Stanley Cup Finals: L.A. Kings and the 10 Longest Stanley Cup Droughts
The Los Angeles Kings are one win away from their first Stanley Cup in Franchise history.
A win in Game 4 will sweep the New Jersey Devils and end a 43 year Stanley Cup drought that LA hasn't faced since its inception.
It’s a frustrating note that fans and players are all too well aware of, and for the Kings especially, since Anaheim won the cup in 14 seasons.
The Ducks victory in 2007 made them the first Californian team to win the cup, though LA is the oldest.
With the Kings looking at being the third team in as many years to end a long cup drought, we’ll take a look at 10 teams in the NHL that have the longest wait to hoist the cup.
Some of these were teams that previously raised Sir Stanley’s Mug. In these cases, the number of years starts from the following season.
For teams that have never won the cup, the year denotes the later half of the year they entered the league; for example, LA joined with the expansion of 1967, so their first chance to win the cup would have been 1968.
The teams are listed from the shortest to the longest and include this season and if the team has been knocked out of the playoffs.
Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes 1980-Present
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The Phoenix Coyotes entered the NHL as one of the few absorbed when the WHA folded in 1979.
Back then they were the original incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets, and through their 17 year tenure in Winnipeg, they never once won the cup.
After having been the most successful team in the short lived WHA, winning its league trophy three times and making the finals five of the leagues seven years, they seemed to flounder in the NHL.
Even after moving to Phoenix, the Coyotes have struggled to see any playoff success—until this season that is, where they made it to the Conference Finals.
In the 32 seasons of play that the Coyotes have been without a Cup, they have come close only once—which was this year—having otherwise not made it past the second round.
Philadelphia Flyers 1976-Present
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Philadelphia came into the league with the six original expansion teams, officially starting play in the fall of 1967.
The Flyers received the distinction of being the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup; the first time was in 1974 and the second again in 1975.
That would be the last time for Philadelphia, as they would embark on a 36 year Cup drought.
For a team to have seen early success amid a growing league only to stagnate over the decades has been the ire of many Philly fans.
The Flyers have not done poorly or had huge postseason droughts, but it’s the one drought that fans are constantly reminded of.
During the Flyers wait to once more raise the Stanley Cup, they have managed to play for it seven times since they last won in 1975.
Washington Capitals 1975-Present
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The Capitals are one of the remaining teams to have never hoisted the Cup since they entered the league in the 1974-75 season.
In the 37 years since their inception, Washington has seen a fair amount of success, winning one conference championship and seven division titles on their quest for the cup.
Not even having one of the greatest players in the game today, if you ask a Washington fan, has been able to help them.
The only time they have actually played in the Stanley Cup Finals was in 1998, in which they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings.
Since that series in 1998, the Caps have only managed to get past the first round of the playoffs three times.
Boston Bruins 1973-2011
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Last year Boston became the second Original Six team in two years to end a long Stanley Cup drought.
In the early 1970s, they were a tough team to play and would win the cup twice in three years.
That would be last time the Bruins would win the Stanley Cup for a long 38 years.
The Bruins would still be playoff regulars after their last championship run for the better part of three decades.
They would make the postseason every season from 1973 until the 1997 playoffs. The Bruins would also make it to the Stanley Cup Finals five times before finding victory.
Last years victory over Vancouver would mark the sixth cup for the franchise.
Buffalo Sabres 1971-Present
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Like many of the expansion teams, Buffalo has not had Stanley Cup success.
Since they arrived in the league in the 1970-71 season, they have waited 40 long years to raise the Stanley Cup in victory.
During their existence, the Sabres have won six division titles, three conference championships and even a President’s Trophy for the 2006-07 season.
Yet it is the Stanley Cup that has eluded this team for 41 years.
They have had two chances to take home the trophy, but they were unable to defeat the Flyers in 1975 and the Stars in 1999.
Of the five times that the Sabres have won their division, they have only once manage to go all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, stats that need to change in order to end this drought.
Vancouver Canucks 1971-Present
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The Canucks joined the league the same year as Buffalo, and while they have marginally seen better playoff results, they too have a 41 year drought.
In recent years the Canucks have been a dominant team during the regular season, but they fell short of ending their drought last season by one game.
Vancouver has had two other chances to play for the Stanley Cup, but they were unable to defeat the New York Islanders in 1982 or the New York Rangers in 1994.
In their years trying to end this drought, they have managed nine division championships, three conference championships and two President’s Trophy’s.
Of all the teams on this list, the Canucks seem to be the ones closest to ending their drought, after LA of course.
St. Louis Blues 1968-Present.
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The Blues are one of the last remaining original expansion teams that have yet to win a cup.
Out of all their counterparts, they had more chances in their early years to do so.
During the first three years of the Blues existence, they would go to the Stanley Cup Finals each year, though were unable to clinch the cup in any of the series.
The Blues, unlike their expansion counterparts, have not been back to the Stanley Cup Finals since the 1970 postseason.
Going into this season’s playoff run, the Blues were looking good. They finished only a few points behind the President’s Trophy winners and solidified the second seed overall in the West.
It wouldn’t be enough as the Kings would sweep them in the second round to make history and continue the Blues 44 year drought.
Toronto Maple Leafs 1968-Present
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By far this is one of the most notorious droughts in the NHL today. The Leafs are the only Original Six team to not win the cup since the expansion.
The last time that Toronto did win was the year before.
With 13 Stanley Cup’s to their name, the Leafs seem to have fallen hard from their glory days.
Unlike any of their other teams on this list, Toronto has not even played for the cup since 1967.
The closest they would come was the Conference Finals' back to back years. In 1993 they lost to the Kings, and in 1994 they lost to the Canucks.
While it may not be the longest drought in NHL history, the 44 year drought is one that fans of other teams love to point out.
Toronto still has a few years before they hold the longest drought streak.
Chicago Blackhawks 1962-2010
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The Blackhawks managed to end their 48 year drought in 2010.
The victory was much to the relief of the team and its fans as they were rapidly approaching the longest drought in NHL history.
Before their 2010 victory, Chicago had not won the cup since 1961, though they would return to the Finals the following year the Blackhawks would lose to the Maple Leafs.
Chicago would manage five more attempts at the Stanley Cup throughout the years before 2010, becoming the second last Original Six to win a cup since the expansion.
To add to the ending of their drought in 2010, that season Chicago became the first team to win its division, conference and the Stanley Cup.
New York Rangers 1941-1994
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The title for the longest Stanley Cup drought goes to the New York Rangers.
It took the Rangers over half a century in-between Championship runs. They won the Stanley Cup in 1940, then not again until 1994.
In the 53 years between, there were many theories akin to the Bambino’s curse on Boston.
There were a few theories as to what sparked the Curse of 1940, but unlike the Babe’s curse on Boston, none were frontrunners.
Some believe it was attributed to the New York Americans old Head coach and GM who had to stop operations during the war, while others believed it was due to MSG owners burning the mortgage in the bowel of the cup.
Whatever caused the curse, or if there even was one, is now left for speculation of fans who remember the 1994 win.
The Rangers, on the other hand, are hoping that another 53 years don't pass before they win the cup again.