NHL Teams Without a Stanley Cup

The San Jose Sharks are one of the NHL teams without a Stanley Cup
Photo Courtesy: Sports Illustrated

Lord Stanley’s Cup, the best trophy in sports, those who get to hoist it above their head fulfill a childhood dream. But for most hockey players, that’s all it is: a dream, something they’ll never get to touch. For some National Hockey League teams, The Cup symbolizes tales of heartbreak, of coming ever so close to the summit, only to watch it slip away, year after year. In this article, we go through the list of NHL teams without a Stanley Cup.

Imagine the anticipation, the electric atmosphere in packed hockey arenas, the fans’ hearts beating in unison with each playoff run, only to be silenced by the final buzzer of an unfulfilled season. Every near-miss adds a chapter to their story, not of failure but of persistence and undying passion. As we explore the journeys of these teams, remember that in the shadows of their heartbreaks lie the unquenchable spirit and endless hope that next season, maybe, just maybe, the Cup will be theirs.

How Many NHL Teams Have Never Won the Stanley Cup

11 NHL teams have never won the Stanley Cup. We’ll go through the list of these snakebitten NHL franchises to never hoist this prestigious trophy in order of the newest team to join the NHL to the oldest.

Seattle Kraken

Joined the NHL: 2021

Closest They’ve Come: Second Round 2023

We’ve got to give the NHL’s newest team, the Seattle Kraken, a break since they’ve only been in the league since 2021. They did have a monumental upset victory over the defending Cup champs, The Colorado Avalanche, in 2023. So, the Kraken have given their fans a reason to be optimistic.

Their journey has just begun, but the excitement and anticipation in Seattle are palpable. Fans, embracing their team’s mythical sea creature persona, look forward to future playoff successes and dream of a day when the Kraken reigns supreme in the NHL waters.

Minnesota Wild

Joined the NHL: 2000

Closest They’ve Come: Conference Finals 2003

A hockey handshake line after a playoff series with the Wild and the Blues.
Photo Courtesy: Fox Sports

It’s pretty shocking that the “Hockey State” doesn’t have a Stanley Cup. The Wild have only been to the Western Conference Finals once since the NHL returned to Minnesota in 2000. Even the Minnesota North Stars, in their 33-year history, never won The Cup, although they did reach the Stanley Cup Final twice in 1981 and 1991.

You have to feel bad for those fans; they are some of the most passionate and knowledgeable in the league. Their devotion is unwavering; if any fan base deserves the ultimate prize in hockey, it’s the fans from the land of 10,000 lakes.

Columbus Jackets

Joined the NHL: 2000

Closest They’ve Come: Second Round 2019

The Columbus Blue Jackets, donning their NHL colors since 2000, have yet to experience the ultimate victory. With only six playoff appearances, they’ve only made it out of the first round once. They swept the powerhouse Tampa Bay Lightning, the best team during the regular season in 2019.

The team, named after Ohio’s rich Civil War history, continues to battle for Stanley Cup recognition. Their loyal fans, filled with steadfast support, eagerly await the day when their team’s name is etched onto the Cup.

Winnipeg Jets (Atlanta Thrashers)

Joined the NHL: 1999

Closest They’ve Come: Western Conference Finals 2018

The current Winnipeg Jets, reborn from the Atlanta Thrashers in 2011, carry the legacy of a team hungry for its first Cup. Their deepest playoff run was in 2018, reaching the Western Conference Finals, where they lost to the Vegas Golden Knights in five games.

In the heart of Canada, where hockey is a way of life, Jets fans dream of the day their team soars to Stanley Cup heights.

Nashville Predators

Joined the NHL: 1998

Closest They’ve Come: Stanley Cup Final 2017

Since 1998, the Nashville Predators have been making music on ice but haven’t yet composed their Stanley Cup-winning symphony. Their closest brush with The Cup came in 2017, reaching the Stanley Cup Final but losing to Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Fans in Music City remain hopeful, waiting for the day their team’s melody includes hoisting The Stanley Cup.

Even with the great coach Barry Trotz and their tenacious forecheck, they have yet to reach the promised land. Can stars like Roman Josi and Filip Forsberg get them over the hump? Only time will tell.

