The Best Players Who Have Never Won the Cup in NHL History
You know what really bugs me? How some NHL players with decent talent who have made millions of dollars claim that all they want to do is win the Stanley Cup and suddenly just want money; (choking sound) Mats Sundin.
This top 10 list was inspired by Sundin who has played hard to get since last seasons trade deadline. He told the NHL world that all he wanted to do was win his first Stanley Cup before his career was over and that money was a distant second priority. You think the guy would just take a pay cut to play with either Detroit, San Jose, Pittsburgh, Montreal or the New York Rangers to name a few to increase his odds. Nah. Instead he signs a contract to make him one of the highest paid in the league, at 8.6 million dollars, with the Vancouver Canucks, a team that consistently fights for a playoff spot.
Let’s focus on the top players who truly deserved a Stanley Cup but came out empty handed.
And now, I will not keep you waiting...
#10 – Jean Ratelle
- Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985.
Known as one of the most gentlemanly players to ever play the game, Ratelle never had more than 28 penalty minutes in one of his 21 NHL seasons. He was also a phenomenal passer, face-off specialist and retired in 1981 number six on the all-time points list. Even though he walked away with no cup he helped win the 1972 Summit Series as a member of Team Canada.
#9 – Brad Park
- Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.
He played 18 seasons with three teams and was a nine time NHL all-star. Thanks to Bobby Orr, Park was also a six time runner up for the Norris Trophy as the leagues best defenseman. Still after his retirement, which was nearly 25 years ago, he is currently the 11 th highest scoring defenseman in history. Too add to the pain, Park never once missed making the playoffs, just missed succeeding in them.
#8 – Gilbert Perrault
- Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990.
He played his entire 17 year career with the Buffalo Sabres and was the franchises inaugural player. This nine time all-star earned “rookie of the year” in 1971 and led his team in every category. Perrault has played in 90 playoff games but his Sabres could never finish the deal. In 1975, Buffalo finished first in their division and dominated every opponent until the Stanley Cup finals where they lost to the Flyers four games to two. Never would he get closer to taste the champagne.
#7 – Borje Salming
- Inducted into The Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996.
The godfather of European players in the NHL, Salming was a key person in opening the game for players overseas. He played 16 seasons in the NHL but 15 of them with the Toronto Maple Leafs where his jersey and number was retired. Salming was a very well rounded defenseman in all aspects of the game and also had five straight seasons with 100 plus penalty minutes. By the way, when was the last time the Maple Leafs won the cup?
#6 – Peter Stastny
- Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998.
He was the first NHL player to earn 100 plus points during a rookie season (Gretzky did not technically have a rookie NHL season). Stastny would also go on and score 100 plus points in seven of his first eight seasons and be known as one of the best Europeans to play in the league. He was a pretty good playoff player but just not good enough to carry a team to the holy land. Maybe his son Peter will have better luck in future years with the Colorado Avalanche.
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#5 – Darryl Sittler
- Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989.
Sittler is a lot more then the man known for his unbreakable record of 10 points in one game (six goals, four assists). He scored nearly 1200 points and had over 1000 penalty minutes in a 15 year career. Sittler actually had nine seasons with 35 or more goals. No doubt a legend in Maple Leaf land but it usually Stanley Cups that count and he has less than one. By the way, when was the last time the Maple Leafs won the cup?
#4 – Dale Hawerchuk
- Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.
Hawerchuk seemed to have an amazing career while being under the radar. He scored over 100 points in six of his first seven seasons and went 13 straight seasons with more than 80 points. This man was responsible for leading Winnipeg Jets to a 48 point turn-around in his first season in the league but no cup. Even with Buffalo, Philadelphia and St. Louis, Lord Stanley never came close.
#3 – Mike Gartner
- Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.
Gartner did not win a Stanley Cup during his 19 season career; actually he did win any kind of NHL award at all, unless you consider the all-star game MVP an award. No MVP’s, no Lady Byng’s, no Calder, nothing. Though he played in all-star games, he was never on the first or second all-star team. This guy scored 30 plus goals in 15 straight seasons, a record that Jaromir Jagr is currently tied with. Gartner was a very fast, consistent player who gave 100% every second of every shift. A long career with Washington and stints with the North Stars, Rangers, Maple Leafs and Coyotes gave him three legitimate cup opportunities with no reward. By the way, when was the last time the Maple Leafs won the cup?
#2 – Pat LaFontaine
- Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003.
Lafontaine started his career in 1983 with the New York Islanders; too bad for him it was at the end of the Isles dynasty. His rookie season was the first and last time he would see the Stanley Cup finals in a five game loss to the Edmonton Oilers. It was unbelievable to watch him on the ice where he combined a snipers touch with an accurate play making ability. Unfortunately for LaFontaine, he barely played over 900 NHL games and seemed to be injured half of his career, mainly with concussions that lead to his early retirement in 1999. Even though he averaged well over a point a game during his career, he never once held the most pinnacle trophy in the sport.
And my winner for the best player who has not won the Stanley Cup in NHL history goes to…
#1 – Marcel Dionne
- Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992.
Six seasons with 50 or more goals, eight seasons with 100 or more points, nine post season appearances and zero Stanley Cups for Dionne. He played for Detroit, Los Angeles and the Rangers who are all legitimate teams but no luck. His much younger and less talented brother Gilbert won a cup with Montreal in 1993; imagine the Christmas dinner bragging rights talk. Dionne was and still is one of the best 25 players to ever play in a NHL arena. He has been awarded with two Lester B. Pearson and Lady Byng trophies but never a Stanley Cup.
The Best players to not win the Stanley Cup that deserve Honorable Mention:
- Wendel Clark (a pattern with former Maple Leaf players)
- Phil Housley
Agree, disagree? Let me hear what you have to say.
By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
Find all of Kevin's Best of the NHL articles here at Pro Hockey Fans!
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