7 NHL Good Guys Who Deserve a Shot at the Stanley Cup
Almost every season, the Stanley Cup Finals feature at least one veteran player who hockey fans across the country are pulling for, even if he isn't a member of the team they happen to be cheering for.
Two perfect examples of players like this are Ray Bourque and Dave Andreychuk, as they each played over 20 seasons in the National Hockey League before finally hoisting the Stanley Cup and retired directly afterward.
It isn't just that these two All-Stars went so long without winning as much as it is that they were such well-liked and respected players, and competed with such fire and tenacity until their final games.
There are a number of players around today who deserve to win a Stanley Cup before their careers end, but may never get the opportunity because they don't suit up for clubs that are expected to contend in the near future.
Like Andreychuk and Bourque, if veterans like this want to finally hoist hockey's ultimate prize, they may need to switch addresses for that to be possible.
So, without further ado, here are seven of hockey's 'good guys' who deserve a shot at a Stanley Cup before their careers come to an end, but will need a change of scenery in order to do so.
7. Brenden Morrow
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Unfortunately for Brenden Morrow, his best chance at winning a Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars came before he had even broken into the NHL.
That would have been in 1998-99, when the Stars captured the franchise's first cup, just one season before Morrow made his debut in Dallas.
Since then, due to an uncertain ownership situation, Dallas has been forced to begin rebuilding and captain Morrow is a key building block in that process. Though he's just 32, it's extremely unlikely the Stars will be contending by the time he enters the twilight of his career.
Morrow is a hard-charging, gritty forward who has a lot to offer, so he'd be an attractive asset to teams looking to take a run at a Cup in the next couple of seasons.
He's a leader, and he proved during the 2010 Olympics that he's capable of playing a sizable role on a championship team. He deserves to win a Stanley Cup, but in order to do so, he'll likely have to leave Dallas.
6. Jose Theodore
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Few players in recent memory have experienced the highs and lows that Jose Theodore has during his NHL career, both professionally and personally, which is why he's deserving of a shot at a Stanley Cup.
After winning the Vezina and Hart Trophies as a member of the Montreal Canadiens in 2002, he was a member of Team Canada's World-Cup-winning team in 2004.
Since then, Theodore's career has gone into a bit of a tailspin, and he hasn't been the same goalie since.
He's been solid at times, backstopping the Washington Capitals to two straight Southeast Division Championships, but shaky at others, as he lost his starting job in the playoffs in both years.
In addition to his struggles on the ice, Theodore suffered an unimaginable loss in his personal life when his one-year old son Chace passed away in the summer of 2009.
Though he served as a backup last season for the Minnesota Wild, he's slated to be Florida's starting netminder in 2011-12. But if he wants a ring before his time in the NHL is up, he'll have to move once again.
While Theodore won't be a starting goalie on a championship team, he'd be a great No. 2, and it would be the perfect end to a career that has produced dizzying heights and unthinkable valleys. Here's hoping his rollercoaster of a career ends on a positive note, because he's one of the nicest guys in the game.
5. Shane Doan
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There are few NHL players who are able to say they played their entire careers with the same club, but unless things change, Shane Doan will retire with that distinction.
Doan, now entering his eighth season as the Coyotes captain, is one of the hardest-working players in the game and continues to produce at a high level without much help offensively.
In addition to his on-ice exploits, Doan has made an even bigger impact on his community, as he leads a number of charitable causes, which is why he was awarded the King Clancy Trophy in 2010.
Though the ownership situation with the Coyotes has been unstable for over two years, Doan hasn't complained or gone public with any desires to leave the desert, which is a testament to the kind of leader the 34-year-old is.
He's also shown he's capable of being a clutch performer when given the opportunity, as he scored the winning goal in the 2004 World Cup, lifting Team Canada to a 3-2 victory over Finland.
While Doan will probably never ask to be moved, he certainly wouldn't be faulted if he did, because he's more than deserving of at least one deep playoff run before his time in the NHL's up.
4. Saku Koivu
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There have been few players in the game's recent history who have had to overcome as much as Saku Koivu has since entering the league in 1995-96, which is why he is very deserving of a chance to win his first Stanley Cup.
