The NHL's 50 Best Players and Coaches Without a Stanley Cup

Brad Kurtzberg@@sealshockeyContributor IJuly 11, 2012

The NHL's 50 Best Players and Coaches Without a Stanley Cup

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    The Stanley Cup is the ultimate trophy in professional sports.

    From the time that hockey players are small kids playing on ponds or in pee wee leagues, they dream of lifting this trophy over their heads in triumph and having their name inscribed on it alongside names like Howe, Richard, Orr, Gretzky, Lemieux and Roy.

    There are many players who reach excellence in the NHL but never manage to win a title. Perhaps they just never got to play on very good teams or their clubs run into injuries at key times or they could not overcome a dynastic opponent like the Canadiens of the 70s or the Islanders and Oilers in the 80s.

    Here is a look at the 50 greatest NHL players and coaches who achieved individual excellence, but never won the Stanley Cup. 

    Keep in mind that players who are still active may be ranked lower on this list than they may seemingly deserve to be because they still have a chance to win a championship before they retire.

50. Don Cherry

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    Before he was Canada's best dressed and most popular commentator, Don Cherry was a very successful NHL coach.

    He led the Boston Bruins in back-to-back Stanley Cup final appearances in 1977 and 1978 but ran smack into one of the most dominant teams of all time: the Canadiens dynasty of the late 70s that won four consecutive Stanley Cups.

    Cherry's teams made the playoffs in each of his five campaigns in Boston and never totaled less than 94 points in a season. His teams featured popular blue collar players like Don Marcotte, Stan Jonathan, Mike Milbury and Terry O'Reilly mixed with more skilled players like Peter McNab, Brad Park, Jean Ratelle and Rick Middleton.

    The Bruins were always one of the best teams in the league under Cherry, but they were never the best.

    After a power struggle banished him from Boston, Cherry coached the hapless Colorado Rockies for one season before moving on to a very successful career at CBC's Hockey Night in Canada.

49. Ron Greschner

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    Ron Greschner was a puck moving defenseman and occasional forward who spent his entire career with the New York Rangers. He broke into the league in 1974 and stayed on Broadway until 1990.

    In 982 career NHL games, Greschner totaled 610 points and served as captain of the Rangers in 1986-87.

    Greschner reached the Stanley Cup final once with the Rangers, back in 1979. The Canadiens beat New York in five games to win their fourth straight Stanley Cup.

48. Ryan Miller

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    Ryan Miller has won an Olympic Silver Medal, the Hobey Baker Award as the best player in college hockey, the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's best goalie, and he has been named the starter in the NHL All-Star Game, but he has never led the Sabres to a Stanley Cup win.

    The closest Miller has come is reaching the Eastern Conference final in back-to-back years in 2006 and 2007.

    With the Sabres rebuilding and Miller turning 32 before the start of next season, the former Michigan State star may be running out of chances.

47. Peter Bondra

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    Longtime Capitals winger Peter Bondra scored more than 500 goals in his NHL career. Twice he topped the 50 goal mark in a season and twice he led the league in goals scored. The native of Ukraine also appeared in five NHL All-Star Games.

    But the closest Bondra came to winning a Stanley Cup was in 1998 when the Capitals reached the final for the first time only to be swept by the Detroit Red Wings.

46. Rick Vaive

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    Rick Vaive had an impressive NHL career. He was the first Toronto Maple Leafs player to score 50 goals in a season and he topped that mark for three straight seasons in 1981-82, 1982-83 and 1983-84. He was later named captain of the Leafs.

    But despite scoring nearly 800 points, Vaive played for some awful Toronto teams and never went on a deep playoff run in his NHL career with the Canucks, Leafs, Blackhawks and Sabres. It wasn't for lack of trying. Vaive did score 27 goals in 54 career playoff games.

    Vaive last played in the NHL in 1991-92.

45. Lindy Ruff

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    Lindy Ruff had a solid, if unspectacular, NHL playing career with Buffalo and the New York Rangers from 1979 to 1991, but he is really on this list as a coach.

