly even a factor.
With the 2018 Washington Capitals, Orpik recorded 10 points on the season and scored a single goal during the playoffs, his first goal in 220 games.
29 No Rings: Mats Sundin
Over his 19-year NHL career, Mats Sundin recorded 1,349 points, an average higher than a point per game. The long-time captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs led his team to two conference final appearances but never made it to the Cup finals. In 2009, Sundin had his last chance at glory with the Vancouver Canucks, but lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round. The closest Sundin got to winning the Cup was playing on the Quebec Nordiques team two seasons before they won as the Colorado Avalanche.
28 Multiple Rings: Aaron Ward (1996, 1997, 2006)
Aaron Ward is a three-time Stanley Cup Champion, winning twice with the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998, and once with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. In 1997, Ward recorded an embarrassingly-low 7 points over 49 regular season and 19 post-season games. In 1998, Ward didn’t even appear in a single post-season game; his name was still engraved on the Stanley Cup, however, as he participated in more than half of the regular season games that year. Ward won his final cup with the Hurricanes in 2006, after posting career highs in goals (6) and points (25) on the season.
27 No Rings: Jeremy Roenick
One of the most charismatic players to ever play in the NHL, Jeremy Roenick was also one of the most talented. He is one of only three American-born players to ever reach 500 goals, and finished his career with 1,216 points over 20 NHL seasons.
In 1992, Roenick had his best chance to win the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks.
That year, the Blackhawks rolled through the first three rounds before losing 4 games straight to the champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Roenick would never again reach the Cup finals, and retired in 2009.
26 Multiple Rings: Shawn Thornton (2007, 2011)
Enforcer Shawn Thornton has earned himself not one, but two Stanley Cup rings over his lacklustre, 14-year NHL career. In 2007, Thornton was lifting the Cup with the Anaheim Ducks, after producing 9 points in 48 regular season games and zero points over 15 post-season games. Thornton won his second ring with the Boston Bruins in 2011, but was again a non-factor in the playoffs, with one assist in 18 games. Thornton is not known for his scoring or play-making abilities; his main role was to play 10 minutes a game to give the stars a rest.
25 No Rings: Henrik Lundqvist
King Henrik is the best European-born goaltender in NHL history. Over his career, Lundqvist has set multiple franchise and NHL records, including being the fastest goalie to ever record 400 NHL wins. Lundqvist had his best chance at a Stanley Cup Title in 2014, when he led the New York Rangers to the Cup Finals. After beating out Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Montreal in the first three rounds, Lundqvist’s Rangers couldn’t get past the Los Angeles Kings. With the decline of the Rangers in recent years, it is unlikely Lundqvist will get another shot unless he is traded.
24 Multiple Rings: Daniel Carcillo (2013, 2015)
In order to have one’s name etched on the Stanley Cup, a player on the winning team must have either participated in half of the regular season’s games, or at least one game of the Stanley Cup final. Daniel Carcillo has had his name engraved on the Cup twice, but neither time met those requirements.
Carcillo was a member of the Chicago Blackhawks when they won the Stanley Cup in 2013 and in 2015.
Both times, Carcillo did not participate in over half of the regular season games, and he never appeared in the Stanley Cup final. While the Blackhawks must have petitioned on Carcillo’s behalf to have his name added, he was obviously a non-factor when it comes to actually winning the Stanley Cup.
23 No Rings: Cam Neely
Cam Neely is considered one of the best all-around players in the history of the NHL, and would have had a more historic career if it hadn’t been cut short because of a nagging knee injury. Neely was a member of several great Boston Bruins teams from 1986 to 1991, and reached the conference title finals three times and the Stanley Cup finals twice. During the 1991 conference finals, Ulf Samuelsson would land a dirty hit on Neely, resulting in a devastating knee injury that Neely was never quite able to recover from. Although having never won the Cup as a player, Neely has been the President of the Boston Bruins since 2010, and was able to hoist the Cup after the Bruins won it in 2011.
