The Stanley Cup is routinely called “the hardest trophy to win in pro sports.” It takes 82 games of regular-season excellence, then four rounds of best-of-seven playoff competition to win the Cup, which remains a gleaming, show-off, conversation-stopping presence anytime it enters a room. It’s quite possible that, in the history of the world, more people have had more pictures of themselves next to the Stanley Cup than any other object, ever.
The people who value those pictures the most are the players who won it and thus had their names forever engraved on the 34.5-pound silver chalice. There are still many players – and many NHL teams – that have not won the Stanley Cup. Some of those teams are given pretty good odds by online bookies to win the next Stanley Cup, some time later this spring.
Until then, though, these are the active teams that have never won a Stanley Cup yet (the Seattle Kraken are excluded), and maybe a little background as to why not:
MINNESOTA WILD (Entered NHL 2000) – The Wild got to the Western Conference finals one season (2003), but otherwise have not really come very close to winning a Cup. The Wild signed two big-name free agents, Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, in 2012 and thought they were on the fast track to the Cup, but they never did win in Minnesota.
ARIZONA COYOTES (also Winnipeg Jets) – The Coyotes have mostly been a laughingstock in the NHL, though there was one year they made the Western finals. Otherwise, there have been many lean years for the franchise.
BUFFALO SABRES (Entered NHL 1970) – The Sabres have been to the Stanley Cup Finals twice (1975 and 1999) but still have never won the Cup. Whatever you do, don’t bring up the name Brett Hull to Sabres fans).
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (Entered NHL 2000) – The Columbus Blue Jackets have never been past the second round of the playoffs since joining the NHL. The team has had some good teams, but things have always fallen apart pretty early in the few years they’ve actually made the playoffs.
FLORIDA PANTHERS (Entered NHL 1993) –
- The Florida Panthers made the Cup Finals in 1996 against Colorado, but were swept in four games. Since then, they haven’t come close to winning it all.
- The team was dismal for most of the following two decades. The team is better again, so maybe 2022 will be the year.
OTTAWA SENATORS (Entered NHL 1992) – The Senators had a very good team in the mid-to-late 2000s, making the Cup Finals in 2006, but lost to Anaheim. The Senators came close a couple other times, but are still without a Cup.
VANCOUVER CANUCKS (Entered NHL 1970) – The Canucks look like they were finally there, in 2011, up three games to two on the Boston Bruins in the Cup Finals. Despite losing Game 6, the Canucks still had Boston at home in Game 7. But Boston won 2-0, and the franchise has been in decline since.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS (Entered NHL 1998) – The Predators made the Cup Finals in 2017, but lost to Pittsburgh. They have had some other excellent teams, but as of yet the Cup has eluded them.
SAN JOSE SHARKS (Entered NHL 1991) – The Sharks have had many excellent teams since joining the NHL, but have only made the Stanley Cup Finals once – in 2018 – and lost to Pittsburgh.
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS – The Golden Knights have only been in the NHL for a few years now, and made the Cup Finals their first year in the league. They haven’t won yet – but they have been a big success story nonetheless.