    Perhaps the most frustrating thing about Ruff's coaching career is how close he's come to winning a Stanley Cup without actually winning one.

    As an assistant with the Florida Panthers, he reached the finals in 1996 only to fall to the Avalanche in four straight games. Ruff took over as the bench boss in Buffalo in 1998. Since then, he has reached the Eastern Conference final three times and the Stanley Cup final once without capturing the ultimate prize.

    The loss in the final was controversial as Brett Hull scored the cup winning goal in 1999 in overtime with his foot clearly in the crease before the puck arrived.

    Ruff has won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's Coach of the Year and is one of just four coaches in NHL history to coach more than 1,000 games with a single team, but he has yet to win the Stanley Cup as either a player or a coach.

44. Rick Martin

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    Rick Martin was part of the famed "French Connection Line" in Buffalo in the 1970s along with Rene Robert and Gilbert Perreault. The trio formed one of the most dangerous lines in NHL history.

    Martin had five seasons of 40 or more goals and a pair of 50 goal seasons. Four times he was named to postseason NHL All-Star teams and he played in seven consecutive NHL All-Star Games.

    A knee injury put a premature end to Martin's career after the 1981-82 season. The closest he came to winning the Stanley Cup was when he helped the Sabres reach the final in 1975, where they fell in six games to the Philadelphia Flyers.

43. Dave Taylor

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    Dave Taylor spent his entire 17-year NHL career with the Los Angeles Kings beginning in 1977-78.

    He was best known as a member of the Kings famed "Triple Crown Line" along with Charlie Simmer and Marcel Dionne.

    While Taylor scored more than 1,000 points in his NHL career and topped the 40-goal mark three times, he only reached the Stanley Cup final once, in his next-to-last NHL season in 1992-93. The Kings had a 1-0 lead on the Canadiens before dropping the next four games and falling to the Habs.

    Taylor served as captain of the Kings and later had his number retired by the club, but he never won a Stanley Cup.

42. Trevor Linden

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    Trevor Linden remains one of the most popular players ever to wear a Vancouver Canucks sweater. He served as captain of the team and was known as "Captain Canuck" for his steady play on the ice and his dedication to the local community in Vancouver. After his retirement, Linden became just the second Canucks player to have his uniform number retired.

    The closest Linden came to the Stanley Cup was in 1994 when Vancouver reached the final only to fall in seven games to the New York Rangers. Linden scored twice in Game 7, but his team fell 3-2 in the deciding game at Madison Square Garden.

    Linden also played for the Islanders, Canadiens and Capitals, but never when those teams were making strong playoff runs.

    He retired after the 2007-08 season and finished with 867 points in a distinguished 1,382 game NHL career.

41. Joe Thornton

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    "Jumbo" Joe Thornton has had a lot of accomplishments as a hockey player.

    He has won an Olympic Gold Medal, won an NHL scoring title and won the Art Ross Trophy as league MVP. Three times Thornton has been selected to postseason All-Star Teams and he was even named captain for an NHL All-Star Game.

    In 2010-11, Thornton topped the 1,000 point mark for his NHL career and three times he has scored more than 100 points in a season.

    But for all of his success during the regular season, Thornton has never even reached the Stanley Cup final, let alone won hockey's ultimate prize. The closest he has come was when he led the Sharks in back-to-back Western Conference finals in 2010 and 2011.

    Time may be running out for "Jumbo Joe." Thornton is now 33 and the Sharks will almost certainly face a major rebuilding job if they don't win soon.

40. Roger Crozier

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    Roger Crozier was a very talented goaltender for the Detroit Red Wings, the Buffalo Sabres and the Washington Capitals.

    Crozier won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year and was also named to the postseason All-Star Team as a rookie in 1965.

    He led the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup final in 1966 and even won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, but Detroit lost to Montreal in six games.

    In 1975, he helped the Buffalo Sabres reach the Stanley Cup final in only their fifth season of operation, but Buffalo fell to the Philadelphia Flyers.

    Health problems disrupted what started out as a very promising career and Crozier retired after a very brief stint with the Capitals in 1976-77. He passed away at the age of 53 in 1996.

