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Categories Betting 101 NHL

Lowest Seeds to Make the NHL Stanley Cup Final | 2024 Stanley Cup Final Longshots

Unlike in the NBA, where only two No. 8 seeds have made a run to the Finals and no No. 7 seeds, the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs have historically been much chaotic. As such, here we are only covering the very bottom-seeded teams that have made a run to the Stanley Cup Final. These are history’s biggest NHL Stanley Cup Final longshots to make deep runs.

Biggest NHL Stanley Cup Final Longshots of All-Time

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1991 Minnesota North Stars, Lost to Pittsburgh Penguins (2-4)

This is more of an honorable mention than a true section because I’m splitting the finest of hairs. Every other team in this list was the worst team in their conference/side of the bracket, whether as a No. 8 seed or last in a divisional playoff format. The North Stars technically were not the worst team in the 1991 Clarence Campbell Conference despite winning only 27 games, as they finished with 68 points (???). Somehow, the 28-win Canucks had only 65 points (???!?!??), and both of these teams made the playoffs.

The North Stars may be the biggest NHL Final longshot of all-time; however, we’re keeping strict rules here. They gave Pittsburgh a decent Stanley Cup series too — but the Penguins had Mario Lemieux and a baby-faced Jaromir Jagr, so …

2006 Edmonton Oilers, Lost to Carolina Hurricanes (3-4)

Maybe it’s just me, but I remember very little about this series. I remember it being odd that the Hurricanes were winning the Stanley Cup, and I remember Eric Staal being a 100-point guy for them. I didn’t remember them going to seven games against the Oilers, I didn’t remember that the Oilers were an eighth seed, and I certainly didn’t remember that they had Chris Pronger. But hey, that’s on me.

What I do remember very well was how good the Detroit Red Wings were in that era, led by Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg and toting a handful of absolute geezers like Steve Yzerman, Chris Chelios and Nicklas Lidstrom. And Lidstrom played six more years, so joke’s on the young folk there.

Anyway, the Oilers and their 95 points knocked off the top-seeded, heavily favored Red Wings in just six games. Then they did the same to Joe Thornton and the Sharks, and then finally took out the Teemu Selanne Mighty Ducks to reach the Cup Final.

And though the Hurricanes came out on top in seven games, Edmonton came back from down 3-1 to force a Game 7 and was only down a goal late in the third period. This was very close to shaking out very differently.

2012 Los Angeles Kings, Defeated New Jersey Devils (4-2)

This is the only bottom-seeded champion we have seen in either the NHL or the NBA. It is also about as textbook a definition of the phrase “goaltender standing on his head” as one can get.

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick was off the absolute chain in the 2012 playoffs, winning all 16 games for the Kings and posting a league-leading .946 save percentage while allowing only 1.41 goals per game in the 20-game Stanley Cup run. That included three shutouts and skyrocketed Quick to the top of the list of NHL goaltenders, and he took home the Conn Smythe when Los Angeles lifted the Cup.

The No. 8 seed Kings were so dominant in the 2012 playoffs that they did not drop a second game in any series until the Final, which they won 4-2 over the Devils. It’s a wonder this team was ever a bottom seed in the first place.



2021 Montreal Canadiens, Lost to Tampa Bay Lightning (1-4)

This was a weird year that was shortened to 56 games due to COVID, but one thing that was firmly established heading into the postseason was Montreal’s status as the weakest playoff team. The Canadiens had earned just 59 points, 4 fewer than the second-worst team, and that got them a first-round matchup with Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs.

Things looked bleak for the Habs. Toronto got up 3-1 in the series, including a pair of four-goal wins. But then Montreal got back-to-back overtime goals to force a Game 7, and wouldn’t you know it, the underdogs pulled it out.

And then they rolled Winnipeg in the second round, which forced a semifinal matchup with Vegas — who did not win the Presidents Trophy despite tying for the most points in the NHL. This time as a massive underdog, Montreal got up 2-1 in the series and, after dropping a game, closed out with a convincing Game 5 win and an overtime goal to head to the Cup Final.

There the Habs met the defending champion Lightning, who played the part and won the series 4-1 to go back-to-back. Still, the Canadiens defied all expectations as the worst playoff team.

2023 Florida Panthers, Lost to Vegas Golden Knights (1-4)

2023 was a big year for Miami low seeds. The Heat and Panthers both made runs to their respective Finals, and both knocked off massive favorites in Round 1 — but what the Panthers did was much more historically significant, no offense to Miami.

The Bruins broke the NHL record for points in a season with 135, breaking a 46-year mark set by the 1977 Canadiens. Boston had the Vezina winner and Hart Trophy runner-up, plus four legitimately deep lines that could score and defend like no other team.

And the scrappy, bottom-seed Panthers knocked them out in seven in Round 1. Here’s the Carter Verhaeghe goal that clinched it:

This is probably the biggest Stanley Cup Playoff upset ever, and it sparked Florida to a conference title that saw the team knock off Toronto in Round 2 and sweep another massive favorite in Carolina in the East Final.

The Panthers ran into a buzz saw in the Cup Final, as Vegas’ depth ended up being too much for the Cinderellas. Alas, disappointing the Bruins in the first round is enough reason to celebrate this team.

2024 NHL Stanley Cup Final Longshot Odds: Wild Card Teams

TeamSeason PtsOdds
Lightning98+1000
Capitals91+7500
Predators99+1500
Golden Knights98+525
Odds From Bet365

Unsurprisingly, the Golden Knights have much shorter odds than the other three Wild Card teams. After all, they are the defending Stanley Cup champions; however, Vegas also gets a tough Round 1 opponent in the Stars that just missed out on the Presidents Trophy by 1 single point.

Nashville is looking like a slightly better bet at +1500, as the first-round opponent there is a Vancouver team that did not close the year particularly well. In fact, the Predators only had three fewer wins than the Canucks this year.

It helps all of these teams’ chances that no one squad looks like the one to beat in either conference. Granted, the Bruins were firmly the kings of the hill heading into last year’s playoffs, and we all know what happened to them. I wouldn’t recommend betting the Capitals, even at +7500, as they are far and away the worst of the four Wild Cards. However, there could be some value in sprinkling one of the other three — especially with two of them being recent Stanley Cup champs.

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