Skip to Main Content
Super 16

Super 16: Expansion era teams that did not win Stanley Cup

Lightning of 2018-19, 1995-96 Red Wings among best who fell short since 1967-68

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

Super 16: Non-Cup-Winning Teams

Ranking the Super 16 teams to not win the Stanley Cup

The 2018-2019 Lightning top the list of top teams to not win the Stanley Cup in Super 16 classic edition, presented by New Amsterdam Vodka

  • 02:11 •

The NHL season has been paused since March 12 because of concerns about the coronavirus, but the weekly Super 16 rolls on in a revamped form, looking at the history of the game. This week, it's the top 16 teams that didn't win the Stanley Cup from 1967-present day, the NHL's expansion era.

So many teams in NHL history have been so good and so close, but not quite good enough to win the Stanley Cup.

This week's Super 16 examines the best teams in the League's expansion era that didn't win the Stanley Cup. It was a wide-open race, a mixed bag of results from the 13 participating voters.

Sixty-one teams received at least one voting point, including five that were ranked No. 1.

The 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning and 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings each received five first-place votes. The 1970-71 Boston Bruins, 1985-86 Edmonton Oilers and 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins were also ranked No. 1 by voters.

Video: Super 16: Best Teams to Not Win The Stanley Cup

To create this week's Super 16, each of the 13 participating staff members put together his or her version of what they think it should look like.

Those were submitted and a point total assigned to each.

The best team to never win the Cup picked first was given 16 points, second got 15, third 14 and so on down to No. 16, who got one point.

Here is the Super 16, best teams that didn't win the Stanley Cup from 1967 to present day:

 

1. 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning

Total points: 183

The Lightning tied the NHL record for wins in a season with 62 (1995-96 Detroit Red Wings) and had the fourth-most points of any team in a season with 128. They had a .781 points percentage. Forward Nikita Kucherov won the Art Ross Trophy as the League's leading scorer with 128 points (41 goals, 87 assists). He also won the Hart Trophy as the most valuable player in the NHL, and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy won the Vezina Trophy (39-10-4, 2.40 goals-against average, .925 save percentage, six shutouts) as the League's top goalie. But the Lightning were swept in the Eastern Conference First Round by the Columbus Blue Jackets, becoming the first team to win the Presidents' Trophy and then be swept in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Video: Blue Jackets sweep Lightning for first series win

 

2. 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings

Total points: 172

The Red Wings set the NHL record for wins in a season with 62 and fell one point short of tying the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens for most points (132-131). Detroit had a .799 points percentage, the best of any team to never win the Cup. Center Sergei Fedorov won the Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward and finished with 107 points (39 goals, 68 assists). Goalies Chris Osgood and Mike Vernon shared the William M. Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals in the League. Scotty Bowman won the Jack Adams Award as the top coach. The Red Wings advanced to the Western Conference Final, where they lost to the Colorado Avalanche in six games. Colorado would go on to win the Stanley Cup.

 

3. 1970-71 Boston Bruins

Total points: 155

The Bruins finished with 57 wins and 121 points. They scored 5.12 goals per game, which at the time was an NHL record, broken by the 1981-82 Edmonton Oilers (5.21). They allowed 2.65 goals per game. They had a .776 points percentage. They had 10 skaters score at least 20 goals, including 76 for center Phil Esposito, who won the Art Ross Trophy with 152 points. Bobby Orr finished with 139 points (37 goals, 102 assists), the most ever by a defenseman, to win the Norris Trophy and the Hart Trophy. Esposito, Johnny Bucyk, Ken Hodge and Orr were all voted as First-Team NHL All-Stars. But Boston didn't win a playoff round, losing in the Quarterfinals in seven games to Montreal.

 

4. 1985-86 Edmonton Oilers

Total points: 141

The Oilers couldn't win their third straight Stanley Cup championship, losing in seven games to the Calgary Flames in the Smythe Division Finals after sweeping the Vancouver Canucks in the division semifinals. The deciding goal in Game 7, a 3-2 Flames win, was an own-goal scored by Oilers defenseman Steve Smith, whose cross-ice pass hit goalie Grant Fuhr's leg and went into the net at 5:14 of the third period. The Oilers won 56 games and had 119 points during the regular season. They scored an NHL-record 5.33 goals per game. Wayne Gretzky set NHL career highs with 163 assists and 215 points to win the Art Ross Trophy. Paul Coffey scored 138 points (48 goals, 90 assists) and won the Norris Trophy as the League's top defenseman.

