In 1892, Lord Stanley of Preston was the Governor General of the young nation of Canada. A staunch supporter of the game of hockey, he decided to spend 10 guineas (worth about $48 at the time) on a trophy awarded to the best amateur team in the country. Don't scoff -- $48 back then is the equivalent of about $1,200 today. That original cup now sits behind glass at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
Interestingly, Lord Stanley never got to see his cup ever presented. Before it was awarded to Montreal HC in 1893, he was summoned back to England after his older brother Edward Stanley died. He became the 16th Earl of Derby upon his return, presumably spending the rest of his days wearing a monocle and saying "indubitably" a lot.
Since the 1914-15 season, the cup has been won a combined 95 times by 23 different teams. Most of the game's greatest players have tasted the ecstasy of lifting the cup, with players like Gretzky, Orr, and Lemieux getting their names on Lord Stanley's mug more than once.
However, over the years, a few downright terrible NHLers have sneaked through the cracks, getting their name on the trophy even though they barely belonged in the league. These players really had nothing going for them except being in the right place at the right time, getting into the lineup because hey, somebody has to be the 13th forward or 7th defenseman.
Here are the 15 worst players to ever win a Stanley Cup.
15 15. Mike Commodore
During the run the Calgary Flames had to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004, journeyman defenseman Mike Commodore was pressed into action, playing tough minutes on a team that depended on goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff to steal games.
Commodore instantly became a fan favorite. Not so much for his play, but for his bushy red playoff beard and gigantic afro. After Calgary lost to eventual champions Tampa Bay, Commodore moved to Carolina, winning a Cup the very next season with the Hurricanes. His crowning achievement probably came in 2008, when his agent somehow managed to convince the Columbus Blue Jackets to give him $18.75 million over five years.
14 14. Darren McCarty
Darren McCarty was well known for his role as a gritty forward on the dominant Detroit Red Wings teams of the late-1990s. At his best, he was a tough player who could contribute with the odd goal to go along with getting under opponents skin and playing a defensive role.
13 13. Dan Hinote
You know in old episodes of Star Trek, there was that anonymous guy in the red shirt who would always get killed during away missions to the latest planet? Dan Hinote is the hockey version of that guy. He is forgettable in every way.
Just making it to the NHL was an accomplishment for Hinote. He was a forgettable college player, and a barely average OHL and AHL player before being called up by the Colorado Avalanche as roster filler in 2000. He eventually played parts of six seasons with the Avs, scoring a whole 27 goals in 353 games before being shipped to the St. Louis Blues where he'd put up equally forgettable numbers.
12 12. John Grahame
John Grahame was a forgettable back-up goaltender who played for some terrible teams in the early-2000s. In parts of nine seasons with Boston, Tampa Bay, and Carolina, he backstopped his teams with a .898 save percentage and a 2.79 GAA. In his only season as a starter, he went 29-22-1 with a GAA of 3.06 and a save percentage of .889. That's pretty terrible.
11 11. Joe DiPenta
I'll forgive you for not knowing who Joe DiPenta is. Dan Hinote is Kim Kardashian compared to Joe DiPenta.
10 10. Kelly Buchberger
For years, Kelly Buchberger was a mainstay in the Edmonton Oliers lineup, playing the role of defensive forward and penalty killer on a team with very little in talent. He somehow lingered in the NHL for 16 seasons, a feat that will never cease to impress me.
9 9. Jim McKenzie
For some reason, eight separate NHL teams actively employed Jim McKenzie over portions of 14 different seasons. In 1993-94 alone, McKenzie played for three teams, putting up a grand total of eight points in 71 games.
In 2002-03, the oft-traveled journeyman tough guy hit the jackpot. He played 76 regular season games with the New Jersey Devils, amassing four goals and eight assists playing just 7:42 per night. He couldn't even goon right, only managing 88 penalty minutes.
8 8. Mike Peluso
Mike Peluso played parts of ten seasons in the NHL, scoring 38 goals and adding 52 assists in 458 career games. His real value was in his fists, as he accumulated on average more than four penalty minutes for each game that he played.
7 7. Jon Sim
Jon Sim managed to appear in 12 different NHL seasons, playing for eight separate teams. He was a bubble player for most of his career, only cracking the 50 games played plateau four times.
6 6. Brad May
Like so many of the other players on this list, Brad May was a journeyman forward light on skills and heavy on intangibles, using his "grit" and "toughness" to take minutes away from skilled hockey players during his 18-year NHL career. May spent seven of those seasons with Buffalo, where he tallied 1323 penalty minutes in just 425 games. It's almost like he was trying to do that.
5 5. Ben Eager
Oh hey, it's another goon with questionable hockey skills who managed to sneak his name on the Stanley Cup despite having very little to do with the team's success.
Okay, maybe I'm being a little harsh on Ben Eager. After all, he is in the NHL's record books... for leading the league in penalty minutes in 2007. His grand kids are going to feel ripped off when they hear that story.
4 4. Corey Schwab
Corey Schwab served as a backup for eight NHL seasons, posting decent numbers while playing behind New Jersey's stifling defense. Everywhere else he wasn't even a passable backup, posting a save percentage of less than .900 and a GAA easily surpassing 3.00. And this was during the dead puck era.
3 3. Shawn Thornton
In today's NHL, general managers are becoming more and more reluctant to give a roster spot to the traditional grit player, knowing that giving the position to a player with skill will work out better in the long run.
When friends ask me why this is happening, I point to Shawn Thornton as the explanation. Thornton was consistently a minus player during his seven years with the Bruins, putting up a grand total of 76 points in 480 games, all while staying glued to the bench almost 90% of the time. He has a 4.4% career shooting percentage, consistently terrible possession numbers, and was suspended 15 games back in 2013 for sucker punching Brooks Orpik. Those are not qualities good NHLers possess.
2 2. Dan Carcillo
On September 17th, 2015, Dan Carcillo announced his retirement from professional hockey, a career that included 48 goals in 429 games, 1,233 penalty minutes, 12 fines or suspensions from the NHL -- including suspensions for six and seven games in 2013 and 2015 -- and one Stanley Cup championship with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013 after appearing in four playoff games.
1 1. Andre Racicot
Andre Racicot might be the worst goalie in NHL history to consistently play. He served as Patrick Roy's backup for an incredible five seasons in Montreal, somehow finding a way to post a winning record of 26-23-8 and post two shutouts. Hey, sometimes a blind squirrel finds a nut.
The rest of the time, "Red Light" Racicot (yes, that was his actual nickname) was doing his best to convince everyone he was really a covert agent from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Overall he posted a save percentage of .880 and a GAA of 3.50, all but ensuring Patrick Roy would get the vast majority of the playing time. Roy must have loved this guy.
But unlike everyone reading this, he does have his name on the Stanley Cup, playing 18 minutes in game five of the first round series between the Canadiens and Quebec Nordiques in 1993. He allowed two goals on nine shots because of course he did. It's what he did best.
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