Greatest NHL players to never win the Stanley Cup

Curtis Joseph
"Curtis Joseph" flickr photo by Dinur https://flickr.com/photos/dinur/3009276805 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

Who are some of the greatest NHL players to never win the Stanley Cup?

The NHL is one of the hardest leagues to win a championship in, as it can only be done with a complete team effort. One individual cannot take over a hockey game in the same way a basketball or football player can.

Greatest NHL players to never win the Stanley Cup

The best players on a team only average around 20-25 minutes of ice time a game. This means that for the majority of a game (60-65%), the best player is not in the game.

Therefore, with the best players in the league unable to control the whole game, there are many NHL legends to not win a Stanley Cup. Although they proved to be the best in the league, they just couldn’t get their teams across the finish line.

Here are a few of the greatest NHL players to never win a Stanley Cup.

Adam Oates

Averaging more than a point per game throughout his career, Adam Oates was no stranger to the playoffs. He played 163 career playoff games with the Ducks, Flyers, Capitals, Bruins, Blues, and Red Wings.

Oates made it to the Stanley Cup Finals twice. The first was in 1998 with Washington, losing in four games, and then again in his final NHL season with the Ducks, where they lost in game seven.

Curtis Joseph

Curtis Joseph sits 7th all-time with 454 wins in his career. He spent time with the Blues, Maple Leafs, Oilers, Red Wings, Coyotes, and Flames.


Joseph has played in 133 career playoff games, winning 63 of them, including 16 shutouts. He never made it to the Stanley Cup Finals but did make it to the Conference Finals twice with Toronto. Joseph has a career 2.79 goals-against average along with a 0.906 save percentage.

Marcel Dionne

Marcel Dionne is one of the greatest NHL players to never win a Stanley Cup. He had 1,771 points in just 1,348 games in his career, which is the 6th most points in history.

Dionne had eight seasons where he had at least 100 points. He spent time with the Rangers, Kings, and Red Wings in his 18 seasons in the NHL. His teams made the playoffs nine times but never got out of the second round.

Joe Thornton

In his 24th season in the league, Joe Thornton is still missing the “Holy Grail”, making him one of the best players to not win a Stanley Cup.

Thornton has played for the Sharks and Maple Leafs and currently plays for the Florida Panthers.

Making the playoffs 18 times, Joe Thornton has come close to winning it all. In 2015-16, Thornton and the Sharks made a run to the Final, before eventually losing to the Penguins in six games. He currently sits 7th in NHL history for assists with over 1,100.

Mats Sundin

The highest scoring Swedish player of all time, Mats Sundin is one of the greatest NHL players to never win a Stanley Cup. He spent his whole career in Canada, playing for the Nordiques, Maple Leafs, and Canucks.

Sundin spent 11 seasons as captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He would make the Conference Finals once with the team, losing to the Sabres in five games. His number 13 was retired by Toronto in 2016.

Phil Housley

Phil Housley holds the honors of having the most points by a defenseman who has never won the Stanley Cup. His 1,232 points rank 40th all-time and are the fourth most by a defenseman.

Housley was a part of the Capitals team that made the Finals in 1997-98, where they would be swept by the Detroit Red Wings. He played for eight different teams throughout his 21-year career. Housley was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.

Gilbert Perreault

Gilbert Perreault spent his entire 17-year career with the Buffalo Sabres. He had three 40-goal seasons with the team and had over 100 points in a season twice.

Perreault was incredible in the playoffs, racking up 103 points in just 90 games. His team did make it to the Stanley Cup Finals once back in 1974-75, falling to the Flyers in six games. His number 11 was retired by the Sabres in 1990.

Read more: Worst NHL contracts of all-time

Roberto Luongo

The winningest goaltender to never capture the Stanley Cup, Roberto Luongo has 489 wins to his name. He was the closest of all the players on this list to reaching the pinnacle.

In the 2010-11 Stanley Cup Finals, Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks fell one game short against the Bruins. The Canucks went up 3-2 in the series but lost back-to-back games, including a 4-0 loss in game seven.

Brad Park

Brad Park spent 18 years in the NHL, tallying 896 points in 1,113 games as a defenseman. Park’s career 363 plus-minus sits 17th all time.

17 out of his 18 seasons, Park’s team made the playoffs. Unfortunately, he was unable to lift “Lord Stanley’s Cup”, losing in the Stanley Cup Finals twice with Boston, and once with the Rangers. Park tallied 125 points in 161 games played in his playoff career.

Mike Gartner

Mike Gartner’s 708 goals scored in his career are the 8th most in NHL history, making him one of the greatest NHL players to never win a Stanley Cup

Gartner spent the majority of his career with the Capitals, but also played for the North Stars (Minnesota), Rangers, Maple Leafs, and Coyotes. He would never make it to the Stanley Cup Finals but did make the Conference Finals once with the Maple Leafs. Gartner registered 93 points in 122 playoffs games in his career.

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About Justin Gincauskas 30 Articles
Justin Gincauskas is a professional writing major at Kutztown University. He is also a member of the Kutztown Men's Tennis Team. Justin has a passion for sports and hopes to turn his professional writing major into a career in the field of sports writing.

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