When it comes to the NHL, you really need to have teamwork if you're going to win the Stanley Cup. In the NBA, a big three is all you need to be a dynasty. In the NFL, an elite quarterback can take you all the way. In MLB, you just need some big arms in the rotation to win a World Series.
But in the NHL? You gotta have it all -- a world-class goalie, a great group of defencemen and a lineup of productive forwards that can score, protect the puck and play defence.
Sometimes, however, players who don't contribute all that much manage to win a Stanley Cup, thanks to the stars on their team. And sometimes, the best players in the NHL reach the Stanley Cup final, but their team falls short.
Here, we take a look at the best player on the Stanley Cup losing team over the past 10 years, and the worst player on the last 10 winners.
20 Best Loser 2016: Joe Thornton
'Jumbo Joe' had accomplished everything prior to the San Jose Sharks' first trip to the Stanley Cup Final. He won the scoring title (Art Ross Trophy), and the Hart Trophy during the 2005-06 season. Joe Thornton also helped Team Canada win gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He had also hit the 1,000-career points mark some seasons earlier. All that was missing now was a champinoship.
In 2015-16, Thornton led the Sharks in scoring with 19 goals and 82 points. He added 21 points in 24 playoff games, but Thornton's Sharks ultimately fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.
At this point, Thornton is one of the greatest players who never won a Stanley Cup. Now at the age of 37, time is running out for the Future Hall of Famer to add that elusive ring to his resume.
19 Worst Winner 2016: Brian Dumoulin
The 2016 Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins were definitely one of the greatest in recent memory. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Nick Bonino, Carl Hagelin and Kris Letang formed one of the NHL's most dominant, high-flying scoring units, while the defence played a lot more responsibly under new head coach Mike Sullivan. First-year goalie Matt Murray took over for a struggling Marc-Andre Fleury and led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup.
But blueliner Brian Dumoulin didn't have much to do with that championship team. He didn't even score a goal in the regular season and had just 16 points in 79 regular season games. In the playoffs, Dumoulin had eight points in 24 games, but posted a mere minus-three rating. But luckily for Dumoulin, his teammates bailed him out.
18 Best Loser 2015: Steven Stamkos
It took a long time for Steven Stamkos, but the wait was well worth it. After years of playing on a struggling team while fighting injuries, the Stamkos-led Tampa Bay Lightning reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2015. It was their first trip to the big dance since winning it all in 2004.
After missing a large portion of 2013-14 with a broken leg, Stamkos took the league by storm with 43 goals and 72 points -- tying him with Tyler Johnson for the team lead. Stamkos also added seven goals and 18 points in 26 playoff games, but the Lightning fell to the Chicago Blackhawks in a hard-fought six-game series. But Stamkos did his job in carrying Tampa Bay that far, they just didn't have enough to keep up with the Blackhawks and their 2010s dynasty
17 Worst Winner 2015: Marcus Kruger
Marcus Kruger has struggled to become a top, reliable forward throughout his career. And though his name is engraved on the 2015 Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup championship team, Kruger wasn't exactly one of the players who earned it the way stars like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith did.
Kruger played in just 41 games during the 2015-16 season and didn't score one goal, while registering just four assists and a minus-five rating. Kruger didn't produce much in the playoffs, either. He had just two goals and four points in 23 games with a woeful minus-five rating.
As of right now, Kruger's career-best season was 2013-14 when he had eight goals and 28 points. He looks to go down as one of the not-so-greatest Stanley Cup champions in recent memory. Then again, it's only about winning championships -- isn't it?
16 Best Loser 2014: Henrik Lundqvist
Just two years after reaching the Eastern Conference Final, Henrik Lundqvist posted a remarkable 33-win campaign with a .920 save percentage and 2.36 goals against average, leading the Blueshirts to their first Stanley Cup Final in 20 years. The Rangers were a well-balanced unit up front and on the blueline, but Lundqvist's playoff heroics carried New York to the Final against the Los Angeles Kings, who were two years removed from their first championship in history.