22 Multiple Rings: Jordan Nolan (2012, 2014)
In 2012, during his first NHL season, Jordan Nolan played in 26 regular season games for the Los Angeles Kings and recorded only 4 points. That season, the Kings barely qualified for the playoffs, but, once there, steamrolled their way to the Stanley Cup Championship. Nolan earned his first Stanley Cup ring, having played in all 20 playoff games and having recorded 2 points. Two years later, in 2014, the Kings won the Cup again; that year, Nolan earned his second ring despite being called on to play in only three of the King’s post-season games.
21 No Rings: Joe Thornton
Joe Thornton has played in 1,493 regular season games and 160 post-season games, has won both the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP and the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer, but has never won the Stanley Cup. In both 2010 and 2011, Thornton made it to the Conference finals with the San Jose Sharks, but both times the Sharks failed to advance. In 2016, Thornton reached the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time, but lost the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. Thornton is set to turn 39 before the start of the 2018-19 season, which means that his time is running out.
20 Multiple Rings: Craig Ludwig (1986, 1999)
Over his 17 NHL seasons, Craig Ludwig played in 1,256 games and recorded terrible production stats: 222 points, or 1 point every 5 games, and 38 goals, or, one goal every 33 games. As part of the Stanley-Cup-winning 1986 Montreal Canadiens, Ludwig recorded just 6 points in the 69 regular games he played, and only one point in all 20 post-season games.
Thirteen years later, in 1999, Ludwig won his second Cup with the Dallas Stars after Brett Hull’s controversial OT goal in Game 6.
Ludwig would retire soon after, but remains one of the worst-producing, multi-Cup-winning Stanley Cup champions ever.
19 No Rings: Adam Oates
Adam Oates is the seventh all-time leader in Assists (1,079) and eighteenth in Points (1,420). Oates was a clear playmaker in the NHL, and recorded 6 consecutive seasons with 60+ assists; his streak was only broken because of the shortened lockout season in 1995. Oates made it to his first Cup final as a Washington Capital in 1998, where the Caps were swept by the Red Wings. He had another shot in 2003 with the Anaheim Ducks, this time losing in seven games. Oates retired at the end of the 2004 season having never won a Cup.
18 Multiple Rings: Craig Adams (2006, 2009)
Craig Adams played in 951 NHL games and totalled 160 points; during his 106 post-season games, Adams produced just 12 points. The 2006 Carolina Hurricanes won their first Cup in team history with Adams producing unimpressive career highs in single-season goals (10) and points (21). Adams was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2009 trade deadline, and played in all 24 of the Pens’ post-season games en route to another Stanley Cup ring. Adams retired at the end of the 2015 season, but if he had lasted 2 more seasons in Pittsburgh, he would have had two more rings.
17 No Rings: Dino Ciccarelli
Dino Ciccarelli is one of only twenty NHL players to record 600 career goals, and Ciccarelli did it the hard way. Ciccarelli was known for standing in front of the net, deflecting shots past goaltenders and banging home loose pucks. During Ciccarelli’s rookie campaign, he helped the Minnesota North Stars advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, eventually losing to the New York Islanders in 5 games. After that, the closest Ciccarelli came to earning a Cup ring was watching the 1997 Detroit Red Wings hoist the Cup after playing with them from 1992-1996.
16 Multiple Rings: Colin Fraser (2010, 2012)
Colin Fraser is a two-time Stanley Cup Champion, having won one Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010 and one with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012. During the Blackhawk’s 2010 Cup run, Fraser saw the bench most of the post-season and only played in 3 games.
Two years later, Fraser played in all post-season contests with the Kings, but was hardly impactful with only 2 points.
In 2014, Fraser was just 8 regular season games shy of winning his third Cup; he played 33 regular season games and made zero playoff appearances with the Stanley Cup-winning Kings, and wasn’t eligible for a third ring.
15 No Rings: Pavel Bure
The Russian Rocket was the best goal scorer of his generation. For three seasons, he led the NHL in goals, and over his career, posted five 50+ goal seasons and two 60+ goal seasons. Because of injuries and a relatively early retirement, Bure played in only NHL 702 games, finishing with 437 total goals and 779 points. Bure’s goal rate of 0.62 goals per game is 5th all-time in the NHL. Bure’s best shot at a Stanley Cup was in 1994 with the Vancouver Canucks; the Canucks advanced to the Cup Finals but lost to the Messier-led New York Rangers in 7 games.
