Every year, NHL teams battle it out on the ice for a chance to raise the coveted Stanley Cup. For some franchises, this dream has become a reality multiple times over. But for others, winning that elusive championship has remained just out of reach.
If you’re a die-hard hockey fan or just curious about which teams have yet to hoist the Cup, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the handful of NHL teams who have never won the Stanley Cup – from underdogs who came close but fell short, to newcomers still looking to make their mark in the league.
We’ll delve into each team’s history and examine what factors may have prevented them from reaching their ultimate goal. Whether it’s bad luck, tough competition, or simply struggling to find success on the ice, there are many reasons why certain teams haven’t been able to claim the title.
So if you’re ready to learn more about the NHL’s storied past and discover which teams have yet to experience the thrill of lifting the Cup, read on!
The Sad Truth: These Teams Have Never Won A Cup
Winning the Stanley Cup is the ultimate goal for every NHL team. However, some teams have yet to hoist that coveted trophy. Here’s a list of those unfortunate teams:
The List of Teams That Have Never Won A Cup
- Buffalo Sabres
- Vancouver Canucks
- Arizona Coyotes (formerly known as Winnipeg Jets)
- San Jose Sharks
- Nashville Predators
- Ottawa Senators
- Minnesota Wild
It’s important to note that while these teams have never won a cup, many of them have made it to the finals and come incredibly close to victory.
The History and Significance of Winning the Stanley Cup
The Stanley Cup has a rich history dating back to 1893 when Canada’s Governor General Lord Stanley donated the trophy to be awarded to the best amateur hockey team in the country. In 1926, the NHL became the sole holder of the Cup, establishing it as the premier professional hockey championship.
Over the years, winning the Stanley Cup has become an immense source of pride and prestige among players and fans alike. The iconic image of a player hoisting the Cup above their head remains one of the most memorable moments in sports.
“Every kid grows up dreaming of lifting that silver chalice over his head.” – Jonathan Toews
Receiving a Stanley Cup ring is also considered a mark of excellence, with each member of the winning team receiving a customized ring to commemorate their achievement.
Beyond the personal significance for the individual players, winning the Stanley Cup can greatly impact a team’s legacy and even the community it represents. The Cup itself has become a symbol of victory, tradition, and perseverance.
“The Stanley Cup is like a magnet. Once you win it, people keep pulling on you, and it just creates more excitement.” – Wayne Gretzky
While some teams may continue to strive for that elusive championship, the joy of the journey is what keeps fans invested in their success year after year. Who knows? Perhaps next season will finally be their time to shine.
Will One Of These Teams Finally Break the Curse?
The Stanley Cup is one of the most coveted trophies in the world, and every NHL team dreams of lifting it. However, there are some teams that have never won a championship despite their decades-long presence in the league. So which NHL teams have never won a Stanley Cup, and what are their chances of breaking the curse?
- Buffalo Sabres
- Vancouver Canucks
- San Jose Sharks
- Arizona Coyotes (formerly known as Phoenix Coyotes)
- Ottawa Senators
- Florida Panthers
- Nashville Predators
Top Players Who Can Lead These Teams to Victory
Great players can make all the difference for a hockey team when it comes to winning games and even championships. The following players from the aforementioned teams may hold the key to breaking their respective team’s curse:
- Jack Eichel – Buffalo Sabres: The 23-year-old center has been putting up great numbers since he joined the Sabres in 2015. With his speed, skill, and leadership, he can be the catalyst that turns around Buffalo’s fortunes.
- Elias Pettersson – Vancouver Canucks: In just two seasons with the Canucks, the 21-year-old Swedish forward has shown why he was the team’s first-round draft pick. He is an excellent playmaker who can also score goals and help the Canucks end their drought.
- Brent Burns – San Jose Sharks: The 35-year-old defenseman has been one of the best blueliners in the league for many years. His offensive skills, that revolve around his ability to score and create goals, as well as his toughness, make him a valuable asset for the Sharks.
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Arizona Coyotes: The Swedish defenseman has been with the Coyotes since 2010 and is currently their captain. He is known for his offensive abilities but can also play solid defense when it matters most.
- Brady Tkachuk – Ottawa Senators: Son of former NHL forward Keith Tkachuk, the 20-year-old winger has made a name for himself in Ottawa. His physicality, energy, and scoring touch give him great potential to be an NHL star.
