Top 5 current NHL players chasing their first Stanley Cup, including Zach Parise

At the start of the 2022-23 NHL Playoffs, several veteran players will renew their quest for a Stanley Cup ring, which has eluded them to this point in their careers.

Realistically, only some people are as lucky as Jaromir Jagr, who won back-to-back championships in his first two seasons in 1991 and 1992. However, after an appearance in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, he never came close to winning again in his 24-year career. 

Meanwhile, recently retired Patrick Marleau not only owns the record for most regular season games played with 1,779, but he also suited up for an additional 195 playoff games. He never once played on a championship team. Despite appearing in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final with the San Jose Sharks, Marleau leads a lengthy list of superstar players, including many Hall of Famers like Jarome Iginla, Phil Housley, Mike Gartner, and Adam Oates, who never hoisted the Stanley Cup. 

Although those players’ places at the top of the list are secure for now, several current players with over a 1,000 games in the league have renewed their quest for a ring. However, with each missed opportunity, they see their name inch closer to the top of one of the game’s most famous lists. 

Related: Sportsnaut experts provide NHL Playoff predictions

Paul Stastny, Carolina Hurricanes (1,145 games) 

NHL: Boston Bruins at Carolina Hurricanes

Paul Stastny comes from a royal hockey family, the son of Hall of Famer Peter Stastny, one of the first great European-born (Slovakia) and trained superstars in NHL history. As a second-round pick of the Colorado Avalanche in the 2005 Entry Draft, Stastny eventually played eight seasons with the club before bouncing around to the St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights, and Winnipeg Jets, finally landing with the Carolina Hurricanes, his current team.

Even though he was a consistent 20-goal scorer in the early parts of his career, he has only managed 822 points in 1,145 games, almost a reversal of his dad’s totals of 1,239 points in 977 games. Thus far, Stastny has yet to skate in the Stanley Cup Final, playing in the Western Conference Finals on three occasions with the Blues, Jets, and Golden Knights. 

Related: New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes NHL Playoff preview

Zach Parise, New York Islanders (1,224 games)

nhl playoffs: zach parise

Zach Parise is another player who followed his father’s footsteps into the NHL. His dad, J.P. Parise, played 890 games over 14 seasons. Right now, the one-time NHL All-Star is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2020-21 and is part of a scrappy New York Islanders team that could be a dark horse in the Eastern Conference.

As a New Jersey Devils’ first-round pick (17th overall) in 2003, Parise debuted as a 21-year-old and was with the Devils when they lost in the 2012 Stanley Cup Final. After seven seasons in New Jersey, he returned home to Minnesota to play with the Wild before signing with the Islanders in 2021-22. Currently, he has 879 points in 1,224 games. 

Related: Minnesota Wild, Dallas Stars NHL Playoff preview

Joe Pavelski, Dallas Stars (1,250 games)

nhl playoff preview: joe pavelski

Interestingly, Joe Pavelski recently collected his 1,000th career point on April 10, 2023, becoming one of the top-scoring players ever drafted in the seventh round. After the Sharks selected him with the 205th pick in the 2003 NHL Draft, he joined the team in 2006 and spent the next 13 years with the franchise, appearing alongside Marleau in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Despite his contributions to the Sharks, which included a 41-goal campaign in 2013-14, they decided to move on from the 34-year-old in 2018-19, forcing him to find a new home. Within no time, Pavelski joined the Dallas Stars, and during his first season with the team, he helped get them to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final. 

Brent Burns, Carolina Hurricanes (1,333 games)

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Carolina Hurricanes
Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Brent Burns is the only player this high on the list who has won an NHL award, taking home the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman in 2016-17. Initially, he broke into the league with the Wild as their first-round pick (20th overall) in the 2003 Entry Draft. After seven years with the club, he moved west to the Sharks, where he became a household name with 70-point seasons. 

Unfortunately, Burns was also a member of the 2016 Sharks team, who lost in the Stanley Cup Final, his only appearance in the championship series. Now in his first season with the Hurricanes, he’s looking to assist the team back into the Final for the first time since winning it all in 2006. 

Ryan Suter, Dallas Stars (1,362 games)

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Dallas Stars

Ryan Suter is another first-round draft pick still searching for his first Stanley Cup title, first NHL award, and first appearance in the Final. After the Nashville Predators called his name on draft day, he debuted as a 21-year-old in 2005-06, suiting up with the team for seven seasons before joining Parise in Minnesota in 2012-13. 

Unfortunately, after nine seasons with the Wild, they bought out his contract, making him a free agent who eventually joined Pavelski in Dallas for the 2021-22 season. Now, the 38-year-old, with 664 points in 1,362 games, is still searching for a championship, something to add to his legacy in the twilight of his career. 

Top 5 players (games played all-time) without a Stanley Cup

  1. Patrick Marleau (1997 – 2021) 1,779 games
  2. Joe Thornton (1997 – 2022) 1,714 games
  3. Jarome Iginla (1996 – 2017) 1,554 games
  4. Shane Doan (1995 – 2017) 1,540 games
  5. Phil Housley (1982 – 2003) 1,495 games 
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