Video: Memories: Smith's own goal eliminates the Oilers

 

5. 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins

Total points: 123

The Penguins failed in their attempt to win the Stanley Cup for a third straight season when they lost in the Patrick Division Finals to the New York Islanders in seven games. David Volek scored in overtime of Game 7 to give the Islanders a 4-3 win. The Penguins had 56 wins and 119 points. They scored 4.37 goals per game. Mario Lemieux won the Hart Trophy, Art Ross Trophy and Masterton Trophy, awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey. He scored 160 points (69 goals, 91 assists) in 60 games.

 

6. 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings

Total points: 103

The Red Wings had 58 wins and 124 points. They won the Presidents' Trophy. Nicklas Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy, scoring 80 points (16 goals, 64 assists) in 80 games. Pavel Datsyuk won the Lady Byng Trophy, given "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability." He led Detroit with 87 points (28 goals, 59 assists). But the Red Wings won two games in the playoffs; they were eliminated by the Oilers in the Western Conference Quarterfinals in six games.

 

7. 2009-10 Washington Capitals

Total points: 87

The most successful regular-season team in Capitals history with 54 wins and 121 points lost in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to the Canadiens in seven games. Alex Ovechkin had 109 points (50 goals, 59 assists) and won the Ted Lindsay Award, given to the League's most outstanding player as judged by members of the NHL Players' Association.

 

8. 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers

Total points: 68

The Flyers were the victim of the Islanders' first of four straight Stanley Cup championships, losing the Cup Final in six games after going 11-2 against the Oilers, New York Rangers and Minnesota North Stars in the first three rounds. The Flyers finished the regular season with 48 wins and 116 points. They set an NHL record for most consecutive games without a regulation loss (35), going 25-0 with 10 ties from Oct. 14-Jan. 6. Pat Quinn won the Jack Adams Award.

Video: Memories: 1979-80 Flyers recall unbeaten streak

 

9. 2010-11 Vancouver Canucks

Total points: 55

The Canucks fell one game short of winning their first Stanley Cup championship, losing in seven games to the Bruins in the Cup Final. They finished the regular season with 54 wins and 117 points to win the Presidents' Trophy. Left wing Daniel Sedin won the Art Ross Trophy with 104 points (41 goals, 63 assists). He also won the Ted Lindsay Award. Center Ryan Kesler won the Selke Trophy and Mike Gillis won the NHL General Manager of the Year Award.

 

10. 1978-79 New York Islanders

Total points: 48

The Islanders' terrific regular season, complete with 51 wins and 116 points, became almost an afterthought when they lost to the rival Rangers in six games in the Semifinals. But it was partially the bitter disappointment of losing to the Rangers that helped the Islanders the following season, when they won their first of four straight Stanley Cup championships. Center Bryan Trottier won the Hart Trophy and the Art Ross Trophy, finishing with an NHL career-high 134 points (47 goals, 87 assists). Denis Potvin finished with 101 points (31 goals, 70 assists) and won the Norris Trophy. Right wing Mike Bossy scored an NHL career-high 69 goals.

 

11. 2008-09 San Jose Sharks

Total points: 40

The Sharks had 53 wins and 117 points to win the Presidents' Trophy. They allowed 2.43 goals per game while scoring 3.06. But they lost in the Western Conference Quarterfinals to the Anaheim Ducks in six games. Joe Thornton led the Sharks with 86 points (25 goals, 61 assists). Patrick Marleau led San Jose with 38 goals.

 

12. 2015-16 Washington Capitals

Total points: 33

As they did in 2009-10, the Capitals couldn't parlay a terrific regular season into playoff success. They had a team-record 56 wins and finished with 120 points, one away from tying the 2009-10 team. Ovechkin scored 50 goals. Braden Holtby tied the NHL record for most wins in a season by a goalie (48). Washington defeated Philadelphia 4-2 in the Eastern Conference First Round, but the Capitals lost to the Penguins in six games in the second round.