Lundqvist had a remarkable showing in the 2014 playoffs, posting a 13-11 record with a 2.14 goals against average and .927 save percentage. Unfortunately, his team failed to help him out, blowing constant leads in the finals and falling in five games. Three of the games went into overtime, but the Rangers never bailed out their star goaltender.
15 Worst Winner 2014: Mike Richards
In order to boost their Stanley Cup chances, the Los Angeles Kings acquired standout two-way centre Mike Richards from the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2011 offseason. Richards was a key piece of their 2012 Stanley Cup-winning team, but his age and style of play began to wear him down significantly heading into the 2013-14 season.
Richards scored just 11 goals and 41 points, posting a minus-six rating during the 2013-14 regular season. His postseason play wasn't all that much better, as Richards had just 10 points in 26 postseason games while posting a woeful minus-six rating. Richards continued to struggle and was eventually bought out by the Kings. As of now, he is not under contract with another NHL team. He was easily the weak link of the Kings 2014 Stanley Cup team.
14 Best Loser 2013: Patrice Bergeron
In a lockout-shortened 2012-12 season (48 games), Patrice Bergeron had a strong year with 10 goals and 32 points despite missing six games. Bergeron played hero throughout the 2013 playoffs, scoring two clutch goals in Game 7 of the opening round against the Toronto Maple Leafs to help Boston avoid consecutive first-round eliminations.
Bergeron carried the Bruins on his back throughout the playoffs, scoring nine goals and 15 points in 22 games. He completely shut down the Pittsburgh Penguins' high-flying offence in the Eastern Conference Final, as the Bruins allowed just two goals in a four-game sweep.
Unfortunately for Bergeron, his Bruins allowed a Stanley Cup parade in beantown slip away. With overtime losses in Games 1 and 4, plus a meltdown for the ages in the final minute of Game 6, Boston lost the Stanley Cup Final to the Chicago Blackhawks. That was not on Bergeron, who had a terrific campaign in leading his team that far.
13 Worst Winner 2013: Nick Leddy
Though Nick Leddy as formed into a solid top-four blueliner on the New York Islanders, it's important to remember there was a reason why the Chicago Blackhawks gave up on him in the first place. Leddy came into Chicago with a promising future, but he was never able to blossom into the talented blueliner there that we all know today.
Leddy posted decent numbers during the 2012-13 season, scoring six goals and 18 points with a sensational plus-15 rating. He also averaged 17:25 of ice time per game. But when it came to the playoffs, it was an entirely different story for Leddy.
In 23 playoff games, Leddy had just two assists, played 14:21 per game and had a terrible minus-eight rating. Luckily for Leddy, the Blackhawks got by with him and won the Stanley Cup any way.
12 Best Loser 2012: Zach Parise
Zach Parise was the star of the New Jersey Devils franchise after the lockout when icons Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer left town. Parise enjoyed five 30-goal seasons with New Jersey, but this team kept having meltdowns in the postseason. That all changed in 2012, when his 31 goals and 69 points helped New Jersey embark on a lengthy playoff run.
New Jersey took down the top-seeded New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final, and Parise helped lead the Devils' charge to the postseason with eight goals and 15 points in 24 playoff games.
But New Jersey's speed was countered by the Los Angeles Kings' physical and defensive gameplan that completely neutralized the Devils' offence. Martin Brodeur had a disastrous performance, and the Kings left Parise and co. ringless, winning the Stanley Cup in six games.
11 Worst Winner 2012: Colin Fraser
Gotta give credit to Colin Fraser, who is a winner of two Stanley Cups. He won it all with Chicago Blackhawks in 2010 and with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012. But during the 2011-12 season, Fraser was much more of a liability than a responsibility. He had just two goals and eight points in 67 games and averaged a mere 9:44 of ice time per game. Not exactly great numbers from a Stanley Cup champion.
