2015: Another Year Without a Canadian Stanley Cup Winner

2015:  Another Year Without a Canadian Stanley Cup Winner&h=235&w=320&zc=1

In 1993, the Montreal Canadiens defeated Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings in five games to win the franchise’s 24th Stanley Cup. Patrick Roy’s stellar play in net was the key as Montreal hung the final banner in the Forum rafters before the team would move to the brand new Bell Centre in 1996.

More significantly, that was the last time a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup. 22 years and counting. The cradle of hockey lost their last shot at the NHL championship when the Montreal Canadiens were eliminated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference semifinals. There had been five Canadian teams in the playoffs but the Canadiens were considered the best shot. They had finished with the #2 record in the league and had the best defense–more appropriately, the best goaltender in Carey Price. Vancouver was almost expected to make one of their patented playoff meltdowns (they did), Ottawa put up a credible effort in losing to Montreal in the first round. Winnipeg and Calgary were the plucky upstarts but both ran into the buzzsaw known as the Anaheim Ducks.

Winnipeg and Vancouver has never won a Stanley Cup. You have to go ‘old school’ to get to Ottawa’s last Stanley Cup–the old Ottawa Senators franchise won it all in 1927. Calgary hasn’t won in 26 years since the Lanny McDonald led team took the Cup in six games against Montreal. The Edmonton Oilers haven’t won in 25 years since they earned their only championship without Wayne Gretzky. Toronto hasn’t won in 43 years.

It’s hard to say which team will break the drought. Calgary is definitely heading in the right direction but they’re likely a few years away from contention. Edmonton has plenty of young talent and will add the player tabbed as the next NHL superstar in Connor McDavid next season but they’re just focused on making the playoffs. Vancouver looks to be nearing the end of their run with the Sedin twins. Ottawa could go either way–there’s a lot of talent on hand but goaltending phenom Andrew Hammond looked terrible in the postseason. Winnipeg will be a pesky defensive team but needs to add offense before challenging for a Stanley Cup. Toronto has plenty of work to do before they can think about a return to championship form.

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