22 Years & Counting: When Will The Stanley Cup Return To Canada?

If you’re a hockey fan in Canada there is always one date that stands out to you: June 9 1993.

It was the last year a canadian team had hoisted the Stanley Cup at the conclusion of the playoffs. As history would have it the Patrick Roy-led Montreal Canadiens defeated the Wayne Gretzky-led Los Angeles Kings in a five game series that climaxed with Roy and captain Guy Carbonneau lifting a 24th Stanley Cup in club history.

The most fitting piece? It happened on home-ice at the historic Montreal Forum.

Fast forward 22 years and all that remains is a distant memory and forklore stories being passed from a then young child now father passing on the story of Canada’s last triumph to their young child. From the stories of how Denis Savard got to lift the Stanley Cup at the end of his career with a broken foot, how Roy outshone the legendary Grant Fuhr in the second round. The Canadiens remarkably came back from a 2-0 deficit against the provincial rival Quebec Nordiques in the first round, using overtime magic to carry them all the way through the playoffs.

You see stories of parents talking to their children still to this day about Eric Desjardins powering the Canadiens to tie the series 1-1 against the Los Angeles Kings before Roy shut the door the rest of the way. The illegal stick call on Kings enforcer (remember that word?) Marty McSorley that led to a nail-biting conclusion to Game 2.

Nothing will beat that moment of the cup being lifted at the Montreal Forum on the night of June 9th 1993.

It’s been a long road since as can be seen by the infographic posted on CBC.ca (read CBC’s “Canada’s Stanley Cup Drought Reaches 22 Years” here)


Quick Points From CBC Infographic By The Numbers:

  • 5 – Since the 1993 Stanley Cup Championship won by the  Montreal Canadiens, a canadian team has appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals a total of five times: Vancouver (1994, 2011), Calgary (2004), Edmonton (2006) and Ottawa (2007). Ottawa was the only team not to force a Game 7.
  • 5 – In the years that have passed Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto (believe it or not) and Vancouver have essentially had the most playoff success of all the canadian teams with the longest runs and with being the last remaining canadian team in the playoffs. Montreal however has been the most successful in recent years by being the last remaining canadian team in the playoffs 4 of the last 8 seasons. Yet Vancouver is the only team of the four to have made the Stanley Cup Finals in the last five seasons.
  • 4 – The closest a canadian team has come to winning the Stanley Cup was getting to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. This was accomplished four times: Vancouver (1994, 2011), Calgary (2004) and Edmonton (2006).
  • 3 – The total number of times Edmonton has been the last remaining canadian team in the playoffs. Remember when Chris Pronger, Fernando Pisani, Ryan Smyth and Dwayne Roloson powered a cinderella run to the final? That was almost a decade ago.
  • 2 – Of those 4 appearances in Game 7: twice has a canadian team come within one goal of utimately winning the Stanley Cup: Vancouver (1994 lost 3-2 to the NY Rangers), Calgary (2004 lost 2-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning).
  • 2 – Since 1993 Vancouver holds the most number of appearances in a Stanley Cup final for a canadian team with two appearances.
  • 0 – The number of times Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg have made the Stanley Cup finals. Montreal has had the most playoff success in recent years and Winnipeg really only accounts for seven seasons on the chart so we’ll give them a break. Toronto on the other hand? Come on.

Who Will Bring The Cup Back To Canada?

It’s the debate that never ends. Montreal is clearly the team at the moment that is the furthest along in teams of being a contender. They have arguably one of the best goaltenders and defenseman in the league in Price and Subban and a dangerous forward in Pacioretty to build around. If they can round it out and add to their offense this summer or find a solution that gets them out of these one-goal games that leaves everything to Price this is a team that can win a Stanley Cup.

Could An Alberta Team Be The One To Finally End The Drought?

Outside of that you have Calgary and Edmonton. The Flames made a huge step forward this season and even upset the Canucks in the first round. This team is just entering their window with Mark Giordano being a top 10 defenseman in the league followed by TJ Brodie, they have a star in the making upfront with Gaudreau and Monahan and Bennett are starting to live up to the hype of their respective draft status. They have a legit goaltending prospect in Joni Ortio who has yet to enter the prime of his career as he plays behind Karri Ramo and Jonas Hiller.

Laugh now but getting Connor McDavid is a gamechanger for Edmonton. They already have Hall, RNH and Eberle upfront. Klefbom and Nurse will eventually emerge as legit top-pairing defenders but in the mean time they need a veteran top-pairing  defender to take the burden off the developing defense core that has struggled in recent years with the trial by fire approach. GM Peter Chiarelli is on the hot seat to get a goaltender but eventually this could be the team that ends the drought. There is no way on paper it can’t be. The thought of having a three-headed monster at center with McDavid, RNH and Draisaitl or even if one of them moves to the wing? Leave it to Nicholson and Chiarelli to turn this ship around, you couldn’t ask for two better hockey executives that happened to fall into the Oilers lap to do this.

Senators & Jets Could Prove To Be Darkhorse Contenders

Ottawa has the pieces, the defense is coming together behind Karlsson and the sound job the team has done at the draft table is making this success sustainable long-term. They’ll go as far as Karlsson can take them but the pieces are there. Lazar will eventually emerge as a solid two-way shutdown center, Stone can possibly score 25-30 goals in this league and Zibanejad could one day be a consistent 55-60 point center. The great thing too is that the Senators don’t exactly rush their prospects either so for the most part (aside from Jared Cowen) when they are ready, they are actually ready to play NHL minutes with a shorter learning curve that doesn’t deter from the system.

The Jets are a wildcard in the sense they are similar to the Oilers of the late 90s and early 2000s, just good enough not to be bad enough to be in the basement. The awkward one year they are in, the next year they don’t make it to the playoffs spot. If this team is going to emerge as a true contender alot of this is going to fall upon GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and how he handles this going forward. There is a knock on him for not being aggressive enough to address the weaker areas of the roster, but then again this is the guy that sent Evander Kane to Buffalo for Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford. Ehlers is a strong prospect knocking at the door but the team needs a legit scoring force upfront to make a deep run.

Canucks & Leafs Furthest From Contenders

Say what you will but the Canucks are in transition without a decent prospect group today that lacks a top end player in development, so when the Sedins retire there will be a glaring hole on the roster that Horvat, Gaunce and co won’t be able to fill despite the fact they are going to be good players in this league. Poor drafting and mismanagement prior to the arrival of President Trevor Linden and GM  Jim Benning is quite the mess to clean up, it’ll take a few years for this to stabilize.

As stated the Leafs are going to blow this up and essentially everything is for sale on the way out. Between Bernier and Reimer one or the other hasn’t grabbed the ball and ran with it, Phaneuf wants out and Kessel is a superstar upfront with no one to play with.

In the end it’ll come down to the Canadiens, Flames, Oilers and Senators to be the teams that end the drought for Canada.

Personally speaking, if the Canadiens don’t do it in the next three seasons, the team to end it will be the Oilers.