A feature here at Hockey Hermit’s NHL Hockey Blog will be Top 10 Tuesdays. Every Tuesday I will come up with a top 10 list, counting down classic players, teams and legendary rivalries. Please feel free to leave comments if you disagree with any of my selections, and if you have an idea for a top 10 list you want counted down then please share and I will do my best to accommodate you. Without further ado, here is this week’s list:
It is truly amazing to me how many great players who enjoyed lengthy, productive careers never got the chance to taste Stanley Cup glory. Some of the NHL’s all time leaders in many scoring categories are represented on this list and it just goes to show that a player who makes the finals can never take the opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup for granted, because they may never get back there again. Just ask some of the Hall of Famers on this list:
10 – Peter Stastny – Wayne Gretzky had more points in the 80s than any other player. Want to who was second? That’s right, Peter Stastny. This Czech player lit up the league during that decade, and he finished his incredible career with 1,239 points in 977 games. However, despite eclipsing the 100 point barrier in 7 separate seasons Stastny would never capture hockey’s ultimate prize.
9 – Mike Gartner – This speedy winger might not have been a superstar in the category of some of the others on this list, but his incredible longevity and consistent productivity make him a hard man to leave off this top 10 list. Underrated his whole career, Gartner is one of just a few select members of the 700 goal club. Look for him to also rank high on my forthcoming list: Top 10 Mustaches in NHL History.
8 – Darryl Sittler – You are going to see a few Maple Leafs on this list. When your team hasn’t won a Stanley Cup in more than 40 years odds are a few NHL greats have probably graced your roster during that time. Sittler racked up 1,121 points during his incredible career, and still holds the NHL record for most points in a single game with 10. Yet even this legendary Leaf couldn’t get the Leafs back to Stanley Cup glory.
7 – Borje Salming – Back to back Maple Leafs on this top 10 list. Salming was one of Sittler’s teammates during the 1970s, but even with both Hall of Famers the Maple Leafs still fell short. Salming was one of the first Swedish born players to come to the NHL and is probably the reason why so many Swedes have come to North America to play in the NHL. However, this pioneer may have some of the worst timing in hockey history. Not only did he play for the Maple Leafs during their long Stanley Cup drought, but the fact that he played during Bobby Orr’s era kept him from the several Norris trophies he otherwise would have won.
6 – Dale Hawerchuk – This Winnipeg Jets superstar wasted no time making an impact in the NHL. He is one of the few players in NHL history to score over 100 points as a rookie. He instantly turned the Jets from a laughable team to a serious competitor, and the team improved an astounding 48 points from the year before in Hawerchuk’s rookie season. He continued to dominate the game for many years to come, and finished his spectacular career with 1,409 points. Yet, like the others on this list, Hawerchuk couldn’t win the Stanley Cup by himself, and never seemed to have the help necessary to capture hockey’s ultimate prize.
5 – Pat LaFontaine – One of the most gifted, creative, entertaining players to ever play the game Pat LaFontaine’s incredible hands never got to lift the Stanley Cup. Considered by many to be the greatest American born hockey player of all time LaFontaine finished his career with over 1,000 points despite having his playing days cut short by recurring concussion problems.
4 – Brad Park – Out of all the players on this list Brad Park is the one that I feel most sorry for. He made the playoffs in each and every one of the 18 seasons he played, yet despite putting his body through all the extra wear and tear of playoff hockey for nearly 2 decades he still never got to sip from the Stanley Cup. To add insult to injury Brad Park also holds the dubious distinction of having the most Norris trophy nominations (6) without actually winning one. Once again Bobby Orr can take the blame for that one.
3 – Jean Ratelle – Jean Ratelle’s NHL career is eerily similar to that of Brad Park’s. He was a member of the 1972 Rangers team that lost to the Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals, got traded, along with Park to those same Bruins, consistently made the playoffs, and put up an impressive 1,267 career points, but could never get his mitts on Lord Stanley’s famous mug.
2 – Gilbert Perrault – There are few players in NHL history as crafty or as slick as Gilbert Perreault. This legendary Buffalo Sabre was the best player on one of the most prolific lines in NHL history: The French Connection Line. The Buffalo Sabres won Perreault on a lucky wheel spin prior to the 1970 draft, but that is where their luck would end. Despite scoring over 1,300 points in his Hall of Fame career, Gilbert Perreault never managed to lead the Buffalo Sabres to the Stanley Cup.
1 – Marcel Dionne – There really is only one choice for the number one spot on the list of the top 10 players that never won a Stanley Cup. Marcel Dionne is one of the most talented players in the history of the league, and his 1,771 career points ranked him second behind only Gordie Howe at the time of his retirement. Dionne played the bulk of his career with the Los Angeles Kings where he starred on the club’s famed Triple Crown Line, but the club did not have enough depth beyond their three stars, and Dionne never captured the Stanley Cup he so richly deserved.