The best players to never win the Stanley Cup

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June 8th, 2020

It’s often said the Stanley Cup is the toughest trophy to win in sports, and these five NHL legends found that out the hard way.

Here are the top five hockey players to never win a Stanley Cup.

5. Norm Ullman

The Detroit Red Wings had a dynasty in the 1950s. They won the Stanley Cup in 1950, 1952, 1954, and 1955, with Gordie Howe and the "Production Line" leading the way. Unfortunately for Ullman, who spent 13 seasons in the Motor City, he made his debut in 1956, the start of a 42-year dry spell between titles for the Red Wings.

In another cruel twist of fate, Ullman was traded to the Maple Leafs in 1968, one year after they won their most recent Stanley Cup. He spent eight seasons there, before he concluded his career in the WHA with Edmonton.

Ullman was known as a consistent, gritty center. He played all but 21 games over a 10-year stretch for Detroit. He scored 490 goals over his Hall of Fame career, and 42 came in 1964-1965, the year he led the NHL.

4. Jean Ratelle

It took several seasons for Ratelle to find his stride, but he took off when joined by right winger Rod Gilbert and left winger Vic Hadfield (two players who just missed out on this list) in the early 1970s. They became known as the “GAG line,” or goal-a-game line, and led the Rangers to a Stanley Cup appearance in 1972, but they lost in six games to the Bruins.

Ratelle stayed with New York until 1976, when he was traded to Boston. He made two additional Stanley Cup Finals appearances but was unsuccessful in both.

Over a 21-year career, Ratelle garnered two Lady Byng Awards, a Pearson Award, and a Masterson Trophy, to go with 491 goals and 776 assists (1,280 games). He entered the Hall of Fame in 1985 and had his No. 19 retired by the Rangers in 2018.

3. Brad Park

In an almost mirror image of Ratelle’s career, Hall of Fame defenseman Brad Park made it to one Stanley Cup with the Rangers (1972) and two with the Bruins (1978 and 1979) but never made it over the hump.

He was also painstakingly close to winning the Norris Trophy on several occasions (second six times) but was never first. Park retired after 17 seasons, with 896 points.

2. Gilbert Perreault

The center for the vaunted "French Connection" line, Perreault spent his entire 17-year career with the Sabres, a team that is still seeking its first Stanley Cup.

Perreault was Rookie of the Year in 1971 and added a Lady Byng Trophy to his mantle two years later. In the 1974-1975 season, he made it to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Flyers but lost in six games. The Hall of Famer amassed 1,326 points in 1,191 games. 

1. Marcel Dionne

A two-time Lady Byng and Lester B. Pearson winner, Dionne spent his heyday with the Kings, a franchise that didn’t win its first Stanley Cup until 2012.

Dionne scored 40 goals or more in 10 seasons , and retired with 731 goals (18 seasons, 1,348 games). He also had 1,040 assists, for a total of 1,771 points, the sixth-most in NHL history. But sadly, Dionne never even made the Stanley Cup Finals.

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