During his 15 seasons in the NHL, Koivu has become one of the league's most respected players, and not just because of the skill and leadership he's demonstrated during his time with the Montreal Canadiens and Anaheim Ducks.
In addition to his All-Star performances and the fact that he's the longest-tenured captain in Montreal Canadiens history, Koivu has overcome every obstacle that has threatened to derail his career, including a bout with cancer.
After missing all but the final three games of the 2001-02 season due to treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Koivu put on a gutsy performance in the 2002 playoffs, notching 10 points in 12 games, and captured the Masterton Trophy for his efforts.
Though he's no longer the offensive star he was a few years ago, he's a model of perseverance and dedication for hockey players everywhere, and he deserves to cap off his legendary career with a cup ring.
3. Ryan Smyth
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Ryan Smyth will probably never win a Stanley Cup for the simple reason that being a member of his hometown Edmonton Oilers means more than anything to him, including taking a run at a championship.
After Mike Richards was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings on June 23rd, 2011, the Kings appeared to be one of the Western Conference's top contenders entering the 2011-12 Season, with Smyth as an important cog in their lineup.
However, just days later, at Smyth's request, he was dealt to the basement-dwelling Edmonton Oilers because he wanted to be a part of the team's rebuilding process.
Considering the grinding style that Smyth plays, at age 35, he may only have a couple of seasons left in the NHL, so unless he changes addresses again, he's probably played his final postseason game.
Smyth has been a fan favorite wherever he's gone, not only for his offensive contributions, but also because he leaves everything he has on the ice night in and night out.
He's the type of player coaches dream of, as he does anything and everything a team asks of him, so it'd be difficult for anyone to be rooting against him if he were to have a shot at his first cup ring.
Unfortunately for hockey fans across North America, it doesn't look like Smyth will ever get there unless he has a change of heart, but being a part of the team that he grew up with is more important to him than any piece of hardware in the world.
2. Daniel Alfredsson
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For the last 15 seasons, Daniel Alfredsson has been the heart and soul of the Ottawa Senators offense, and ultimately the entire organization.
He's been a part of some fantastic Senators squads, including the one that marched all the way to the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals, but unfortunately, he's now a member of probably the worst lineup in franchise history.
Now entering his 12th season as Ottawa's captain, Alfredsson is facing a difficult decision as he must decide whether he wants to finish his career as a Senator or take a run at the Stanley Cup ring that has eluded him for 16 years.
At age 38, he probably has a season or two left in the tank, but unless he requests a trade, he'll continue to be a top-six forward on a rebuilding Senators team.
Excluding a Stanley Cup, he's done everything a player could dream of, as the five-time All-Star has won everything from a Calder Trophy to an Olympic Gold medal.
He'll go down as the best player in the Ottawa Senators' short history, but he deserves the opportunity to take one last run at a Cup before father time catches up with him.
1. Jarome Iginla
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For the last decade, Jarome Iginla has been one of the most dominant forces in the game, both in the NHL and at the international level, but he has been unable to claim hockey's greatest prize.
His best chance came in 2004, when Iginla, along with Mikka Kiprusoff, was the centerpiece of the Calgary Flames' run to the Stanley Cup Finals where they lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Since then, the Flames have continued to stick with veteran-heavy rosters, but it hasn't resulted in postseason success, as Calgary has yet to reach the Western Conference semifinals again.
Iginla has been the engine that drives the Flames for years, and still probably has three or four good seasons left in him, but by then, the Flames will be no closer to their first Cup since 1989.
At 34, he's still a top-line contributor, and he'd be an extremely worthwhile addition to a cup contender for reasons that go beyond his offensive numbers. Iginla is a leader first and foremost, and he's a positive influence on his teammates, coaches and the community he plays in.
In addition to what he's done in Calgary, he's been an integral part of two Olympic-Gold-Medal-winning squads, serving as an assistant captain on Team Canada's squad in 2010.
While he may never request a trade, he should be moved because you'd be hard-pressed to find an NHL player who deserves a Stanley Cup ring before his career's over more than Iginla.