After a shutout win in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Pittsburgh Penguins find themselves champions for the second year in a row – becoming just the second team to accomplish the feat back-to-back in nearly two decades.
With Stanley Cup engraver – Louise St. Jacques – set to put the 2016-17 version of the Penguins on the holy grail, here’s a look at which players will make the cut and which ones will be left off. First, though, here are the league requirements that players need to meet to have their name engraved on the Cup.
Meeting the Cup Requirements
While not every player will earn a place on the coveted trophy, there are some requirements that will automatically land a player a spot among those honoured on the Cup.
For starters, teams are only allowed a maximum of 52 names when it comes to the engraving process.
Players who’ve played at least 41 regular season games for the winning club or at least one game in the Stanley Cup Final automatically get their name among those 52 spots. Any others will need to go through a petitioning process put forth by the Penguins in order to get their names on the Cup.
Engraving Their Name
There are 24 players that qualified to get their names on the Cup from this year’s version of the Penguins.
Of those 24, five (Scott Wilson, Carter Rowney, Jake Guentzel, Ron Hainsey and Josh Archibald) of them will be seeing their names engraved on the Cup for the first time in their career. While Wilson met the regular season requirements playing 78 of the team’s 82 games, Rowney, Guentzel, Hainsey and Archibald fell short of the 41-game mark and therefore earned their spots by playing during the Stanley Cup Final.
Thirteen players will get their name on the Cup for a second time – including Phil Kessel, Conor Sheary, Justin Schultz, Patric Hornqvist, Nick Bonino, Bryan Rust, Ian Cole, Carl Hagelin, Trevor Daley, Tom Kuhnhackl, Brian Dumoulin, Olli Maatta, and Matt Murray. Eric Fehr will also be a part of that group as he played 52 games for the Pens before being traded to the Maple Leafs.
Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Matt Cullen will all see their names enshrined for the third time on the Cup, while Chris Kunitz will have it on there for the fourth time.
Players With a Chance
Others just barely missed some of the requirements to see their names engraved on the Cup, but could qualify if the Penguins petition to have them included. Now, not every player will even get petitioned for by the team, but here are a few players the Pens could look to have included on the Cup.
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While he didn’t meet the requirements, there’s usually no question that the backup goaltender on most Cup-winning teams find their names engraved at the end of the day. With that in mind, the Penguins likely wouldn’t’ve been playing for the Cup without the help of Fleury throughout the playoffs when Murray went down with an injury. Add that to his stellar play throughout the regular season and there’s no question he’ll have his name on the Cup for the third time in his career.
While he only played six games in the postseason, Ruhwedel fell just seven games shy of meeting the regular season requirements for Cup inclusion. In his 34 regular season games, he recorded 10 points and a plus-nine rating for the club.
Likely Missing the Cut
Streit – a veteran addition to the team – played just 19 games for the Penguins during the regular season. He did dress for three games during the Penguins postseason run adding two assists, but didn’t really have an impact otherwise.
He could get a vote from the Penguins organization because of his status as an NHL veteran who might not get another shot, but there are a number of other names that will be filling up spots – likely before Streit gets the nod.
While he did play 12 games for the Penguins during the regular season with a goal and four points, Gaunce didn’t dress for the team in the postseason. While he still might get a ring from the Penguins as most of the players that dressed during the season likely will, 12 games isn’t good enough to get your name on the Cup.
Along with Streit and Gaunce, a number of other players dressed for the Penguins during the regular season but didn’t get to see enough action to warrant an inscription on the Cup. Some even dressed for a game or two in the playoffs – still, it wasn’t enough to earn the honour.
Along with the two already mentioned, other players that will likely miss the cut include Tom Sestito, Derrick Pouliot, Dominik Simon, David Warsofsky, Frank Corrado, Jean-Sebastien Dea, Tristan Jerry, Kevin Porter and Oskar Sundqvist.
The number of players the team petitions to have included on the Cup will obviously change based on how many staff the Penguins decide to include. According to the team site, the Penguins have 15 front office staff members. Add that to the 24 players who already qualified to get their names on the Cup and the list is already at 39. From there, the team will either add more front office staff or petition to have players like Fleury, Ruhwedel and others added to the list.
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.