14 Multiple Rings: Wendell Young (1991, 1992)
Wendell Young was the lucky backup goalie to play for the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Tom Barasso was the starting goalie for the Penguins during both the 1991 and 1992 seasons, and Young, the backup, only earned 18 starts a season. While the eligibility rules for having one’s name engraved on the Cup are clear for players, they aren’t applicable to backup goalies. Young has his name engraved twice on the Cup despite never playing a single post-season game.
13 No Rings: Tony Esposito
Tony Esposito spent 15 of his 17 NHL seasons as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. During the time that Esposito played for the Blackhawks, they made it to two Stanley Cup Finals (1971, 1973), but lost both times to the powerful Montreal Canadiens. Esposito went on to play 12 more NHL seasons, but never again got that close to hoisting the Cup. Esposito retired with 423 career wins and is currently tied for ninth all-time in career shut-outs with 76.
12 Multiple Rings: Mathieu Dandenault (1997, 1998, 2002)
Mathieu Dandenault played for the Detroit Red Wings during their glory years, when Detroit won 3 Stanley Cups in 6 years. Dandenault was a member of the Red Wings’ roster over that time, but was hardly memorable or impactful. During the Cup victories in 1997 and 1998, Dandenault played in only three playoff games total, but was still eligible to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup because he had appeared in enough regular season games. In 2002, Dandenault was finally allowed to experience a Stanley Cup final; he played in all 23 post-season games, but his 3 points were hardly the reason the Red Wings won the Championship.
11 No Rings: Mike Gartner
Mike Gartner is registered as the fastest skater in NHL history, and recorded the fastest-ever timed lap without a skating start. Gartner is also one of only 7 NHL players to score 700+ goals. He played most of his 19 NHL seasons with the Washington Capitals, but became a member of the New York Rangers in 1990. Gartner was on the Rangers’ roster at the beginning of the Ranger’s Stanley-Cup-winning 1993-94 season, but was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs before the end of the regular season. This would be the closest Gartner would ever get to winning a Cup, as he never played in a Stanley Cup Final.
10 Multiple Rings: Rob Scuderi (2009, 2012)
Rob Scuderi is a two-time Stanley Cup Champion, winning once with the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins and again with the 2012 Los Angeles Kings. As a member of the Penguins, Schuderi played in 81 regular season games and registered just one goal; he posted his second goal that season during one of his 24 post-season games. During the 2012 season, Scuderi was even less productive, scoring only one goal over his 82 regular season games and 20 post-season games combined. Despite his two Cup rings, Scuderi’s stats clearly illustrate his lack of talent: only 8 goals and 110 points in 783 games.
9 No Rings: Pat Lafontaine
Pat Lafontaine played his first NHL season in 1984 with the New York Islanders. The Islanders were coming off four straight Stanley Cup Championships, and were poised to win another against the Edmonton Oilers.
The Oilers ended up beating the Islanders in five games, and Lafontaine would never again play in a Stanley Cup final.
Lafontaine is considered one of the best American-born hockey players, and in 1992-93 recorded the most points in a season ever by an American-born player (148 points). That year, Lafontaine finished as the runner-up for both the Hart trophy for league MVP, and the Lady Byng trophy for the league’s most sportsmanlike player.
8 Multiple Rings: Grant Jennings (1991, 1992)
Grant Jennings was a member of the back-to-back Stanley Cup winning Pittsburgh Penguins. Jennings was traded to the Penguins at the end of the 1991 season, and only registered 13 regular season games for the club. Luckily for Jennings, he was inserted into the lineup for Games 1 and 4 of the Stanley Cup finals, and was consequently eligible for a Stanley Cup ring. During the 1992 season, Jennings did not play in the Cup Finals, but his 53 regular season appearances earned him a spot on the Cup. Over two years, including both regular and post-season games, Jennings provided a forgettable total of 6 goals and 9 assists.
