The New York Rangers are the historic gold standard for futility in the NHL, having gone 54 years without winning the Stanley Cup until finally getting the job done in 1994 (see Mark Messier with the Cup above) — after decades of being taunted with “1940” chants in enemy arenas.
Now, the Blueshirts are halfway back to 54, as it’s been 27 years since 1994, and the Cup hasn’t come back to Broadway. But by the time that 54 comes around again, there’s a good chance that the Rangers won’t hold the record anymore. In fact, this year marks 54 years since the Toronto Maple Leafs’ last Cup in 1967. Yes, there’s a missed season in there, but the Leafs were part of the league that locked out the players in 2005 — it’s not like there was a global pandemic that wiped out that season. In fact, we now know that global pandemics do not necessarily mean no Stanley Cup awarded, as happened in 1919.
Twelve teams have been without a Cup longer than the Rangers’ current, active 27-year run of sadness. But which of this dry dozen will eventually get to 54? Let’s take a look, in order from most likely to win a Cup before reaching a 54-year drought, to the least likely.