- Aleksander Barkov – Florida Panthers: As team captain since 2018, the Finnish center has shown he is one of the best two-way players in the league. With his passing skills, goal-scoring abilities, and defensive prowess, he may lead the Panthers to glory.
- Roman Josi – Nashville Predators: The Swiss defenseman has been the backbone of the Predators’ defense for many years. He is a great skater, excellent passer, and hard-checking player who always makes an impact on the ice.
Obstacles That Have Prevented These Teams From Winning
The path to becoming champions is never easy, and these teams have faced their fair share of obstacles in their quest for a Stanley Cup:
- Injuries: Every team struggles with injuries throughout a long season. However, injuries to key players can significantly hinder a team’s chances of winning games or going deep in the playoffs.
- Unsatisfactory management decisions: Many times, poor managerial decisions can affect a team’s performance on and off the ice. For example, trading away young talent or refusing to pay for elite players can put a team at a disadvantage compared to other teams in the league.
- Rebuilding years: Teams that are in a rebuilding phase often have little chance of winning the Stanley Cup. These teams prioritize developing their young talent over bringing in high-priced free agents, which may involve periods of losing seasons before bouncing back.
- Inconsistent performances: Some teams find consistency an enormous challenge. They’ll go on win streaks and then experience significant losses in regular-season games or playoff series. Inconsistent squads pose no challenges to opposing sides and lose out on valuable points when they’re not winning.
The Importance of Team Chemistry in Winning the Cup
“You cannot win if you don’t know how to compete with each other.” – Alain Vigneault
As much as individual talents matter, what matters even more is how well a team plays together. Strong team chemistry involves players understanding one another’s strengths and weaknesses and working together towards a common goal.
No player can carry a team alone; everyone needs others to step up to make things happen. A carefully constructed squad excels collectively when it comes to playing under pressure and delivering results in crunch situations like playoffs. As many captains say, “Chemistry wins championships.”
All these NHL teams face unique obstacles and possess certain advantages due to respective reasons. However, hockey remains a team sport where every member contributes individually and collectively to winning a game.
Hidden Gems: Lesser-Known NHL Teams Without A Cup
Winning the Stanley Cup is one of the most prestigious titles in sports. As more than 100 years old event, only a few teams have had the privilege to lift this championship trophy. However, there are some lesser-known teams who despite being part of this elite hockey league for several years have not yet won the cup.
The Reason Why These Teams Are Not As Popular
Many reasons contribute towards these lesser-known NHL teams’ lack of popularity. Often, these teams do not perform well consistently and stay at the bottom of the scoreboard throughout each season. Other times, they face issues like insufficient finances or change of ownership. Some of these teams play in places with low hockey fan culture, which makes it challenging to attract fans.
In contrast, other established NHL teams like Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, and Montreal Canadiens have always been consistently strong performers since their beginnings. They have dedicated fans, worldwide recognition, and wealthy owners backing them, setting them apart from the newer teams trying to make a name for themselves.
Surprising Performances From These Teams In The Past
Despite falling under the radar when compared to powerhouse teams, lesser-known NHL teams have shown sparks of brilliance over the years that prove otherwise.
- Buffalo Sabres: Although they haven’t won the cup yet, the team made it to the finals twice- in 1975 and 1999.
- Vancouver Canucks: This Canadian team played in the Stanley Cup finals three times in history, twice in consecutive seasons (2011, 2012).
- Nashville Predators: The young franchise has managed to get into the playoffs 13 times since joining the league in 1998. They made it to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in history in 2017.
The Potential of These Teams to Surprise Everyone and Win the Cup
There is no denying that winning the cup requires consistent hard work, dedication, team synergy, and a bit of luck. However, lesser-known teams do show potential and promise with the right factors holding together at the right moments.
“It’s possible (to win the Stanley cup); I think anybody can win on any given night,” said Shane Doan, an NHL veteran who spent his entire career playing for the Arizona Coyotes.
Who knew the Tampa Bay Lightning would become a high-performance team after struggling to qualify for the playoffs for several consecutive years? The same could happen with these underdogs; they require only one breakout season to transform their fates. Fans of these teams keep hoping, as with each passing year, victory seems closer than ever before.