7 No Rings: Phil Housley
Phil Housley finished his career fourth in both goals and points on the all-time scoring lists for NHL defensemen. Despite his impressive production, Housley had to wait until his 16th NHL season before he finally had the chance to play in a Stanley Cup Final. In 1998, Housley and the Washington Capitals made it the Finals, but once there, were swept by the Detroit Red Wings. After that, Housley played five more NHL seasons, but never again made it to the Finals.
6 Multiple Rings: Jay Caufield (1991, 1992)
From 1988-1993, Jay Caufield was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins but was demoted to the minors from time to time. During the Penguins’ 1991 season, Caufield played in only 23 regular season games and didn’t suit up once during the post-season; nevertheless, his name was engraved on the Cup after Pittsburgh applied for an exemption in his name. During the 1992 season, Caufield again had his name engraved, having played in enough games to qualify without an exemption. Caufield recorded zero points in all 55 games he played that season, and finished his career with 5 goals and 13 points over 208 career games.
5 No Rings: Gilbert Perreault
From 1970 to 1987, Gilbert Perreault played his entire 17-year-long NHL career with the Buffalo Sabres. Perreault holds Sabres franchise records in games (1191), goals (512), assists (814) and points (1326). Perreault had his best chance at a Stanley Cup in 1975, when the Sabres played the defending Stanley Cup Champion Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals. Unfortunately for Perreault, the Sabres were no match for the Broad Street Bullies. Perreault played 90 post-season games and recorded 103 post-season points, but was never able to bring the Cup home to Buffalo.
4 Multiple Rings: Chris Dingman (2001, 2004)
Over his 8 NHL seasons, Chris Dingman vacillated between the NHL, the minor leagues, and the “healthy scratch” designation. Never able to land a full-time roster spot, Dingman averaged only 48 NHL games a season over his career. The 2001 Colorado Avalanche were unstoppable, and weren’t in desperate need of the 2 points Dingman contributed over the regular season. After being scratched for the first 4 games of the playoffs, Dingman was given a roster spot for the next 16 post-season games, and earned his first Stanley Cup ring. Dingman’s second Cup came in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning; he played in 74 regular- and 23 post-season games but his production was still an embarrassingly low 8 total points.
3 No Rings: Dale Hawerchuk
Dale Hawerchuk played in 16 NHL seasons, and is currently 20th on the list of All-Time Points. Of Hawerchuk’s 1,409 points, 518 are goals. At the beginning of his career, Hawerchuk played first with the Winnipeg Jet and then with the Buffalo Sabres, but wasn’t able to make it past the second round of the playoffs with either team.
As his career was coming to an end, Hawerchuk signed with the Philadelphia Flyers, and made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1997.
The Flyers would lose four straight to the Detroit Red Wings, who were on route to back-to-back Stanley Cups, and Hawerchuk would retire at the end of the season.
2 Multiple Rings: Ken Daneyko (1995, 2000, 2003)
Ken Daneyko played his entire 1,283-game-long NHL career with the New Jersey Devils. Daneyko was a “stay-at-home defenseman”, and never focused on producing points; in fact, he holds the unflattering record for the longest regular season goal-less streak in the NHL (255 games). Daneyko’s career stats show that he hit the 20-point mark only twice in his career, and averaged less than a shot a game. Daneyko was a part of the Cup-winning Devils in 1995, 2000 and 2003, but he owes much of his success to team-leaders Scott Stevens and Martin Brodeur.
1 No Rings: Marcel Dionne
Marcel Dionne is the NHL player with the most career points who does not have a Stanley Cup ring. He has 344 points more than the next player in that category, who happens to be Joe Thornton. Dionne finished his career with 1,771 points, 1.31 average points per game and 713 goals, ranking him, respectively, 6th, 3rd and 5th of all time. Despite spending time with the Detroit Red Wings, the Los Angeles King, and the New York Rangers, Dionne was never able to advance past the second round of the playoffs, let alone win hockey’s greatest prize. He retired Cup-less in 1989.