He Still Hasn’t Won? Five Men Competing for Their First Stanley Cup

We’re already into the second round of the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs, and while some players are aiming to add another title to their resume, many others are still chasing their first.

One of the nicest traditions in hockey is the sequence in which Stanley Cup winners distribute the hardware to one another.

Seniority is typically used to determine who will raise the Cup after the captain.

It creates unforgettable moments, such as the one in which Joe Sakic gave the Cup to seasoned veteran Raymond Bourque, who was completing his 22nd and last NHL season.

Even while nothing may ever come close to that particular moment, the fabled Bourque hoist is always performed in some capacity every year.

So, this year, who will it be? These five players haven’t taken home a Stanley Cup for a very long time. It may even be their last chance to win it for some of them.

Colorado Avalanche’s Zach Parise, LW
For one last try, Parise inked a one-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche in January.

Over the course of his previous 11 seasons, the 39-year-old has failed to make it past the second round ever since his defeat in the 2012 Stanley Cup final with the New Jersey Devils. Parise spent nine years with the Minnesota Wild before being purchased out at the conclusion of the 2020–21 campaign. Over the previous two years, he has established himself as a consistent bottom-six forward with the New York Islanders.

Despite his lack of skill, Parise has established himself on Colorado’s second line with Casey Mittelstadt and Artturi Lehkonen, and in his six postseason games so far, he has scored two goals.

“This is an individual who has returned from retirement, with several teams offering him opportunities, and he chose to join us,” Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar stated. “We really hope we win for him.”

Dallas Stars’ Joe Pavelski, C
Since joining the NHL in 2006, only Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Nikita Kucherov, and Alex Ovechkin have amassed more playoff points than Joe Pavelski (140).

The 39-year-old timeless talent has already experienced the heartache of losing in the Stanley Cup final—with San Jose in 2016 and Dallas in 2020. He has flirted with the 30-goal threshold in each of his last three seasons.

Early in the 2022–23 campaign, Pavelski told The Athletic, “It keeps you going.” “It’s in the back of your mind at all times.”

May this year prove to be the one? With 27 goals and 67 points, Pavelski came in second on the Stars in scoring. More significantly, though, he has served as a mentor to a Dallas squad that has depended on Logan Stankoven and Wyatt Johnston to provide offensive contributions.

In March, Stars coach Pete Deboer told The Hockey News, “Joe’s story is much more about leadership and leading by example and taking the young guys under his wings and showing them the way and playing the right way.”

Dallas Stars’ Ryan Suter, D
Ryan Suter is the only active player in the NHL with most games played without a Stanley Cup.

The 39-year-old has played 124 playoff games in 124 NHL seasons, dividing his time between the Nashville Predators, Minnesota Wild, and Dallas Stars. He has averaged 25:42 minutes per night throughout this time.

Suter has nearly 20 years of experience, but the only time he has ever been close to winning a cup was in the spring of last year, when the Stars lost in the Western Conference Finals.

After this season, Suter’s contract expires after one more year. He averaged less than 20 minutes per game for the first time since his rookie season in 2005–06.

Carolina Hurricanes’ D. Brent Burns
Just on feelings alone, it would be fantastic to see Burns win the cup.

Even at 39 years old, the grizzled and bearded veteran remains one of the league’s most intriguing characters and a reliable top-pairing defenseman.

Defenseman Jaccob Slavin of the Hurricanes told ESPN, “He’s the biggest kid in this locker room and just loves the game.” “He’s unique in every way.”

Burns has lost in the 2016 Cup Final with San Jose and has advanced to three conference finals, including the previous year with Carolina.

The coach of the Hurricanes, Rod Brind’Amour, told The Dallas Morning News, “He knows he doesn’t have too many more kicks at it.” But I believe everyone in our organization is aware of that. We are grateful for that. We have for some time now.

Paul Maurice, Florida Panthers coach
Think of the soundbites Maurice would have to offer if he were to finally win a Stanley Cup.

Or the fierce fist-pump he would unleash in the event of a probable game-winning goal?

In a field where people’s personalities are rarely given much freedom to be on show, Paul Maurice is a mystery. He has managed benches in the NHL for 25 years, but he has never taken home a title.

Maurice, the youngest coach in league history to coach 1,000 and 1,500 games, was never closer than he was the previous season, when the Panthers made an unlikely run to the Cup final before falling to Vegas in five games.

Panthers forward Sam Reinhart told The Miami Herald that “he coaches in a way that makes the players feel like they can coach the team.” “He teaches with such clarity. Ever since the first day of training camp two years ago, he was all over us. That gives the players the assurance that they can perform when they go out.

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