Video: Ovechkin reaches 50 goals to join elite company

 

13. 1994-95 Detroit Red Wings

Total points: 32

Their season ended in a sweep against the New Jersey Devils in the Cup Final after the Red Wings had been the most dominant team in the NHL. They finished the 48-game lockout-shortened season 33-11 with four ties, a near 57-win pace in an 82-game season. Detroit then rolled through the first three rounds of the playoffs in 14 games, going 12-2 against the Dallas Stars (4-1), Sharks (4-0) and Chicago Blackhawks (4-1). Coffey led the Red Wings with 58 points (14 goals, 44 assists) and won the Norris Trophy.

 

14. 1973-74 Boston Bruins

Total points: 31

The Bruins had 52 wins, 113 points and the top four scorers in the League. Esposito had 145 points (68 goals, 77 assists). Orr had 122 points (32 goals, 90 assists). Ken Hodge had 105 points (50 goals, 55 assists) and Wayne Cashman had 89 (30 goals, 59 assists). Esposito won the Hart Trophy and the Art Ross Trophy. Orr won the Norris Trophy. Bucyk won the Lady Byng Trophy. The Bruins reached the Cup Final but lost to the Flyers in six games.

 

15. 1999-00 St. Louis Blues

Total points: 28

The Blues won the Presidents' Trophy with 114 points (51-19-1, 11 ties). Chris Pronger had the best season of his Hockey Hall of Fame career, finishing with 62 points (14 goals, 48 assists) to win the Norris Trophy and the Hart Trophy. He and Orr are the only defensemen in NHL history to win the Hart Trophy in the expansion era. Forward Pavol Demitra led the Blues with 75 points (28 goals, 47 assists). They lost to the Sharks in seven games in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

 

16. 1982-83 Edmonton Oilers

Total points: 27

The Oilers had 47 wins and 106 points, but they were swept in the Cup Final by the Islanders. It was a lesson they took into next season, when they defeated New York in five games in the Cup Final to win their first of five championships from 1984-90. Gretzky (196 points), Mark Messier (106), Glenn Anderson (104) and Jari Kurri (104) each had more than 100 points during the regular season. Gretzky won the Hart Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award and the Art Ross Trophy.

 

Others receiving points: 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers 24; 1984-85 Philadelphia Flyers 24; 1988-89 Montreal Canadiens 23; 1974-75 Buffalo Sabres 22; 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres 20; 2012-13 Pittsburgh Penguins 20; 2013-14 Boston Bruins 19; 1983-84 New York Islanders 19; 1971-72 New York Rangers 18; 2000-01 New Jersey Devils 17; 2005-06 Ottawa Senators 15; 2009-10 Boston Bruins 15; 2016-17 Washington Capitals 14; 1979-80 Buffalo Sabres 13; 1986-87 Philadelphia Flyers 13; 1991-92 New York Rangers 12; 2018-19 Washington Capitals 12; 1973-74 Chicago Blackhawks 11; 2013-14 Anaheim Ducks 11; 1978-79 Boston Bruins 10; 1995-96 St. Louis Blues 10; 2005-06 Buffalo Sabres 10; 2008-09 Detroit Red Wings 9; 2003-04 Calgary Flames 8; 1992-93 Los Angeles Kings 7; 1970-71 Chicago Blackhawks 6; 2008-09 Boston Bruins 6; 1968-69 Boston Bruins 5; 1982-83 Boston Bruins 5; 1996-97 Philadelphia Flyers 5; 2002-03 Detroit Red Wings 5; 1981-82 Edmonton Oilers 4; 1985-86 Philadelphia Flyers 3; 1996-97 Colorado Avalanche 3; 2002-03 Ottawa Senators 3; 2003-04 Toronto Maple Leafs 3; 2013-14 Chicago Blackhawks 3; 2017-18 Vegas Golden Knights 3; 1987-88 Calgary Flames 2; 1990-91 Los Angeles Kings 2; 1990-91 Minnesota North Stars 2; 2002-03 Vancouver Canucks 2; 2003-04 Detroit Red Wings 2; 2014-15 New York Rangers 1; 2016-17 Nashville Predators 1

