In every major sporting league, there is a coveted trophy that all players strive to possess. In the NFL it’s the Vince Lombardi, in the NBA the shining championship ring, and in the NHL it’s the Stanley Cup. However, gaining one of Ice Hockey’s greatest prizes is no small feat as many say it is one of the most difficult accomplishments in sports. Unfortunately, there are some specific teams in the league that has gone decade after decade without seeing a win in the famous tournament. Let’s take a look at the top 5 NHL organizations that are currently in the midst of some serious dry spells, and a few that have the potential to turn it around sooner than we may think.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Founded in 1917, the Toronto based ice hockey team is currently the NHL’s longest-standing Stanley Cup drought holder with a whopping 53 years separating them from a championship win. The last time they took home the trophy in 1966, the Maple Leafs beat their greatest rivals in a thrilling series against the Montreal Canadiens. Although the team has had to endure an agonizing stretch of losses nowadays, they surprisingly hold the title for the second-highest amount of cup wins in the league’s history with 13.
Maple Leafs fans, who have one of the league’s biggest fan bases, are hopeful that their success all those years ago will reappear this upcoming season. Although the NHL picks experts at sports betting community site OLBG suggest here, that 2018 champions Vegas Golden Knights may take home another Stanley Cup this year, but with assets like Auston Matthews and John Tavares on the Maple Leafs side, Toronto may just have a shot at ending their decades-long championship drought.
Our second spot also goes to a Canadian based team, the Vancouver Canucks, who have been without a Stanley Cup win for 50 years since their inception. However, they have had appearances in three different tournament finals against the New York Islanders and Rangers, as well as the Boston Bruins most recently in 2011. One thing’s for sure: this team has undoubtedly had their fair share of heartbreaking losses. The organization’s major hope lies in their new, young talent with players like Brock Boeser who managed to score 29 goals in just 62 games during his rookie season. Although there have been some hiccups from him along the way, between Boeser and other skilled players rumored of being traded, big things may be in store for the Canucks in 2021.
Established at the same time as the Canucks in 1970, New York’s Buffalo Sabres have also endured a career-long Stanley Cup drought of 50 years. They advanced to the finals in 1975 against the Flyers, and again in 1999 facing off against the Dallas Stars, but choked on each occasion. In addition to never winning the greatly desired silver Cup, the Sabres also hold the title for having the longest absence from the NHL playoffs with nine seasons.
Although they know what it feels like to come into possession of a Stanley Cup, the Philadelphia Flyers have been without a tournament win for 45 years, since their two back-to-back victories in 1974 and 1975. Although they are currently experiencing a lengthy drought, the Eastern Conference organization has had some major successes in the NHL such as holding the title for the third-best all-time points percentage as well as appearing in the Stanley Cup six times. The Flyers of the early ’70s was everyone’s favorite team, but they’re currently predicted to make some major waves very soon as well, a top organization for the upcoming season.
The Phoenix-based Arizona Coyotes, originally founded in 1971, are currently the oldest NHL team to never have won a Stanley Cup. With a 45-year drought and more than a few name changes, the Coyotes haven’t seen much luck throughout their franchise’s career. However, as the 2021 season gets underway, fans are looking to the most valuable players, Tyler Pitlick, Johan Larsson, and John Hayden to bring the heat. Every player, organization, and management knows that a long drought can be reversed quickly with a great set of players working diligently towards the final goal.