For 12 unfortunate NHL teams, young and old, Lord Stanley has only been a dream companion. Two of these franchises, the Blues and the Sharks, have a chance in the Western Conference Finals to set themselves up for a chance to skate off the list. For the other nine, wait until next year. That means you, Alexander Ovechkin.
Columbus Blue Jackets (first season: 2000-01)
Not only have the Blue Jackets not won a Stanley Cup, but they have never advanced past the first round of the postseason. Columbus has won two games in two Stanley Cup Playoff appearances. Franchise scoring leader Rick Nash reached the Stanley Cup Final with the Rangers in 2014.
Minnesota Wild (first season: 2000-01)
The "State of Hockey" has never been able to touch the Stanley Cup. The North Stars made two Stanley Cup Finals, losing to the Islanders in 1981 and the Penguins in 1991. The Wild made the Western Conference Finals in 2003, only to get swept by the Mighty Ducks. Minnesota's current franchise has been in the playoffs four straight years.
Winnipeg Jets (first season: 1999-00 as Atlanta Thrashers)
The current Jets franchise reached the postseason once as the Thrashers and once as the Jets. The original Winnipeg Jets won three WHA titles but never reached the Stanley Cup Final.
Nashville Predators (first season: 1998-99)
After a slow start to the franchise, the Predators are evolving into a Stanley Cup Playoffs mainstay. Nashville has won a playoff series in three of the past six seasons. As seen by the excitement surrounding this year's NHL All-Star Game, Music City is embracing hockey in the South.
Arizona Coyotes (first NHL season: 1979-80. Franchise began in 1972-73 in WHA as Winnipeg Jets.)
The Coyotes had a brief stretch of three straight playoff appearances, including a conference final appearance from 2009-2011. However, other than that, the move to Phoenix in 1996 has carried a bottom-dweller.
Ottawa Senators (first season: 1992-93)
After missing the postseason in their first four seasons, the Senators appeared in the playoffs 11 straight seasons from 1996-97 to 2007-08, including a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2007. Ottawa has made the postseason five of the past nine seasons, only winning one series in that time. The franchise still lacks a Stanley Cup, although, the city won 11 titles in its pre-Original Six incarnation, which left town in 1934.
Florida Panthers (first season: 1993-94)
The Panthers stormed out of the palm trees to reach a Stanley Cup Final in their third season, 1995-96. The Avalanche proceeded to sweep Florida, but the rat trick was born. The Panthers have only reached the postseason four times since. Florida eclipsed the 100-point mark for the first time in 2015-16, with 103. The Islanders then disposed of the Panthers in six games in the first round of the playoffs.
San Jose Sharks (first season: 1991-92)
Is this finally the year? The Sharks have made the playoffs in 18 of their 24 seasons, but the franchise is yet to play in the Stanley Cup Final. San Jose is making its fourth appearance in the Western Conference Final. Patrick Marleau has played in the previous three. Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Logan Couture have played in the past two. The Shark Tank is out for blood.
Washington Capitals (first season: 1974-75)
This is not the year for these guys. The Capitals won the 2015-16 Presidents' Trophy but lost in the conference semifinals for the fifth time in eight years. The Caps were swept by the Red Wings in the 1998 Stanley Cup Final, their only such appearance. Washington has not reached the conference final since. For Alexander Ovechkin, the question is starting to become not when, but if.
Vancouver Canucks (first season: 1970-71)
It is hard to believe this hockey power has never won a Stanley Cup. The Canucks have made it to the Stanley Cup Final three times, losing in seven games twice, most recently in 2011. It is worth noting a Canadian team has not won the Stanley Cup since 1993 (Montreal).
Buffalo Sabres (first season: 1970-71)
The Bills are not the only star-crossed franchise in Buffalo. The Sabres made Stanley Cup Finals in 1975 and 1999, losing both in six games. Losing Game 6 in 1999 as Brett Hull scored in triple overtime for Dallas while his foot was in the crease still stings. Buffalo had a stretch of optimism in 2005-06 and 2006-07, losing consecutive Eastern Conference Finals. The Sabres are currently on a five-year postseason-less streak.
St. Louis Blues (first season: 1967-68)
What a ride this year could be for the people of St. Louis. The city lost the Rams a couple months ago to Los Angeles, but the Blues have a chance to give fans brief football amnesia. St. Louis actually reached the Stanley Cup in its first three seasons. In the 1967-68 season the NHL added a conference of six expansion teams to complement the Original Six, meaning one of those new teams would be guaranteed a spot in the Stanley Cup Final its first year. Coached by Scotty Bowman, the Blues were that team, and their run continued in 1969 and 1970. However, all three times, the Blues were swept by Original Six clubs (Canadiens twice, Bruins once). The NHL then created regional divisions. St. Louis is in its first conference finals since 2001, and one thing is for sure: Either the Blues or Sharks will have a crack at their first Stanley Cup.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.