It took 764 profession regular-season video games with three groups for Jay Bouwmeester to lastly make the playoffs. At 35, with 75 post-season video games beneath his belt, Bouwmeester can lastly name himself a Stanley Cup champion.
Bouwmeester sat third in video games performed by an energetic participant with no championship, with the veteran defender enjoying 1,184 regular-season contests earlier than lastly getting a official shot on the title. After Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo lifted the Cup himself, he handed it off to Bouwmeester, a reward for years of exhausting work and sturdiness however with nothing to point out for. Taking part in in a second-pairing function with Colton Parayko, Bouwmeester proved he nonetheless had lots left within the tank, even when he’s not as efficient as he as soon as was.
Bouwmeester’s path to glory is a heartwarming one. Everybody likes to see a veteran get rewarded after years of paying his dues on groups that by no means actually contended for a title. However he’s not alone: there are a lot of gamers with a protracted historical past within the NHL looking for their first championship. Right here’s a breakdown of the longest-standing veterans nonetheless chasing their first Stanley Cup victories:
Patrick Marleau, Toronto, 39 (1,657 GP)Marleau’s identify has been within the rumor mill lately because the Maple Leafs look to clear cap house to signal Mitch Marner long run. Thus far, Marleau performed in only one Cup ultimate with the Sharks again in 2016, arising quick towards Pittsburgh. Not the offensive menace he was a decade in the past, Marleau nonetheless has management and sturdiness as each a winger and a middle at his disposal. It’s anticipated Marleau will land with a California-based workforce subsequent season, however with only one 12 months left on his contract, his time is working out. His finest shot at a championship is along with his former workforce from San Jose.
Joe Thornton, San Jose, 39 (1,566 GP)The Sharks did their finest to try to rally collectively to win the Stanley Cup for Thornton this 12 months however finally fell to St. Louis within the Western Convention ultimate. An unrestricted free agent this summer time, Thornton might want to take a reduction from $5 million if he needs to stay round with the Sharks and contend for one final shot on the Stanley Cup. Thornton will likely be 40 in July, and he’s all the time been an enormous playoff performer, however he’s nonetheless chasing his first Stanley Cup so as to add to his resume as a future Corridor of Famer after lacking out in 2016.
Dan Hamhuis, Nashville, 36 (1,088 GP)A sound defender enjoying a shutdown function in Nashville lately, Hamhuis was one victory away from successful the Stanley Cup with Vancouver in 2011. His early-career enjoying type of throwing huge hits has worn down his physique over the long run and, regardless of having one 12 months left on his contract, the Predators do have a little bit of a logjam on the again finish subsequent season with Dante Fabbro looking for a full-time spot. Nashville has been good the previous few years however simply hasn’t performed sufficient to win the Cup, and Hamhuis isn’t going to make them significantly better.
Ryan Suter, Minnesota, 34 (1,073 GP)Suter has persistently been one of many higher minute-munching defensemen within the NHL over the previous few years and did lots of the heavy lifting this season when accidents stifled the Wild’s playoff hopes. He’s nonetheless looking for his first Stanley Cup ultimate look, and that could be a problem in Minnesota, a workforce that appears set for additional mediocrity. Suter nonetheless has six extra years on his contract, and his cap hit of $7.54 million is not going to be engaging as he nears 40.
Jason Spezza, Dallas, 36 (1,065 GP)Spezza has all the time been among the finest playoff performers and seemed strong in a depth function in Dallas’ run this 12 months, albeit a brief one. However since reaching the Stanley Cup ultimate in 2007 with Ottawa, Spezza has didn’t battle for one more championship. Spezza is not going to return to Dallas subsequent season and will likely be a UFA, and after a drastic drop in manufacturing over the previous few years and a few journeys to the press field, you need to surprise what number of suitors there will likely be for him this summer time. But when a workforce needs strong management of their backside six, he’s greater than able to being a serviceable heart.
Jason Pominville, Buffalo, 36 (1,060 GP)Having spent his total profession break up between Buffalo and Minnesota, Pominville has by no means had the prospect to really combat for a Stanley Cup. After posting a full-season career-low of 31 factors with the Sabres this 12 months, Pominville, a pending UFA, received’t have an enormous lineup of groups looking for his companies for subsequent season ought to he not select retirement. The previous all-star was a fan favourite in Buffalo and will return for one more season, however he’d be doing so realizing a Cup wouldn’t be within the horizon.
Dion Phaneuf, Los Angeles, 34 (1,048 GP)Phaneuf can have a brand new house subsequent season, with the Kings at present exploring choices to maneuver his contract. Phaneuf was as soon as seen as one of many hardest defensemen to play towards as a result of his means to place up strong offensive numbers and throw huge hits. These days, he’s a depth defender simply attempting to do his half to remain in a lineup, recording simply six factors in 67 video games with the Kings this season. He has by no means performed for a Stanley Cup however may add worth to a workforce on the lookout for some added toughness on its third protection pairing.
Roberto Luongo, Florida, 40 (1,044 GP)Luongo is the lone energetic goalie with 1,000 begins within the NHL. His days as a No. 1 look to be over, particularly if the Panthers signal Sergei Bobrovsky. The Panthers nonetheless aren’t able to battle for a Cup and whereas the expertise base is there – and having Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin could be large – Luongo seemingly received’t get an opportunity to win Lord Stanley’s mug once more after coming one win quick again in 2011 with Vancouver, shedding to Boston. He’s simply 11 wins away from 500, however that may be the final huge achievement in his profession.
Brent Burns, San Jose, 34 (1,043)Burns is well among the finest defensemen of his time, which is humorous on condition that Minnesota drafted him as a right-winger. He has led all defensemen in factors on two events – together with a career-high 83 this season. However Burns has only one Stanley Cup ultimate look to his credit score, becoming a member of Marleau and Thornton on San Jose’s unsuccessful run in 2016. Burns nonetheless has just a few extra good years in him, however do the Sharks have what it takes to combat for the final word prize?
Henrik Lundqvist, NY Rangers, 37 (857 GP)Maybe the best seventh-round decide in NHL historical past, Lundqvist got here oh so near tasting glory in 2014 in a brilliant playoff run by the Swedish netminder. However that’s it, and now we’re among the finest gamers to by no means win the Stanley Cup. Sadly for Lundqvist, the Rangers are nonetheless just a few years away from being a critical contender, even with star prospect Kaapo Kakko. Lundqvist will spend the following few years enjoying in a 1A/1B goalie scenario, however it could be nice to see one of many league’s hottest figures raise the Cup not less than as soon as.
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Tags: buffalo sabres, dallas stars, florida panthers, la kings, minnesota wild, nashville predators, big apple rangers, san jose sharksConnect: In regards to the AuthorSteven EllisSteven Ellis is a Digital Content material Producer for The Hockey Information. He spends his free time listening to music you would not like and watches obnoxiously-long motor races.