 

HERE'S HOW WE RANKED 'EM

AMALIE BENJAMIN

1. 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings; 3; 1970-71 Boston Bruins; 4. 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins; 5. 2009-10 Washington Capitals; 6. 2010-11 Vancouver Canucks; 7. 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings; 8. 1985-86 Edmonton Oilers; 9. 2005-06 Ottawa Senators; 10. 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers; 11. 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres; 12. 2008-09 Detroit Red Wings; 13. 2015-16 Washington Capitals; 14. 2013-14 Boston Bruins; 15. 2008-09 San Jose Sharks; 16. 2014-15 New York Rangers

BRIAN COMPTON

1. 1985-86 Edmonton Oilers; 2. 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins; 3. 1978-79 New York Islanders; 4. 1970-71 Boston Bruins; 5. 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings; 6. 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning; 7. 1988-89 Montreal Canadiens; 8. 1984-85 Philadelphia Flyers; 9. 1971-72 New York Rangers; 10. 1974-75 Buffalo Sabres; 11. 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings; 12. 1982-83 Boston Bruins; 13; 1981-82 Edmonton Oilers; 14. 1991-92 New York Rangers; 15. 1999-2000 St. Louis Blues; 16. 1990-91 Los Angeles Kings

NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA

1. 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings; 2. 1970-71 Boston Bruins; 3. 1985-86 Edmonton Oilers; 4. 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers; 5. 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning; 6. 1994-95 Detroit Red Wings; 7. 2012-13 Pittsburgh Penguins; 8. 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings; 9. 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers; 10. 1973-74 Boston Bruins; 11. 2010-11 Vancouver Canucks; 12. 1988-89 Montreal Canadiens; 13. 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins; 14. 2016-17 Washington Capitals; 15. 2015-16 Washington Capitals; 16. 1978-79 New York Islanders

WILLIAM DOUGLAS

1. 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. 2009-10 Boston Bruins; 3. 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers; 4. 1979-80 Buffalo Sabres; 5. 2018-19 Washington Capitals; 6. 1973-74 Chicago Blackhawks; 7. 1995-96 St. Louis Blues; 8. 1973-74 Boston Bruins; 9. 2003-04 Calgary Flames; 10. 1992-93 Los Angeles Kings; 11. 1970-71 Chicago Blackhawks; 12. 1968-69 Boston Bruins; 13. 1986-87 Philadelphia Flyers; 14. 2003-04 Toronto Maple Leafs; 15. 1990-91 Minnesota North Stars; 16. 2017-18 Vegas Golden Knights

TOM GULITTI

1. 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings; 2. 1985-86 Edmonton Oilers; 3. 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins; 4. 1970-71 Boston Bruins; 5. 2010-11 Vancouver Canucks; 6. 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning; 7. 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings; 8. 1983-84 New York Islanders; 9. 2000-01 New Jersey Devils; 10. 1973-74 Boston Bruins; 11. 1984-85 Philadelphia Flyers; 12. 2015-16 Washington Capitals; 13. 1991-92 New York Rangers; 14. 2008-09 San Jose Sharks; 15. 2009-10 Washington Capitals; 16. 2002-03 Ottawa Senators

ADAM KIMELMAN

1. 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins; 2. 1985-86 Edmonton Oilers; 3. 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings; 4. 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning; 5. 1970-71 Boston Bruins; 6. 1982-83 Edmonton Oilers; 7. 1983-84 New York Islanders; 8. 1986-87 Philadelphia Flyers; 9. 1973-74 Boston Bruins; 10. 2009-10 Washington Capitals; 11. 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres; 12. 1996-97 Philadelphia Flyers; 13. 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers; 14. 1985-86 Philadelphia Flyers; 15. 1987-88 Calgary Flames; 16. 2010-11 Vancouver Canucks