With young teams like Vegas Golden Knights coming close to lifting the cup during their debut season back in 2018 and St. Louis Blues giving their fans a long-awaited celebration by winning the cup in 2019- It just goes to show that anything is possible in this sport. For all we know, one of these less-popular franchises might lift the coveted trophy next!
What Are The Odds Of These Teams Winning A Cup?
The Stanley Cup is the oldest and most prestigious trophy in North American professional sports. Winning it requires a combination of skill, hard work, and luck. For some teams, lifting the cup has become an elusive goal. Which NHL teams have never won a Stanley Cup? And what are their odds of winning one?
The Factors That Can Affect the Odds of Winning
To answer these questions, we need to consider several factors that can affect a team’s chances of winning the cup. One crucial element is the strength of its roster. Teams with talented players and depth at all positions are more likely to make a deep playoff run than those lacking in key areas.
Another factor is coaching: teams with experienced coaches who can adapt to different styles of play and motivate their players tend to perform better in high-pressure situations. Additionally, injuries can have a significant impact on a team’s success. Losing key players during the playoffs can derail even the best of teams.
A team’s schedule can also affect their odds of winning. Facing tough opponents early in the playoffs can be challenging, while weaker opposition might boost confidence levels. Travel and rest days between games can also play a role, as fatigue can significantly impact performance levels.
The Predictions of Experts on These Teams’ Chances
When considering which NHL teams have never won a Stanley Cup, there are six franchises without this honor. These are the Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, and San Jose Sharks. While all of them have shown promise in recent years, experts do not predict any of them to lift the cup soon.
An article from ‘NHL.com’ suggests that the Sabres may come closest, with their young roster developing well under head coach Ralph Krueger. However, they lack a reliable starting goaltender and must face tough competition in the stacked Atlantic division.
The Columbus Blue Jackets had an impressive playoff run in 2019 when they swept President’s Trophy winners Tampa Bay Lightning out of the first round. However, they lost several key players during that series and struggled to maintain that level of success the following year.
The Florida Panthers have been continuously improving over the past few seasons, but their inability to make it into the playoffs has hampered their reputation as contenders. Experts believe they need better defensive depth before making any runs at the cup.
Minnesota Wild faces similar problems, having made the playoffs in only three of their last eight seasons and rarely advancing beyond the first round. This inconsistency will make it difficult for them to challenge the top teams in the Western Conference.
The Nashville Predators entered the league in 1998 and quickly established themselves as contenders, reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2017. However, since then, they have failed to live up to expectations, missing the playoffs entirely in 2019-2020. Another rebuild may be necessary before they are a genuine threat again.
Lastly, the San Jose Sharks are recent participants in the Stanley Cup Final (losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016), and boast legendary defenseman Erik Karlsson. Still, the rapidly ageing roster and salary cap issues make the road back to the final treacherous.
The Role of Luck and Chance in Winning the Stanley Cup
No discussion on winning the Stanley Cup is complete without acknowledging the role of luck and chance. Injuries to star players, hot goalies, timely goals, and favourable bounces can all swing a playoff series, regardless of how superior one team appears on paper. A team’s success is not entirely predictable, and that uncertainty is part of what makes playoff hockey so thrilling.
‘Sports Illustrated’ points out that factors like injuries or dominant teams falling early are unpredictable variables that can genuinely give the underdog a shot at winning. The article names teams such as Chicago in 2010 or St Louis Blues in 2019, who made significant playoff runs despite being far from favourites when the playoffs started.
The Possibility of Upsets and Underdog Victories
It’s nearly impossible to predict which NHL team will win the cup each year, let alone consider which franchises have never lifted it before. Upsets happen every season in the playoffs, with lower-seeded teams knocking off higher-ranked opponents.
An article by ‘USA Today’ suggests that perennial underdogs like the Arizona Coyotes could one day shock everyone and lift the cup. They cited examples of teams like the Anaheim Ducks or Carolina Hurricanes, who had never won but found a way to overcome their respective odds en route to Stanley Cup victories.
“The well-worn phrase “anything can happen” may seem trite—until you study all the dramatic upsets in sports history. Over a seven-game series, a No. 8 seed can knock off an esteemed dynasty,” wrote Kevin Allen for USA Today.
Predicting whether any NHL team will ever win its first Stanley Cup is almost impossible. Numerous factors come into play, many of them intangible. While the six franchises without the coveted trophy remain missing this achievement on their resume, they’ll keep trying, knowing that even the betting favorites aren’t immune to playoff surprises.
