3 Players Who Deserve to Win the Cup

Winning a Stanley Cup is not an easy task. It takes a considerable amount of skills, collective team effort, and luck. Even Wayne Gretzky, the best player in the history of the sport, could not will teams like the Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues, or New York Rangers to become champions by himself.

A lot of the greatest players to have ever played the game fell short of hockey’s ultimate prize. Here are three current players who deserve a better fate.

1. Jarome Iginla

Jarome Iginla [photo: Amy Irvin]
Jarome Iginla [photo: Amy Irvin]
When you think of the Calgary Flames you immediately think of Jarome Iginla. There has never been a greater ambassador for hockey than the oft smiling Iginla and he gave Calgary all that he had for 15 and a half seasons.

[Related: Iginla Is the Most Recent Entry in the 500 Goal Club, See All Members Here]

Iginla wasn’t drafted by the Flames, he was selected 11th overall by the Dallas Stars in 1995. The Stars traded Iginla to Calgary for the rights to Joe Nieuwendyk.

While Nieuwendyk went on to help the Stars win their first Stanley Cup in 1999, Iginla put up at least 30 goals for 11 consecutive seasons for the Flames. His best season was in 2007-08 when he scored 98 points in 82 games, including 50 goals. That was the second time in his career that he reached 50 goals.

In the 2003-04 season, Iginla and the Flames came close to the winning the Stanley Cup when they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games in the finals. In 26 playoff games, Iginla put up 22 points.

In 2013, the unthinkable happened and Iginla requested a trade out of Calgary for his pursuit of the elusive Stanley Cup. He finished the season with the Pittsburgh Penguins but they failed to help him achieve his goal.

The next year, he joined the Bruins who ironically was one of the front-runners to land the future Hall of Famer at the previous trade deadline. Like the Penguins, the Bruins fell short in the playoffs.

Iginla saw potential in the Colorado Avalanche and signed a three-year deal with the team. He joined former teammate Alex Tanguay and front office duo Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy, two players who he knows very well from their playing days.

It remains to be seen if the Avalanche can deliver but Iginla is fitting in very well with a young team on the rise.

2. Henrik Lundqvist

(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

If some of the bounces had gone Henrik Lundqvist’s way last season, he wouldn’t be on this list. Unfortunately for Lundqvist and the Rangers, they were forced to watch the Los Angeles Kings hoist their second Stanley Cup in three years.

Lundqvist’s professional career started with the Frolunda HC in his native Sweden. He had already been selected 205th overall by the New York Rangers in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft at that point and was seen as a very raw goalie with exceptional athletic abilities.

Over the next five years, Lundqvist played and starred in the SHL before making the jump overseas to the Rangers in 2005. From that point on, there was no question who the future of the Rangers goaltending was. Lundqvist quickly won over the fans on the ice with his play and off the ice with his dashing good looks and Hollywood caliber smile.

Unlike Iginla, Lundqvist is still relatively young in goalie years. His play has not dropped and he still has many more years to pursue his ultimate goal of bringing the Stanley Cup back to Madison Square Garden.

3. Joe Thornton

For someone as talented and good-natured as Joe Thornton, he is not as well liked around the league as he should be.

Thornton was drafted first overall in 1997 and has lived up to his expectations on the ice. He continues to be a premier playmaker even into the twilight of his career.

Thornton played seven seasons with the Boston Bruins, five as its captain, before being traded to the San Jose Sharks in 2005. The reasoning behind the trade was that the Bruins wanted to build around Patrice Bergeron who they saw as the future of the club and by trading Thornton they allowed themselves some flexibility in the new salary cap era.

Over the course of the next few seasons, Thornton propelled the Sharks into Stanley Cup contender status year after year. However, Thornton and the Sharks fell short of their goal, year after year resulting in their choke artist label. The moniker that is synonymously tied to the Sharks as it is tied to Thornton.

With the current state of the Sharks and the competitive atmosphere of the Western Conference, San Jose may not be the best destination for Thornton if he wishes to add a Stanley Cup victory to his resume.

11 thoughts on “3 Players Who Deserve to Win the Cup”

  1. Iginla, yes. Lundqvist, no (at least not yet). Thornton, hell NO. Joe Thornton is a very skilled hockey player. One of the best. BUT he is not a very motivated player and he’s lazy. As with his B’s days and with the Sharks, his efforts come in spurts. I’d say he’s engaged about 50% of the time. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he is a “choker” (but I can see some of those who have that opinion – last season’s disappearing act against the Kings is a good example). But he is a moody performer. He really doesn’t “deserve” to have his name on the SC for anything he has achieved in the NHL because he has NOT worked hard enough for it. Yes, he is talented but he usually squanders that talent by not being motivated all the time (or at least most of the time).

  2. The average age of these so called hockey writers must be 22 yrs old they know very little about hockey I keep getting sucked in to this site thinking they know something. Just sayin

  3. The stanley cup is over rated. especially when you’re talking about players on the individual level. Plenty of garbage players have their names on the cup and plenty of great players don’t. Iggy is NO less of a player regardless if he wins a cup or not.

    Does anyone actually believe that Ray Borque suddenly became MORE of a legend after he tagged along on the Av’s cup run? Let’s call it what it was. A joke. In some ways it makes Ray look WORSE because it just smacks of desperation.

    Sure the cup is a great thing to win….but if people think that it is the ONLY thing that defines “greatness”…..well…they obviously don’t understand sports very well.

    • My biggest argument for what you’re saying is that when Gretzky landed in LAK territory, he played well there but didn’t win LAK their first cup. A strong TEAM is needed for a cup, not just one player (be it a goalie, D man, or forward).

  4. Who writes this garbage? You don’t “deserve” anything. As for Iginla…he has jumped from ship to ship in search of his elusive Cup. Teams deserve and earn Cups. Not players.

  5. Not one player deserves to have their name on the Stanley Cup, ever.
    To get your name on the cup you earn it.

    • That would mean players who earn it…. deserve it….i.e.– if I’m on a team that wins the cup, I deserve to have my name etched on the Stanley Cup….

  6. I’m sorry these bums do not entire in the top 20 or fifty Lets talk Eddie Giaomman, Brad Park, Rod Gilbert, the french connection line,Rogie Vachon, the triple crown line. There are so many great players you can not name just a couple of the ones that are playing today. The list goes on it depend on when you were born and who you watched. To me the greatest played of all time is Bobby Orr. Hands down you can look at points, mins, plus minus. He is the greatest, but thee are Howe fans Hull fans ect. They would say the are better.

  7. Iginla saw potential in the Colorado Avalanche and signed a three-year deal with the team” WRONG! Iginla saw a 3-year deal from the Avs for a fair chunk of change when no one else was offering as many year and/or money. He took the money and if he says anything else he is a laying sack of……………. Nothing wrong with going for money but then don’t cry about not winning later on. If Iginla REALLY wanted to compete for a Cup he would have signed with a team that had a legit chance not one that pretty much everyone knew was a fluke last season and wouldn’t contend this season and won’t contend for the next 2, either.

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