ROBERT LAFLAMME

1. 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. 1970-71 Boston Bruins; 3. 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings; 4. 1985-86 Edmonton Oilers; 5. 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins; 6. 2009-10 Washington Capitals; 7. 1994-95 Detroit Red Wings; 8. 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers; 9. 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings; 10. 1999-00 St. Louis Blues; 11. 2013-14 Anaheim Ducks; 12. 2002-03 Detroit Red Wings; 13. 1982-03 Edmonton Oilers; 14. 1996-97 Colorado Avalanche; 15. 2003-04 Detroit Red Wings; 16. 1990-91 Los Angeles Kings

MIKE G. MORREALE

1. 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings; 2. 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers; 3. 1970-71 Boston Bruins; 4. 1974-75 Buffalo Sabres; 5. 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning; 6. 2010-11 Vancouver Canucks; 7. 1971-72 New York Rangers; 8. 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins; 9. 2000-01 New Jersey Devils; 10. 2009-10 Ottawa Senators 2005-06; 11. 1985-86 Edmonton Oilers; 12. 2009-10 Washington Capitals; 13. 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres; 14. 1984-85 Philadelphia Flyers; 15. 2008-09 Boston Bruins; 16. 2016-17 Nashville Predators

TRACEY MYERS

1. 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings; 3. 1985-86 Edmonton Oilers; 4. 1999-2000 St. Louis Blues; 5. 2008-09 San Jose Sharks; 6. 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings; 7. 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins; 8. 1978-79 New York Islanders; 9. 2009-10 Washington Capitals; 10. 1978-79 Boston Bruins; 11. 1984-85 Philadelphia Flyers; 12. 2010-11 Vancouver Canucks; 13. 1988-89 Montreal Canadiens; 14. 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres; 15. 2002-03 Ottawa Senators; 16. 2000-01 New Jersey Devils

BILL PRICE

1. 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings; 2. 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. 1971-72 Boston Bruins; 4. 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings; 5. 1982-83 Edmonton Oilers; 6. 2009-10 Washington Capitals; 7. 2012-13 Pittsburgh Penguins; 8. 2015-16 Washington Capitals; 9. 2013-14 Boston Bruins; 10. 1978-79 New York Islanders; 11. 1979-1980 Philadelphia Flyers; 12. 1991-92 New York Rangers; 13. 2008-09 Boston Bruins; 14. 2013-14 Chicago Blackhawks; 15. 2017-18 Vegas Golden Knights; 16. 1985-86 Edmonton Oilers

SHAWN P. ROARKE

1. 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings; 3. 1970-71 Boston Bruins; 4. 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings; 5. 2009-10 Washington Capitals; 6. 1985-86 Edmonton Oilers; 7. 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins; 8. 2008-09 San Jose Sharks; 9. 2013-14 Boston Bruins; 10. 1978-79 New York Islanders; 11. 2016-17 Washington Capitals; 12. 2013-14 Anaheim Ducks; 13. 2015-16 Washington Capitals; 14. 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers; 15. 1974-75 Buffalo Sabres; 16. 2010-11 Vancouver Canucks

DAN ROSEN

1. 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings; 2. 1970-71 Boston Bruins; 3. 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning; 4. 1985-86 Edmonton Oilers; 5. 2009-10 Washington Capitals; 6. 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings; 7. 1978-79 New York Islanders; 8. 2015-16 Washington Capitals; 9. 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins; 10. 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers; 11. 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers; 12. 2016-17 Washington Capitals; 13. 1988-89 Montreal Canadiens; 14. 2010-11 Vancouver Canucks; 15. 1994-95 Detroit Red Wings; 16. 2008-09 San Jose Sharks

MIKE ZEISBERGER

1. 1970-71 Boston Bruins; 2. 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. 1985-86 Edmonton Oilers; 4. 2008-09 San Jose Sharks; 5. 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins; 6. 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings; 7. 2005-06 Buffalo Sabres; 8. 1994-95 Detroit Red Wings; 9. 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings; 10. 2009-10 Washington Capitals; 11. 1999-2000 St. Louis Blues; 12. 2010-11 Vancouver Canucks; 13. 2008-09 Detroit Red Wings; 14. 1978-79 Boston Bruins; 15. 2002-03 Vancouver Canucks; 16. 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres

View More

The NHL has updated its Privacy Policy effective January 16, 2020. We encourage you to review it carefully.

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.