Ranking the Stanley Cup Final losing teams over the last decade.
1: 2022 Tampa Bay Lightning
2: 2019 Boston Bruins
3: 2018 Vegas Golden Knights
4: 2015 Tampa Bay Lightning
5: 2014 New York Rangers
6: 2023 Florida Panthers
7: 2020 Dallas Stars
8: 2016 San Jose Sharks
9: 2017 Nashville Predators
10: 2021 Montreal Canadiens
Rankings are based on what the team accomplished just before or after losing in the Stanley Cup Final. Did they have a dominant playoff run and come up short? Did they win a Stanley Cup before or after losing in the Stanley Cup Final? Did they catch lightning in a bottle and go on a lucky run?
No. 1. 2022 Tampa Bay Lightning: The lighting failed to complete the trilogy in the 2022 Stanley Cup Final. They ran into a buzzsaw in the 2022 Colorado Avalanche which is one of the best teams of the last 10 seasons. This was the Lightning’s third straight trip to the Stanley Cup Final. The Lightning enters the 2023-2024 season with a chance at a deep playoff run.
N0. 2. 2019 Boston Bruins: The Bruins have been in the playoffs for seven straight seasons. 2019 was their best chance under coach Bruce Cassidy to lift the Stanley Cup. It is also worth noting the record-breaking 2023 team had many of the same players as the 2019 team. The St. Louis Blues had destiny on their side and it was impossible for the Bruins to overcome.
No. 3. 2018 Vegas Golden Knights: The first four seasons for the Golden Knights went like this; Stanley Cup Final loss, first-round loss, Conference Final loss, and Conference Final loss. Extra credit will be applied as a good part of the core from the 2018 team was on the 2023 Stanley Cup-winning team.
No. 4. 2015 Tampa Bay Lightning: The commentary here is not much different than the 2022 Lightning team. They ran into a buzzsaw in the 2015 Chicago Blackhawks which is also one of the best teams of the last 10 seasons. This would be a big stepping stone for the team to make three consecutive trips to the Stanley Cup Final.
No. 5. 2014 New York Rangers: This was right in the middle of seven straight playoff appearances for the Rangers. The Rangers lost in the Conference Finals in 2012 and 2015.
No. 6. 2023 Florida Panthers: The front page story on the 2023 Panthers is how the Golden Knights ran over them in the Stanley Cup Final. The reality is the Panthers beat the best regular-season team of all time in the first round. Then they needed just nine games to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
No. 7. 2020 Dallas Stars: The Stars missed the playoffs the year after their Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2020 and was a first round exit in 2022. The 2020 run seemed more like lightning in a bottle than anything.
No. 8. 2016 San Jose Sharks: From 2004 to 2019; the Sharks missed the playoffs just once. The low rating is based on the Sharks being built for mainly regular season success. Had the Sharks won a Stanley Cup around the 2016 season, this rating could be much higher. The seven teams prior to the Sharks in the rankings could beat the 2016 Sharks team in a Stanley Cup Final.
No. 9. 2017 Nashville Predators: Very similar to the Sharks listed above, the Predators had a run seven seasons of qualifying for post season play. The Predators combined for seven playoff series victories from 2016 to 2018. From 2015 to 2022 Predators combined for just seven playoff series victories.
No. 10. 2021 Montreal Canadiens: This was an odd season that featured the Canadiens winning Clarence S. Campbell Bowl that is normally awarded to the team that wins the Western Conference. Credit the Canadiens for getting hot at the right time. The Canadiens have not been back to the playoffs since their 2021 Stanley Cup Final appearance.