Florida Panthers

Joined the NHL: 1993

Closest They’ve Come: Stanley Cup Final 1996 & 2023

The Florida Panthers came into the league and quickly achieved success, reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 1996 in just their third season. They were swept by Peter Forsberg, Patrick Roy, and the mighty Colorado Avalanche

The Panthers have been mostly mediocre since then, up until 2023, when they again were so close to the Stanley Cup title. They lost in the final to the Vegas Knights, who were able to take themselves off of this list and win their first Stanley Cup title. The future is bright in the Sunshine State, but is it bright enough to win it all?

Mark stone holding up the Stanley Cup wearing a gold knights jersey
Photo Courtesy: Wall Street Journal

Ottowa Senators

Joined the NHL: 1992

Closest They’ve Come: Stanley Cup Final 2007

The modern Ottawa Senators, resurrected by the NHL in 1992, carry the weight of their historic name, but not the weight of the Stanley Cup. Ottawa used to dominate the early days of the NHL under the name The Ottawa Hockey Club; they won The Stanley Cup four straight years from 1903 to 1906. They changed their name to The Ottawa Senators and won seven more times before disbanding the franchise in 1934.

With legends like Art Ross and Jack Adams, who once laced up their skates in Ottawa, these modern-day players have much to live up to. Senators fans, steeped in the history and passion of Canadian hockey culture, continue to believe that their team will one day claim the ultimate prize.

San Jose Sharks

Joined the NHL: 1991

Closest They’ve Come: Stanley Cup Final 2016

The San Jose Sharks, circling the NHL waters since 1991, have had several deep playoff runs. They’ve been a powerhouse in the Western Conference for much of their existence, yet they’ve never been able to get over the hump. 

The Sharks had a great run from 1994 to 2019, where they made the playoffs in all but four seasons. This run included six Pacific Division titles, one president’s trophy, and one Staley Cup Final appearance, where they lost to Sydney Crosby, Evengi Malkin, and the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.

Arizona Coyotes (Winnipeg Jets)

Joined the NHL: 1979

Closest They’ve Come: Western Conference Finals 2012

Transplanted from Winnipeg’s frozen prairies to Arizona’s sun-baked deserts in 1996, the Coyote’s journey has remained a frigid one. Since their only division title in franchise history, which came in 2012, the Coyotes have been a bottom dweller in the NHL. They’ve only made the playoffs once since 2012 and have only won three playoff series since moving to the desert.

Their history in Winnipeg wasn’t much better. The Jets only made it to the second round once in 1987; however, they did win three WHA Titles before joining the NHL in 1979. Is this team destined for failure?

Buffalo Sabers

Joined the NHL: 1970

Closest They’ve Come: Stanley Cup Final 1975, 1980, 1999

You’ve got to feel bad for Buffalo fans; they’re as diehard as they come, and that city has never seen a championship. The poor fans have as many heartbreaking losses as any city, especially considering the Bills in the NFL. Then you have the controversial 1999 Stanley Cup Final loss to the Dallas Stars in triple overtime of game six, where Brett Hull scored a goal while he was in the goal crease, which was illegal back then.

Despite all the brutal losses, the spirit in Buffalo remains unbroken. Will the Sabres ever reach the pinnacle of the National Hockey League and bring that city a Stanley Cup?

Vancouver Cannucks

Joined the NHL: 1970

Closest They’ve Come: Stanley Cup Final 1982, 1994, 2011

The Canucks are tied with the Buffalo Sabres for the most Stanley Cup Final appearances without winning it. Despite all the heartbreaking losses, the passionate fans are still packing The Rogers Arena. 

The Canucks have won their share of division titles, but the devastating playoff losses will haunt this fanbase. From the game-seven loss to the Boston Bruins in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final to the next season when they won the President’s Trophy and got dominated by the eighth-seed Los Angeles Kings in another first-round exit.

Legends like the Sedin Twins, Roberto Luongo, and Pavel Bure couldn’t bring home a cup; will this young core be the ones to put an end to the title drought in Vancouver?

Final Thought on NHL Teams Without a Stanley Cup

We’ve gone through the heartbreaks and disappointment of the NHL franchises without a Stanley Cup. Some teams are new and have a good excuse for not winning, and some have been around a while, like the Buffalo Sabers and Vancouver Canucks. Their fans have to be asking themselves if their time will ever come. Will any of these teams put it all together and remove themselves from this list? Is this the year? Only time will tell.

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