It took them six games, but with a 2-0 win in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in Edmonton, the Tampa Bay Lightning captured their second Stanley Cup in franchise history. On top of that, Pat Maroon earned himself another Cup win in back-to-back years as he was a member of the Cup-winning St. Louis Blues last season.
All set to start the engraving process, Stanley Cup engraver Louise St. Jacques will mark up the holy grail once again with this year’s winning names. And while not all the players who suited up for the Lightning in 2019-20 will get their name enshrined on the Cup, here’s a look at who’s in and who’s out.
First, however, here are the league requirements for players to get their name included.
Meeting the Cup Requirements
There are two main requirements that players must meet to earn a spot among those names engraved on the Stanley Cup.
Firstly, any player who played 41 games for the winning team during the regular season will get included. The other way they can earn a spot is if they suit up for one game in the Stanley Cup Final for the club. There is only room for 52 names on any given year – that includes staff and players – so those not meeting the requirements either miss out on their name being included on the Cup or can be petitioned for by the franchise to have them included in the process.
Engraving Their Name
This season, 23 players qualified for a spot on the Cup from the Lightning. Of those 23, there were 17 who played 41 regular season games while six others played a game in the Stanley Cup Final to earn their place on the Cup.
Of those 23, all but one player will see their name engraved on the Cup for the first time in their respective careers – including Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Victor Hedman, Alex Killorn, Anthony Cirelli, Ondrej Palat, Mikhail Sergachev, Kevin Shattenkirk, Tyler Johnson, Yanni Gourde, Cedric Paquette, Carter Verhaeghe, Erik Cernak, Ryan McDonagh, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Barclay Goodrow, Blake Coleman, Luke Schenn, Zach Bogosian, Jan Rutta, Alexander Volkov.
Only Maroon, as mentioned before, will be seeing his name engraved on Lord Stanley’s mug for the second time in his career.
Players With a Chance
There were some players who just missed the cut and while the Lightning won’t petition for every player who played a game for them this season to get their name on the Cup, here’s a list of a few players the team will likely try to have included in the engraving.
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While he did make the cut based on requirements along, Curtis McElhinney’s back-up work behind Vasilevskiy will likely get his name on the Cup. This is especially the case because back-ups are usually a shoe-in for the engraving process – requirements or not.
Let’s face it, sometimes injuries get in the way of players qualifying for the Cup requirements. That was the case for Coburn who played 40 games during the regular season and missed out in the Final for the Lightning. That said, he was an integral part of the Lightning’s run this season and you’ll likely see the team petition to get his name on the Cup.
A younger member of the club this season, Stephens came up just shy of the 41-game regular season requirement. That said, he played 38 games and garnered a lot of much needed experience with the team while picking up six points over that span. Considering how close he was, he’s another player the team could look to petition onto the Cup.
The last of the likely candidates for the Cup is Joseph. Like the others, he came up just shy of the regular season mark for games played having suited up for just 37 games. That said, he added four goals and seven points over that span and should be a consideration for one of the 52 spots on the Cup.
Likely Missing the Cup
While he did get into 12 regular season games, the likelihood that Witkowski gets a vote for the Cup isn’t high. He didn’t dress in the postseason and finished the year with three points and 13 penalty minutes which falls short of qualifying for the Cup in my books.
This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about Gaunce missing out on the Cup. Back in 2016-17 as a member of the Penguins, Gaunce came up shy of meeting the requirements and it seems that he’s in the same boat again this season – having played just three games for the Lightning during the regular season.
Like it or not, it looks as though he’ll be one of those role players that won’t enjoy seeing his name on the Cup once again this time around with the Lightning.
A long-time journeyman that’s in his second stint with the Lightning, Conacher will also come up short of being petitioned onto the Cup. Having played just four games during the regular season, it’s no surprise that he won’t find himself among the 52 names engraved on this year’s plaque.
Another young player in his first season with the Lightning, Smith played just three games for the team during the regular season, scoring one goal during that time. While he likely won’t be voted onto the Cup, he could end up playing a role with the club in the coming years with another chance at getting his name engraved if the team can keep this core together.
While the number of players that the team petitions to have put on the Cup will change based on how many front office staff members are included, the team site does have it at 14 members of the executive and coaching staff. That, along with the 23 players that officially qualify for the Cup, leaves just 15 more spots for equipment and medical staff and the players the team wishes to petition for to be included on the Cup.
With that in mind, you can almost expect to see Joseph, Stephens, Coburn and McElhinney’s names on the Cup after the engraving process is done with.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.