39. Rene Robert

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    Rene Robert was a member of Buffalo's famed "French Connection Line" along with Rick Martin and Gilbert Perreault back in the 1970s.

    Twice Robert scored 40 or more goals in a season and in 1974-75, he scored 100 points in a season and helped the Sabres reach the Stanley Cup final. The Sabres had plenty of good teams in the 1970s, but they never reached the Stanley Cup final again.

    In 1979, Buffalo shipped Robert off to the Colorado Rockies, a team nowhere near cup contention. Robert played well for the Rockies before ending his career with a brief stint with the Maple Leafs. He finished with 702 points in 744 career NHL games.

38. Rick Middleton

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    Rick Middleton was a very productive goal scorer for some strong Boston Bruins teams in the 1970s and 80s. Although he played in three Stanley Cup final series with the Bruins, Boston fell short of the ultimate goal each time.

    Middleton spent his first two seasons with the Rangers and scored more than 20 goals each year on Broadway. But the Rangers shipped him to Boston for aging veteran Ken Hodge in one of the most one-sided trades in NHL history.

    Middleton topped the 40-goal mark for five consecutive seasons from 1979-80 until 1983-84 and even scored a career-high 51 goals in 1981-82. His deft scoring touch earned him the nickname "Nifty."

    In 1983, Middleton set a record that still stands by scoring 33 points in just 17 playoff games, which gave him the most points in a playoff year on a team that did not reach the Stanley Cup final.

    He retired after the 1987-88 season with 988 points in 1,005 career NHL games.

37. Jarome Iginla

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    Jarome Iginla has had a very strong career in the NHL since breaking in with the Calgary Flames during the 1996 playoffs.

    He reached the Stanley Cup final with the Flames in 2004, but Calgary fell in seven games to the Tampa Bay Lightning. That year, Iginla had 13 goals and 22 points in 26 playoff games.

    Iginla has pretty much accomplished all that there is to accomplish in the NHL except for winning a championship. Twice he led the NHL in goals. He has also topped the 500 goal and 1,000 points mark for his career. He has also won a pair of Olympic Gold Medals.

    At 35, time may be running out for Iginla to fulfill his dream of winning a Stanley Cup, although he remains a very productive player at this point in his career.

36. Harry Howell

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    OK, technically, Harry Howell got his name on the Stanley Cup in 1990 as a scout, but we're talking about Howell the player here, and even his brief time as an NHL head coach.

    Howell had a Hall of Fame career with the Rangers, winning the Norris Trophy in 1967 as the league's best defenseman and playing in seven NHL All-Star Games. The Rangers retired Howell's No. 3 in 2009 and he remains the all-time Rangers leader in games played.

    But Howell's career coincided with the Rangers 54-year Stanley Cup drought. He later played for the Oakland Seals, Los Angeles Kings and several WHA teams before finally hanging up his skates for good in 1976. The Stanley Cup, however, remained elusive. In fact, despite reaching the playoffs eight times in his career, he never played on a team that advanced past the first round.

    Howell later served as head coach of the Minnesota North Stars in 1978-79, but they failed to reach the playoffs, let alone win the Stanley Cup.

35. Roger Neilson

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    Roger Neilson was a well-respected coach with eight different NHL teams from the late 1970s through 2002.

    He pioneered the use of videotape to scout opponents and thereby earned the nickname "Captain Video."

    Neilson won a President's Trophy in 1992 with the Rangers and led the Maple Leafs to a celebrated upset of the New York Islanders in the Quarterfinal Round of the 1978 playoffs.

    He came closest to winning the Stanley Cup in 1982 when he led a below .500 Vancouver Canucks team on a Cinderella run to the final before they fell to the New York Islanders.

    During the playoffs that year, he waived a white towel at the referees when protesting some questionable calls against his club. It became a rallying cry for the Canucks team and their fans.

    Off the ice, Neilson was known as a man dedicated to both the game of hockey and to his faith.

    He finished with 460 NHL career coaching victories and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in the builder's category. He died of cancer in 2003.