In the playoffs, Fraser got to play in 18 games -- though he really didn't make much of an impact. Fraser had just one goal and one assist, posting a minus-two rating while averaging just 8:34 time on ice per game.
Then again, having two rings and all probably means the joke is on us. But Fraser was far from being a key player during the 2012 championship run.
10 Best Loser 2011: Daniel Sedin
After missing a big portion of the 2009-10 season that opened the door for twin brother Henrik to take home both the Art Ross and Hart Trophy, Daniel Sedin came back in 2010-11 and had what shall go down as his greatest season ever. He scored career highs in goals (41), and points (104), and helped the Canucks win the Presidents' Trophy as the NHL's top team during the regular season.
Sedin led the NHL's highest-scoring offence into the 2011 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins. Daniel scored nine goals and 20 points in 25 playoff games, but it wasn't enough as the big, bad Bruins beat the Canucks in a thrilling seven-game series.
The Canucks wasted a franchise year by not winning that one big game. It's a shame that Daniel's hard efforts went to complete waste.
9 Worst Winner of 2011: Shawn Thornton
Dare the long-term enforcer be on this list, considering his career-best season was 2010-11 when he scored 10 goals and 20 points? (Hey, those are good numbers for an enforcer, alright?)
As of this writing, Shawn Thornton only has 42 goals and 102 points in 699 career NHL games, but again -- he's nothing more than a tough guy. He drops the gloves with others to ignite a spark for his team. Nothing more.
Nonetheless, Thornton wasn't much of a factor during the Bruins' 2011 run to the Stanley Cup. He played in 18 games and only had one assist. He also racked up 24 penalty minutes, and that obviously does more harm than good for a team. Props to Thornton for being a Stanley Cup champion, but he didn't play a big part in it.
8 Best Loser 2010: Mike Richards
The Philadelphia Flyers needed to win a shootout in game 82 of the 2009-10 regular season to qualify for the playoffs. Mike Richards led the team in scoring with 31 goals and 62 points, as they narrowly qualified for spring hockey. The Flyers then pulled off a pair of big upsets, eliminating the second-seeded New Jersey Devils in round one before eliminating a 3-0 series deficit against the Boston Bruins to reach the Eastern Conference Final.
The Flyers would beat the Montreal Canadiens before meeting the Chicago Blackhawks for the Stanley Cup. Richards scored seven goals and 23 points in as many playoff games, but Chicago simply outmatched Philadelphia all over the ice, and won the Stanley Cup in six games.
But Richards simply did his part in trying to help Philadelphia win the championship. That loss was not on him.
7 Worst Winner 2010: Jordan Hendry
Jordan Hendry was never able to find a full-time fit in the NHL. He played parts of five seasons in the NHL (four with Chicago, one with the Anaheim Ducks), and yet 2009-10 was his best season. That year, he played in 43 games and scored two goals and eight points for a plus-five rating during the regular season. Having Toews, Kane, Keith, Seabrook and Hossa will do that for you.
When it came to the postseason, Hendry was a major liability for the Blackhawks. He played in 15 games and did not register one point. He averaged just 8:09 time on ice per game and had a porous minus-four rating. Hendry was out of the NHL after the 2012-13 season and is now playing overseas.
6 Best Loser 2009: Pavel Datsyuk
The Detroit Red Wings looked to be in prime position to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. Pavel Datsyuk led this star-studded core with 31 goals and 97 points (tied for his career-best), which narrowly edged Henrik Zetterberg for the lead in team scoring. Detroit had it easy with the top-seeded San Jose Sharks being eliminated by the Anaheim Ducks in the opening round of the playoffs, too.
Datsyuk scored one goal and nine points in 16 playoff games, leading the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second-straight year. However, this time it was Pittsburgh's turn to win the Stanley Cup, defeating Datsyuk and the Red Wings in a thrilling seven-game series.
