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First-time Stanley Cup winner in 2024?

There are currently 32 teams in the National Hockey League, with 21 of those teams having won the Stanley Cup at least once in their history. That leaves 11 teams with zero Stanley Cup titles on their franchise resume. So will one of those 11 teams break through and win the Stanley Cup this spring?

Three of the last six Stanley Cup champions accomplished that title-winning feat for the first time in franchise history, with the Washington Capitals winning in 2018, the St. Louis Blues winning in 2019, and the Vegas Golden Knights winning in 2023. That trimmed down the number of active NHL franchises with zero Stanley Cup victories to the current 11 teams.

But to win the Stanley Cup you first have to make the playoffs, and that narrows down the potential of us seeing a first-time champion this spring considerably. According to the math guys at SportsClubStats.com each of the Arizona Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Ottawa Senators, and San Jose Sharks have a 0.0% chance of advancing to the postseason this year, with the Buffalo Sabres at just over a 2.0% chance. As well, the Seattle Kraken and the Minnesota Wild, both sitting outside the playoff picture as well in mid-March, have been hovering at around a 10.0% chance.

That leaves four real contenders for a first-ever Stanley Cup champion this season: The Florida Panthers, Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets, and Nashville Predators, with each holding down a playoff chances percentage of over 85.0% heading into the final stretch of the regular season.

Panthers, Canucks, Jets, and Preds in contention

The Panthers have made it to the Stanley Cup final twice in franchise history, including last season when they lost to the Golden Knights in five games. Florida also fell in the 1996 Stanley Cup final, getting swept by the Colorado Avalanche that year. Battling for first place in the Atlantic Division standings with the Boston Bruins this year, the Panthers added forwards Vladimir Tarasenko and Kyle Okposo at the trade deadline in an effort to finally get them over the top and claim the Cup.

The Canucks, who have a comfortable lead atop the Pacific Division standings this year, have lost three times in the Stanley Cup final in their history. Their most recent appearance in the Stanley Cup final was in 2011, when they lost in seven games to the Bruins. Vancouver also came up short in the 1994 (vs. the Rangers) and the 1982 (vs. the Islanders) Stanley Cup final. The Canucks made a splash prior to the deadline, adding forward Elias Lindholm in a deal with the Calgary Flames.

The Jets, locked in a fight for first place in the Central Division standings this year, have never advanced to the Stanley Cup final in any manner – not as the current Jets franchise, not when the current franchise was in Atlanta and called the Thrashers, and not even as the past Jets franchise (which moved to Arizona and become the Coyotes, and has also never made the final). Winnipeg added forwards Tyler Toffoli and Sean Monahan and defenseman Colin Miller by the deadline.

And the Predators have made the Stanley Cup final once in franchise history, back in 2017 when they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. Nashville has a weaker case than Florida, Vancouver, and Winnipeg for this spring, as they’re in just a Wild Card position in the standings. The Predators added forwards Anthony Beauvillier and Jason Zucker prior to the NHL’s trade deadline.

Canadiens leading the field in Stanley Cup titles

Overall, just three teams have double-digit Stanley Cup victories, with the Montreal Canadiens at 24, the Toronto Maple Leafs at 13, and the Detroit Red Wings at 11. The Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup six times apiece, with the Edmonton Oilers and the Pittsburgh Penguins at five times each, and the Rangers and the Islanders at four times each.

The Avalanche, New Jersey Devils, and Tampa Bay Lightning have each won the Stanley Cup three times in franchise history, while the Philadelphia Flyers and the Los Angeles Kings have two titles apiece. The Golden Knights, Capitals, Blues, Flames, Dallas Stars, Carolina Hurricanes, and Anaheim Ducks are the seven NHL teams that have each won a single Stanley Cup championship.

Dave Crowley Avatar 150x150

With zero championships between his MLB, NHL, and NFL teams over the last 30 years, Dave keeps one foot in the past while shaking his fist at the present. Having provided content to all manner of sports websites over a 20-year career in the industry, Dave brings to Attiq an eye for all things editorial and a disdain for all things New York Yankees. Click here for Dave's posts.