34. Bernie Nicholls

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    Bernie Nicholls scored a lot of points in a very successful NHL career, but he never played for a Stanley Cup winning team.

    In 1988-89, Nicholls had one of the best seasons in NHL history, scoring 70 goals and 150 points for the Kings.

    His unique goal celebration, which included the star forward pumping his arm, earned him the nickname Bernie "Pumper" Nicholls and helped make him one of the most popular players in Los Angeles.

    Despite all of his offensive success, Nicholls never even reached the Stanley Cup final playing for the Kings, Rangers, Oilers, Devils, Blackhawks, or Sharks.

    He finished his NHL career with 1,209 points in 1,127 games.

33. Jeremy Roenick

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    Jeremy Roenick played on teams that qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 17 different seasons during his NHL career, but he never managed to play for a championship team.

    "J.R." only reached the Stanley Cup final once, in 1992 with the Blackhawks, who were promptly swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Roenick played for Chicago, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Jose. He was the third American-born player to top the 500-goal mark for his career. He finished with 1,216 points in 1,363 NHL games and also played in nine NHL All-Star Games, but he never won a Stanley Cup.

32. Henrik Lundqvist

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    Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been a standout for the New York Rangers since joining the club after the lockout ended.

    He has also accumulated many honors.

    "King Henrik" is the only NHL goalie to win 30 or more games in each of his first seven NHL seasons. He also won an Olympic Gold Medal, played in three NHL All-Star Games and won the 2012 Vezina Trophy.

    But Lundqvist has never won a Stanley Cup. In fact, this past season was the first time he ever got the Rangers past the second round of the playoffs.

    At 30, Lundqvist is still in his prime and still has time to get himself off this list. But for now, he has yet to accomplish hockey's ultimate goal.

31. Eric Lindros

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    For a brief time, Eric Lindros was a force on the ice and arguably the best player in the NHL before injuries derailed and shortened his career.

    Lindros scored 865 points in just 760 career NHL games and played in seven NHL All-Star Games. He was league MVP during the lockout shortened 1994-95 season and his size and skill were too much for opponents to handle.

    But Lindros was unable to win a Stanley Cup during his time with the Flyers. The closest he came was a run to the final in 1997 when Philadelphia was swept by the Red Wings. Lindros had 12 goals and 26 points in just 19 games that postseason.


    Stints with the Rangers, Maple Leafs and Stars got Lindros no closer to a Stanley Cup and injuries forced him to retire in 2007.

30. Henrik Sedin

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    Henrik Sedin is one of the top setup men in the NHL today. He and his brother Daniel make up one of the NHL's deadliest duos.

    Henrik has already won an NHL scoring crown and was named league MVP in 2010. He has been selected to three NHL All-Star Games and a pair of postseason All-Star Teams.

    But in 11 NHL seasons, Sedin has never won a Stanley Cup. The closest he came was in 2011, when the Canucks fell to the Bruins in seven games.

29. Daniel Sedin

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    Daniel Sedin is the better goal scorer of the twins who have been inseparable since their days growing up in Sweden. He has been one of the top offensive threats in the NHL since joining the Canucks in 2000.

    Like his brother Henrik, Daniel reached the Stanley Cup final once, in 2011. He has also won an NHL scoring crown in 2011 and has played in a pair of NHL All-Star Games.

    At 32, Daniel and his brother have a few more chances to win a Stanley Cup, but thus far, a championship has eluded the Sedin Brothers and the Vancouver Canucks.

28. Pierre Turgeon

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    Pierre Turgeon scored more than a point-per-game in the NHL (1,327 points in 1,294 career games). Twice he scored more than 100 points in a season including a career-high 132 with the 1993 Islanders. That same season, he won the Lady Byng Trophy.

    But none of Turgeon's teams ever reached the Stanley Cup final, let alone won a championship. It wasn't for a lack of production on Turgeon's part. In 109 playoff games, he scored 35 goals and accumulated 97 points.