How Have These Teams Fared In Recent Years?
The National Hockey League or NHL is the world’s premier ice-hockey league, and winning the Stanley Cup is the greatest achievement a team can accomplish. Despite each team’s efforts, there are still a few organizations that have yet to hoist the trophy.
- Buffalo Sabres
- Vancouver Canucks
- San Jose Sharks
- Nashville Predators
- Florida Panthers
- Arizona Coyotes (formerly known as Phoenix Coyotes)
In this article, we will explore these six teams’ recent performances, changes and improvements made by them, and their chances of making it to the playoffs this year.
The Team’s Performance in the Last Season
Last season, all these teams struggled to perform at an optimal level. Out of these six, only the Nashville Predators qualified for the Western Conference qualifiers but were eliminated after losing three straight games against the Arizona Coyotes. On the other hand, the Buffalo Sabres finished last in the Eastern Conference standings, while the Vancouver Canucks missed the playoff spot by just one point. The Florida Panthers placed fourth in the Atlantic Division and was swept in the qualifying round by the New York Islanders. Lastly, the San Jose Sharks and the Phoenix Coyotes failed to book playoff positions in the 2019-20 season.
This poor performance indicates how challenging it has been for these teams to compete among the best, let alone win the Stanley Cup.
The Changes and Improvements Made By the Team
All six of these teams underwent some significant changes this offseason to improve their rosters and increase their chances of lifting the coveted trophy. The biggest improvement made was by the Florida Panthers, who signed veteran goaltender Sergey Bobrovsky to a massive seven-year contract worth $70 million and added an offensive weapon in Brett Connolly.
Similarly, Nashville Predators improved their offense by bringing Nick Cousins for offense, Mark Borowiecki on defense and Matt Benning to bolster the blue line last season. This year they have acquired forward Erik Haula from the Carolina Hurricanes and signed free-agent forwards, Brad Richardson and Mark Lannyk.
The Buffalo Sabres traded away another franchise cornerstone in centre Jack Eichel during this offseason after years of speculation and brought back former player Taylor Hall. They also added defenceman Henri Jokiharju to accommodate him with Rasmus Dahlin.
In contrast, Vancouver Canucks had a quiet offseason, mainly focusing on retaining key talents and avoiding significant changes that could unsettle the team’s synergy.
The Phoenix Coyotes went into rebuild mode and moved out several established NHL players such as Derek Stepan and Carl Soderberg. Instead, they focused on bringing in young prospects like Tyler Pitlick and Drake Caggiula to help build for future seasons.
Lastly, the San Jose Sharks’ most meaningful acquisitions were Devan Dubnyk for goaltending purposes; Ryan Donato for the top six roles, centre Fredrick Handemark and defenseman Nicolas Meloche looked at if can add up strength to the unit.
The Team’s Chances of Making It to the Playoffs This Year
The new NHL calendar has allowed each Division’s teams to play against each other only this year. Therefore, it is safe to say that each of these teams stands a chance to make it to the playoffs given the division’s odd shape where one or two teams are considerably weaker than others.
The Buffalo Sabres showed immense potential and could be a dark horse in the East Division. They have one of the league’s most potent offenses with Eichel leading the roster, and Hall would add another dimension to their scoring lines.
Similarly, the Phoenix Coyotes’ young prospects could combine well with established players such as Clayton Keller or Oliver Ekman-Larsson. It is essential to note that rookies can spring surprises in any game they play, and as this division has comparably weaker opponents than others, the Coyotes may earn playoff berths if adequately played.
Vancouver Canucks must prioritize defense while maintaining their high-powered offense made possible by the presence of Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, and J.T. Miller on the team. The Predators still have Pekka Rinne and Roman Josi; it will work wonders for them to form an excellent duo with goal-scoring forwards Filip Forsberg and Luke Kunin.
In contrast, Florida Panthers will look up onto Sergei Bobrovsky backstopping them all the way into the playoffs with support from Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov. Similarly, San Jose Sharks, after their dismal performance from last season, need Martin Jones and Devan Dubnyk to come together as a goaltending unit along with Logan Couture’s leadership to guide a relatively new side hoping for success
“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” – Vince Lombardi
As we look forward to what is sure to be an exciting hockey season, fans of these teams are eager to see them break their Stanley Cup drought. With the NHL going through significant changes due to the ongoing pandemic and each team having something to prove, anything is possible. Only time will tell which of these six teams will be the first to lift the coveted trophy in franchise history.
