It’s now officially been thirty years since the biggest prize in Canadian sports, the Stanley Cup has been won by a Canadian team. Plenty of Canadians have hoisted the famous trophy in that time, but the nation is anxiously waiting to see the Stanley Cup where they think it rightfully belongs. Along the way, teams have come close, plenty of Canadian teams have came and went that were legitimate cup contenders, and should history have been slightly different, Canada’s drought would not be as long. So with that said, here are the eight best Canadian teams since 1993.
Vancouver Canucks – 2010/2011
Starting out strong is arguably thee best Canadian team since 1993, the 2010/2011 Canucks were one game away from a perfect season. Lead by a stellar forward core of Henirk & Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kessler, Mikael Samuelsson and Alex Burrows, Vancouver amassed a team record 117 points and 54 wins on route to winning the President’s Trophy.
With 104 points, Daniel Sedin won the Ted Lindsay Award, and the team carried their good form into the playoffs. They dispatched Chicago, Nashville, and San Jose to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1994 where they faced the Boston Bruins. It wasn’t to be however, Vancouver came up short at home in Game 7 – a heartbreaking end to the season for in hindsight, was Canada’s best chance to win a Stanley Cup in the past thirty years.
Vancouver Canucks 2011/2012
Looking to put the 2011 Game Seven behind them, the Canucks picked up where they left off with another dominant regular season. They put together another 100 point season, this time 104 was enough to once again finish as the best in the west, and give the team their second President’s Trophy in a row.
Once again, the Sedin twins were the stars of this team, with Burrows, Kessler, and Alexander Edler also putting in high numbers on the season. However, Daniel Sedin missed the beginning of the postseason from a concussion, which alongside some poor finishing and goaltending meant that the Canucks were always on the backfoot against first-round opponents – the LA Kings. The Canucks season ended in Round One with a 4-1 series loss, and they haven’t quite been the same team since.
Québec Nordiques – 1994/1995
Just sneaking in is the Québec Nordiques who after some poor seasons in the early nineties, had rebounded to become a very competitive team by 1995. Due to a labor dispute, the season was shortened to only 48 games, but that’s all Québec needed. To top the Eastern Conference.
They would lose to the reigning champions the New York Rangers in the First Round, and this is where the story gets interesting. The Nordiques would move to Colorado that offseason and be rebranded as the Colorado Avalanche, and the core players in 1995 of Forsberg, Sakic, Kamensky, Young, and Fiset all played their part in helping the Avalanche win the 1996 Stanley Cup! Had the team stuck around in Québec City a year longer, it’s more likely than not that Canada’s drought would be twenty-seven years and not thirty.
Ottawa Senators – 2002/2003
The last remaining President Trophy Winner on this list, the Ottawa Senators came just about as close as you could to making a Stanley Cup Final, in what was at that point the teams best ever season.
Ottawa where lead by Daniel Alfredsson, Marián Hossa, Todd White and Martin Havlát – the Sens overcame tough financial issues off the ice and won 52 games enroute to becoming the first Canadian team since 1989 to win the Presidents Trophy. Playoff series wins over the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers set up a matchup against the New Jersey Devils, with the winner advancing to the Stanley Cup Final. Ottawa came up just short however, with a late Devils goal in Game Seven enough to end Ottawa’s season in heartbreaking fashion.
The Road To Olympic Gold – FC13 Podcast
Ottawa Senators – 2006/07
For as close as the 2003/03 Ottawa team went, they didn’t get as far as the 2006/07 iteration of the Ottawa Senators. The 06/07 team accumulated 105 point that season, enough for second place in the East behind the Buffalo Sabers.
Lead by Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and (goaltender) Ray Emery, Ottawa swept Pittsburgh and New Jersey before setting up an Eastern Conference Final matchup against Buffalo. Despite finishing below them in the regular season, Ottawa won the series to reach the franchises first Stanley Cup final, and the first Stanley Cup final for an Ottawa based team since 1927! The team unfortunately came up short 4-1 in the series against the Anaheim Ducks, the closest Ottawa have came to winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history to date.
Toronto Maple Leafs – 2021/2022
For all of Toronto’s recent postseason issues, no one can take away how dominant this team has been in the regular season – and 2021/22 was this team at its prime. Star center Auston Matthews finished the season with 106 with culminated in him winning the Ted Lindsay award, star forwards Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and John Tavares also had good seasons, and Toronto finished with 54 wins and 115 points – both being franchise records!
Toronto faced off against the two time reigning Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning, and despite being 3-2 up after five games, Toronto fell just short in a home Game Seven. If things were different and Toronto defeated Tampa, who knows how far they could’ve gone?
Montreal Canadiens – 2014/2015
Of all the teams listed, the 2014/15 Canadiens arguably had the best goaltending of any Canadian team in the last thirty years. Carey Price has a franchise record .933 save percentage and let in an average of under two goals per game. Price cleaned up the end-of-season awards, winning the Vezina Trophy, Hart Memorial Trophy, and Ted Lindsay Award. Skaters Max Pacioretty, P.K Subban, and Tomáš Plekanec also had stellar seasons, propelling the Habs to 110 points and 50 wins.
In the first round of the playoffs, Montreal faced off against Canadian rivals, the Ottawa Senators. They dispatched them fairly easily with a 4-1 series win, setting up a second-round tie against Tampa Bay. It wasn’t to be as Tampa won 4-2, and they would go on to reach the 2015 Stanley Cup, a fate that easily could’ve been that of Montreal that season.
Edmonton Oilers – 2022/2023
In the thirty years since a Canadian team won a Stanley Cup, there is a very, veeeery valid argument to say that Connor McDavid is the best player to player for a Canadian team in that time, and 2022/23 was the peak of his career to date. McDavid was on fire all season with a staggering 153 points, the most points any player had amassed in a season since 1996! If you could stop McDavid, you would have other offensive juggernauts to worry about! Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also both had +100 point seasons, it’s no wonder the Oilers finished with 109 points and 50 wins!
Edmonton faced the LA Kings in Round One of the playoffs, and thanks to their offensive firepower they overcame a 2-1 series deflect to win 4-2 and advance to face the Vegas Golden Knights. The series was 3-2 to Vegas heading into Game Six in Edmonton, but it was one game too many as the eventual Stanley Cup winning Knights would win the game 5-2. McDavid and co will be hoping they can pick up where they left off last season, and get Edmonton to their first Stanley Cup final since 2006.
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