    Turgeon played for the Sabres, Islanders, Canadiens, Blues, Stars and Avalanche during his NHL career. He retired after the 2006-07 season.

27. Michel Goulet

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    Michel Goulet was a high scoring sniper for the Nordiques and Blackhawks over 15 NHL seasons.

    He scored more than 50 goals in four straight seasons from 1982-83 through 1985-86.

    Goulet reached the Stanley Cup final only once in his career, with Chicago in 1992 when he was already near the end of his career. The Penguins extinguished Goulet's best chance at a championship in four straight games.

    Goulet was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998.

26. Paul Kariya

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    Paul Kariya was one of the most dynamic setup men of his day and scored exactly 989 points in 989 career NHL games before his career was cut short by injuries.

    He won back-to-back Lady Byng Trophies and was named to a postseason All-Star Team five different times.

    Kariya and Teemu Selanne were one of hockey's deadliest offensive duos during their time in Anaheim.

    But Kariya never won the Stanley Cup and reached the final just once with Anaheim in 2003. He later played for Colorado, Nashville and St. Louis, but none of those teams made a long playoff run while Kariya was with the club.

25. Curtis Joseph

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    No goalie in NHL history has won more games (454) without winning a Stanley Cup than Curtis Joseph.

    "Cujo" played well in the playoffs, often leading lower-seeded teams to early round upsets, but he never played for a dominant team and never even reached a Stanley Cup final.

    Joseph was one of the most popular players nearly everywhere he played. He was named to three All-Star Games and won an Olympic Gold Medal, but he never won a Stanley Cup.

    It remains to be seen if his failure to win a championship will keep him out of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

24. Dale Hunter

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    Dale Hunter was one of the most controversial players during his tenure in the NHL. He was a guy that teammates hated to play against.  His agitating style often crossed the line into dirty play, but he was also someone most NHL players would have loved to have on their team.

    Hunter scored 1,020 points in 1,407 NHL games with the Nordiques, Capitals and Avalanche and served as captain of the Caps. He also stands second in NHL history in penalty minutes with 3,563.

    Hunter reached the Stanley Cup final only once in his career in 1998, but his Caps were swept by the Detroit Red Wings.

    He now owns and coaches the OHA's London Knights.

23. Keith Tkachuk

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    Keith Tkachuk is one of the best American-born players ever to play in the NHL. In 1,201 career games, he scored 538 goals and totaled 1,065 points.

    Unfortunately for Tkachuk, he never played on a team that ever reached a Stanley Cup final. The Jets/Coyotes franchise never even got out of the first round during his decade there. Later stints with St. Louis and Atlanta also failed to get Tkachuk's name engraved on the Stanley Cup.

    Tkachuk did play in five NHL All-Star Games and was named to two postseason All-Star Teams. He retired in 2010.

22. Phil Housley

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    Phil Housley holds the record for playing in the most games in NHL history without winning a Stanley Cup. The American-born defenseman played in 1,495 career games with nine different NHL franchises and still stands second among American players with 1,232 career points.

    Housley only reached the Stanley Cup final once in his 21-year NHL career. In 1998, Housley's Washington Capitals were swept by the Detroit Red Wings.

    Despite his outstanding career, Housley has yet to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

21. Pavel Bure

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    Pavel Bure was one of the most dangerous and exciting goal scorers in the NHL in the 1990s, before injuries cut short his career.

    "The Russian Rocket" had five seasons with 50 or more goals and back-to-back seasons where he hit 60 goals in one campaign.

    Bure helped the Vancouver Canucks reach the Stanley Cup final in 1994, but they fell to the Rangers in seven games. He never came close to a title after that, despite scoring 70 points in 64 career playoff games.

    Bure was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.

20. Daniel Alfredsson

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    Daniel Alfredsson has been the heart and soul of the Ottawa Senators since coming over from his native Sweden in 1996.

    Alfredsson has already topped the 1,000-point mark for his career and been selected to six NHL All-Star Games.

    As captain of the Sens, Alfredsson kept Ottawa near the top of the NHL standings in the early-to-mid 2000s. He also helped lead the Ottawa Senators to the Stanley Cup final in 2007, but the Anaheim Ducks won the cup in five games.