What Sets These Teams Apart From The Rest Of The NHL?
The Team’s Unique Playing Style and Strategies
One of the notable things about some of the teams that have never won a Stanley Cup is their unique playing styles. For example, the Buffalo Sabres are known for being a fast-paced team that relies on strong individual skating abilities to create scoring opportunities. The Vancouver Canucks, on the other hand, are recognized for their aggressive, physical style of play that can sometimes lead to penalties but also creates momentum shifts in their favor.
The San Jose Sharks have been consistently competitive in recent years due to their emphasis on puck possession and quick transition plays. Their strategy involves maintaining control of the puck for long periods, wearing down the opposition, and quickly transitioning into offensive attacks. This playing style has earned them multiple playoff appearances and a dedicated fan base.
The Team’s Legacy and Impact on the NHL
Although these teams haven’t won a championship yet, they’ve still made significant contributions to the league’s history and culture. The St. Louis Blues, for instance, were one of the six franchises introduced during the 1967 expansion; even though they had early success (reaching three consecutive Stanley Cup finals), it took them over five decades before lifting the cup in 2019. During this time, however, they developed many legendary players such as Brett Hull, Al MacInnis, Chris Pronger, Keith Tkachuk and Doug Gilmour.
The Philadelphia Flyers may have only won two cups in their history so far, but their impact on the game itself is immeasurable. Dubbed as “The Broad Street Bullies,” the team was notorious for their rough-and-tumble brand of hockey which prioritized intimidation and grit over speed or skill. They paved the way for a new era of toughness in the NHL, inspiring other teams to adopt similar styles and cultivating a fan base that continues to celebrate their legacy.
The Fanbase and Community of These Teams
Finally, perhaps one of the most significant factors that sets these teams apart from the rest is their devoted fanbases and communities. Fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs have been waiting since 1967 for another championship, but despite years of disappointment, they continue to pack the arenas and passionately support their team through thick and thin.
The fans of the Arizona Coyotes are among the most loyal and dedicated in the league. Despite numerous struggles both on and off the ice over their franchise’s history, “Yotes” fans have remained true supporters who will cheer on their team no matter what. This loyalty has earned them a reputation as one of the most passionate fan bases in hockey today.
“It is remarkable how devoted these fanbases are,” said Bob McKenzie, TSN Hockey analyst and author of ‘Hockey Confidential’. “Despite never winning a Championship, or going decades without winning one, they still sell out every game, travel across the continent to see their favorite players play away games, and even withstand being ridiculed by media.”
Frequently Asked Questions
How many NHL teams have never won a Stanley Cup?
There are currently 12 NHL teams that have never won a Stanley Cup: Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Vegas Golden Knights, Winnipeg Jets, and the newest expansion team, Seattle Kraken.
Which NHL team has come the closest to winning a Stanley Cup without actually winning it?
The St. Louis Blues have come the closest to winning a Stanley Cup without actually winning it. They reached the Stanley Cup Finals three times (1968, 1969, and 2019) before finally winning their first championship in 2019.
Are there any expansion teams that have yet to win a Stanley Cup?
Yes, there are several expansion teams that have yet to win a Stanley Cup, including the Arizona Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Vegas Golden Knights, and the newest expansion team, Seattle Kraken.
Is there a correlation between a team’s age and their likelihood of winning a Stanley Cup?
There is no direct correlation between a team’s age and their likelihood of winning a Stanley Cup. However, teams that have been around longer tend to have more experienced rosters and front offices, which can give them an advantage in the playoffs.
Have any NHL teams recently broken their Stanley Cup drought?
Yes, the Washington Capitals and the St. Louis Blues both recently broke long Stanley Cup droughts. The Capitals won their first championship in 2018 after 44 seasons, and the Blues won their first championship in 2019 after 51 seasons.
What strategies have NHL teams used in the past to finally win a Stanley Cup?
NHL teams have used a variety of strategies to win a Stanley Cup, including building through the draft, making key trades and free agent signings, and having a strong team culture and leadership. Some teams have also made coaching changes or implemented new systems to help spark a championship run.