It was a career year for Datsyuk, but it didn'tquite have the perfect ending.
5 Worst Winner 2009: Pascal Dupuis
Pascal Dupuis was in fact one of Sidney Crosby's best linemates ever from the 2009-10 to the 2012-13 season, scoring at least 17 goals each of those years. He wasn't the Penguins worst player during the 2008-09 regular season -- scoring 12 goals and 28 points in 71 games, but Dupuis did struggle to make an impact when it came to the playoffs.
He played in 16 of the Penguins' playoff games, but Dupuis struggled big time. He didn't score a single goal and he didn't have a single assist, either. He averaged just 8:23 per game and posted a minus-five rating.
But now, many of us will remember him as one of the top goal-scoring Penguins in recent memory, playing with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. But at the time of the Pens' run at the Stanley Cup in 2009, Dupuis struggled aplenty.
4 Best Loser 2008: Sidney Crosby
Sidney Crosby is the world's greatest hockey player today. He also was back in the 2007-08 season, where the 20-year-old already had two 100-point seasons plus an Art Ross and Hart Trophy under his belt. And despite missing 29 games in the 2007-08 season, 'Sid the Kid' scored 24 goals and 72 points.
Crosby led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup Final against the Presidents' Trophy-winning Detroit Red Wings. He scored an insane six goals and 27 points (!) in just 20 playoff games. Though Crosby managed to neutralize some of the NHL's best blueliners during the run, the Red Wings were a tad bit better.
Detroit took home its fourth Stanley Cup in 11 years, finishing off Pittsburgh in a thrilling six-game series. But no need for Crosby and co. to worry, as Pittsburgh won the Stanley Cup the following season.
3 Worst Winner 2008: Chris Chelios
It sure doesn't feel right putting a Hall of Famer on here who scored 185 goals and 948 points in 1,651 while winning three Stanley Cups, and three Norris Trophies. But Chris Chelios simply played hockey for far too long, but the Red Wings treated the veteran with respect, and he got his name on the Stanley Cup in 2008.
Chelios, who was 46 years of age during the Red Wings' run to the 2008 Stanley Cup, played in 69 games and finished with with three goals and 12 points on the season. Not too bad for a guy his age. But in the playoffs, Chelios didn't score a single point despite playing in 14 playoff games. By this point, Chelios was simply too slow to play the game effectively -- but persistence did pay off at least, didn't it?
2 Best Loser 2007: Dany Heatley
Dany Heatley was one of hockey's best pure-goal scorers, but 2006-07 was like no other for the Ottawa Senators star. Playing on a dangerous line with Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson, Heatley tied a career-high with 50 goals and had a personal best of 105 points in 2006-07, leading the Senators in scoring. After years of disappointing playoff runs, the Senators reached their first-ever Stanley Cup Final in 2007.
Heatley scored seven goals and 22 points in 20 playoff games, but the Senators were no match for the Anaheim Ducks' checking line of Rob Niedermayer, Travis Moen and Samuel Pahlsson. Anaheim finished off the Senators in five games, doing it with relative ease as well. Unfortunately for Heatley, he never came close to those career totals again and no longer plays in the NHL.
1 Worst Winner 2007: Joe DiPenta
The 2007 Stanley Cup-winning had it all when it came to playing for Lord Stanley's mug. A top-notch goalie in J.S. Giguere, two Hall of Fame defencemen in Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer, elite scorers in Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Teemu Selanne, Chris Kunitz and Andy Mcdonald, plus that elite checking line of Moen-Niedermayer-Pahlsson.
This was undoubtedly one of the best Stanley Cup teams in recent memory, but if there was a weak link on this team, it was defenceman Joe DiPenta. He had just two goals and eight points during the 2006-07 regular season and didn't register one point during the 16 playoff games he appeared in.
DiPenta went on to play one more season with the Ducks in the NHL before moving on. At least he has a Stanley Cup to go with his rather short NHL career.
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