    Alfredsson is nearing the end of his NHL career at 39 and is still deciding whether or not to return for one more NHL season as of right now. The Stanley Cup is the only major thing missing from his NHL resume.

19. Darryl Sittler

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    Darryl Sittler was the captain and one of the most popular members of a very good Toronto Maple Leafs team in the late 1970s.

    Sittler scored an NHL record 10 points in one game against the Boston Bruins and twice he scored 100 points or more in a season.

    But the Leafs were in disarray under the controversial ownership of Harold Ballard. Sittler departed Toronto during the 1981-82 season because of a dispute with management.

    Sittler later played for Philadelphia and Detroit, but never reached a Stanley Cup final. He retired in 1985 and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989.

18. Dino Ciccarelli

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    Dino Ciccarelli scored 600 goals and more than 1,200 points in his NHL career and was selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.

    Ciccarelli scored 21 points in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 1981, an NHL record for rookies which has since been tied by Ville Leino. He was also selected to play in four NHL All-Star Games.

    Ciccarelli reached the Stanley Cup final in his rookie season with the Minnesota North Stars and again with the Detroit Red Wings in 1995, but he never managed to win a cup.

17. Adam Oates

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    Adam Oates was one of the best passers of his era, but none of his 1,079 career NHL helpers managed to get one of his teams to a Stanley Cup win.

    Twice Oates reached the cup final. In 1998, the Capitals made the trip before falling to Detroit, and in 2003, his Anaheim Ducks fell to the New Jersey Devils in seven games.

    Oates and Brett Hull formed one of the deadliest duos in NHL history in the early 1990s with St. Louis. The former RPI star also played for Detroit, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Anaheim and Edmonton in his 19-year NHL career.

    Oates was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame and named head coach of the Washington Capitals last month.

16. Alexander Ovechkin

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    Alex Ovechkin has accumulated a lot of individual awards since breaking into the NHL in 2005-06.

    He won the Caldar Trophy as the league's top rookie, two Rocket Richard Trophies for leading the league in goals scored, an Art Ross Trophy as scoring champion and a pair of Hart Trophies as league MVP.

    A short time ago, Ovechkin was considered by most experts to be one of the top two players in the world (along with Sidney Crosby). But while Crosby has won a Stanley Cup and reached the final on another occasion, Ovechkin has yet to find postseason success.

    But for all of his scoring prowess, Ovechkin has never gotten the Washington Capitals past the second round of the playoffs.

    At 27, Ovechkin should have plenty of chances to win a title, but thus far, his team's playoff failures have to rank among the biggest disappointments of his NHL career.

15. Bernie Federko

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    Bernie Federko accumulated 1,130 points in 1,000 career NHL games and holds many all-time scoring records for the St. Louis Blues. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002.

    Four times in his NHL career, he scored more than 100 points in a season and he was also selected to a pair of NHL All-Star Games.

    Federko served as captain of the Blues and is considered by many to be the best skater in the franchise's history. He played his entire NHL career in St. Louis except for his final season, which he spent with the rival Red Wings. Federko never played in a Stanley Cup final during his NHL career.

14. Ed Giacomin

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    Ed Giacomin was one of the most popular Rangers ever to play for the franchise and helped New York reach the playoffs for eight consecutive seasons in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

    Giacomin was named to five postseason All-Star Teams and played in six All-Star Games. In 1971, he and backup Gilles Villemure won the Vezina Trophy for allowing the fewest goals in the league that year.

    In 1972, Giacomin fought through a knee injury and helped the Rangers reach the Stanley Cup final against the Boston Bruins, but Boston won the series in six games.

    Giacomin ended his NHL career with a stop in Detroit, but the Red Wings were not a playoff-caliber team by then, so Giacomin never won a Stanley Cup.

    The Rangers retired his jersey in 1989. In 1987, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

13. Dale Hawerchuk

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    High-scoring Dale Hawerchuk scored 1,409 career points in 1,188 NHL games with the Jets, Sabres, Blues and Flyers.

    Seven times Hawerchuk scored more than 40 goals in a season and on six occasions he topped the 100-point mark.

    The fast skating native of Toronto only reached the Stanley Cup final in his last NHL season with the Philadelphia Flyers, but they were swept by the Red Wings and Hawerchuk's last chance to win a Stanley Cup was dashed.

    The Phoenix Coyotes (the former Winnipeg Jets) retired his jersey in 2006-07 and Hawerchuk was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.

12. Pat Lafontaine

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    Pat Lafontaine was a high-powered scoring center who played for the Islanders, Sabres and Rangers.

    The St. Louis native topped the 40-goal mark five times in his NHL career and twice scored more than 50 in a single campaign.

    Unfortunately for Lafontaine, he joined the Islanders one year too late to win a Stanley Cup. The Isles won four straight Cups from 1980-1983. Lafontaine joined the Isles after the 1984 Olympics and they reached the Stanley Cup final again in his rookie year, but they fell to the Edmonton Oilers who were just starting a dynasty of their own.

    Lafontaine would never get that deep into the playoffs again. Repeated concussions forced him to retire at the age of 33 in 1998. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003.

11. Rod Gilbert

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    Rod Gilbert was a high-scoring right wing for the Rangers in the 1960s and 70s. He was part of "The GAG Line," or goal-a-game line, which was named for its consistent goal producing prowess.

    Gilbert was selected to play in eight NHL All-Star Games and twice made the postseason All- Star Team. He was a member of the 1972 team of NHL stars that represented Canada against the USSR in the first Summit Series.

    The closest Gilbert came to the Stanley Cup was in 1972 when the Rangers fell to the Bruins in six games in the Stanley Cup final.

    Gilbert was the first Rangers player to have his jersey retired. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982.

10. Borje Salming

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    Borje Salming was one of the first Swedes to come play in the NHL.

    His success in North America helped pave the way for future players from northern Europe to compete in the best league in the world.

    Salming spent 16 seasons with the Maple Leafs from 1973 until 1989 before spending a final NHL season with Detroit. He never reached a Stanley Cup final in his NHL career.

    The Swedish pioneer played in three NHL All-Star Games and represented the NHL in the three-game Challenge Cup Series against the Russians in 1979.

    He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996.

9. Peter Stastny

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    Peter Stastny totaled 1,239 points in 977 career games with the Quebec Nordiques, New Jersey Devils and St. Louis Blues, but the high scoring winger never won a Stanley Cup.

    Stastny defected from Czechoslovakia, when that country was still part of the communist bloc, and made an immediate impact in the NHL. He became the first rookie to top the 100- point mark in 1980-81. He finished with seven seasons of 100 points or more in his career.

    His brothers Marian and Anton later joined him in Quebec and all three played together for the Nords in the 1980s.

    Despite his dynamic plays and groundbreaking political moves, Stastny never played in a Stanley Cup final. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998.

8. Mike Gartner

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    While Mike Gartner was one of the most consistent goal scorers in NHL history, he earned a reputation as a mediocre playoff performer.

    After a year in the WHA, Gartner played for the Capitals, North Stars, Rangers, Maple Leafs and Coyotes but never reached a Stanley Cup final. He was on the New York Rangers in 1994, the year they won the Cup, but was dealt at the trade deadline because Coach Mike Keenan was seeking a bigger, more physical winger.

    In 1,432 NHL games, he scored 708 goals and 1,335 points. He was a very consistent goal scorer and plotted 30 or more goals in his first 15 NHL seasons.

    Gartner was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.

7. Emile Francis

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    Emile Francis was one of the best coaches and general managers in NHL history, but the Stanley Cup eluded his grasp.

    "The Cat" took over a terrible Rangers club in the mid-1960s and built them into a consistent title contender. For three straight seasons in the early 70s, Francis' Rangers teams defeated the defending Stanley Cup champions in the playoffs, but they were never able to win a cup themselves.

    Francis also built up youth hockey throughout the New York area and is largely responsible for the Rangers' popularity and success to this day.

    After leaving Broadway, Francis moved on to St. Louis and built the Blues into a contending team, despite having a limited budget.

    He later moved on to Hartford and was GM of the Whalers when they won their only division title in the NHL.

    Francis was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder. He accomplished a lot in his career as a coach and GM, but he never won the Stanley Cup.

6. Cam Neely

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    Cam Neely was the NHL's best power forward in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the Boston Bruins.

    He had three seasons of 50 or more goals and twice topped the 90-point mark in a season.

    Neely played in five NHL All-Star Games and was named to a postseason All-Star team four times. Twice Neely reached the Stanley Cup final with the Bruins but was defeated both times by the Edmonton Oilers.

    His career was disrupted and eventually ended after a dirty hit by Pittsburgh's Ulf Samuelsson in the 1991 NHL playoffs.

    Neely was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005.

5. Brad Park

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    Brad Park was known as the second-best defenseman in the NHL during his playing days, mostly because he had the misfortune of playing at the same time as Bobby Orr.

    Park was still named to seven postseason NHL All-Star Teams and played in nine NHL All-Star Games. He also was selected to represent Canada in the 1972 Summit Series and was the MVP of the eighth and deciding game. Six times Park was the runner-up for the Norris Trophy, but he never actually won the award.

    Park reached the playoffs in each of his 17 NHL seasons. He played in three Stanley Cup finals, one with the Rangers (1972) and two with the Bruins (1977 and 1978), but he never won a Stanley Cup.

    The Toronto native was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.

4. Jean Ratelle

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    Jean Ratelle was a smooth-skating center for the Rangers and Bruins from 1960-1981.

    Ratelle centered the GAG line with wingers Rod Gilbert and Vic Hadfield and was the top center on a Rangers team that made the postseason for nine consecutive seasons.

    Ratelle scored 1,267 points in 1,281 career games including a career high 109 points in 1971-72. He managed that total despite missing the final 15 games of the season with a broken ankle.

    Although he played in 123 playoff games and reached the Stanley Cup final three times, Ratelle never won a Stanley Cup.

    Ratelle retired as the NHL's sixth all-time leading scorer. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985.

3. Norm Ullman

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    Norm Ullman had a great NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs from 1955-1975. Unfortunately for Ullman, he joined Detroit just after they won their last Stanley Cup in 1955 (they would not win again until 1997) and was traded to Toronto just after the Leafs won their last Cup in 1967. He retired after two years in the WHA with the Edmonton Oilers.

    Ullman scored 1,229 points in 1,410 career NHL games and played in 11 NHL All-Star Games. Two times he led all skaters in playoff scoring, but his teams never captured hockey's ultimate prize.

    Ullman was unquestionably one of the best stickhandlers and forecheckers in hockey history and also one of the best players of his era.

    Ullman was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982.

2. Gilbert Perreault

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    Gilbert Perreault is the greatest player in the history of the Buffalo Sabres franchise. He was their first ever draft selection in 1970 and remained with the club until his retirement in 1987.

    Perreault was a fast skater and dangerous with the puck. He centered Buffalo's famed "French Connection Line," which helped the Sabres reach the playoffs in their third season of existence and the Stanley Cup final just two years later.

    Unfortunately for Perreault, he never returned to the Stanley Cup final again.

    He finished his NHL career with 1,326 points in 1,191 games. In 1990, the Sabres retired his No. 11 and he was also inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

1. Marcel Dionne

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    Little Marcel Dionne had great hands and was one of the most outstanding offensive players in NHL history during his 18-year NHL career.

    As the center on the Kings "Triple Crown Line," Dionne led the NHL in scoring in 1979-80. He topped the 100-point mark eight times in his NHL career, once with Detroit and seven times with the Kings.

    Dionne ended his career as only the third player in NHL history to score more than 700 goals in his career. He is fourth all-time among goal scorers with 731 and fifth all-time in points with 1,771.

    Despite his offensive prowess, Dionne never advanced beyond the second round of the playoffs in his NHL career.

    Dionne was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992.