The waiting was the longest part for the Panthers and these 4 other Stanley Cup winners

The virtue of patience allowed some Panthers fans and employees to hang in for 30 years before this season’s Stanley Cup triumph, climaxed with Monday’s 2-1 Game 7 win against Edmonton.

Hold my Molson, followers and members of four other franchises could say after they augmented patience to an agonizing length. The Panthers make the list of Top Five Longest Waits for a Stanley Cup, but aren’t as high as you might think.

This doesn’t count the NHL franchises without a Cup, such as 1970 expansion twins Buffalo and Vancouver; Winnipeg/Phoenix/Arizona/Utah (1979 as a WHA survivor); San Jose (1991); Ottawa (1992); Nashville (1998); Atlanta/Winnipeg (1999); 2000 expansion siblings Minnesota and Columbus; and the NHL’s most recent addition, Seattle.

Also, this counts from the start of the franchise to the first lifting of Lord Stanley’s grand chalice. It doesn’t count droughts, which is why you won’t find Toronto (1967-present); the Rangers (1940-1994); Detroit (1955-97); the New York Islanders (1983-present); Chicago (1961-2010); Calgary (1989-present); or Edmonton (1990-present).

(Note: he 2004-05 season that was lost to a league lockout of players isn’t counted.)

READ MORE: What to know about the Panthers victory celebration

St. Louis Blues, 51st season

Franchise began play: 1967, as part of the six-team expansion from the NHL’s “Original Six” era.

Won the Stanley Cup: 2019.

Heartbreaks: Though the Blues made the Stanley Cup Finals each of their first three seasons because all the 1967 expansion teams were put in the same division, they weren’t competitive in sweep losses to Montreal (1968, 1969) and Boston (1970). The feelgood of a President’s Trophy (best regular season record) 1999-2000 season turned into the groin kick of a first-round upset loss to San Jose. Their best shot was in 1986 when the Monday Night Miracle — a third-period, Game 6 comeback from 5-2 down to a 6-5 overtime win — stretched Calgary to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Semifinal. The Blues lost Game 7 to Calgary, which lost the Stanley Cup Final to Montreal.

Finally...: And, we do mean finally — the Blues set a record by taking 27 playoff games to win the Cup. Jaden Schwartz scored the Blues’ last four goals of a six-game first round defeat of Winnipeg. Patrick Maroon took over offensive hero duties against Dallas, scoring the Game 3 winner with 1:38 left and the double overtime Game 7 winner. A six-game Western Conference Final against San Jose sent the Blues to the Stanley Cup Final. St. Louis had the first chance to clinch the back-and-forth series, but took a 5-1 whipping at home in Game 6. But, in Game 7 at Boston, Conn Smythe (Playoff MVP) Trophy winner Ryan O’Reilly scored on a deflection to get the Blues rolling to a 4-1 win.

Los Angeles Kings, 44th NHL season

Franchise began play: 1967, as part of the six-team expansion from the NHL’s “Original Six” era.

Won the Stanley Cup: 2012.

Heartbreaks: Coached by Barry Melrose, led by Wayne Gretzky, Luc Robitaille and Tony Granato with a talented young defense, the 1992-93 Kings made the franchise’s first Stanley Cup Final. Up 2-1 late in Game 2 at Montreal after winning Game 1, Kings defenseman Marty McSorley got caught with a (very) illegal stick curve. Defenseman Eric Desjardins scored the tying goal on the power play and in overtime.. John LeClair killed LA with overtime goals in Games 3 and 4. The Kings went meekly, 4-1, in Game 5, wondering what would’ve happened if not for the illegal stick penalty.

Finally...: Three coaches (John Stevens replaced fired Terry Murray, Darryl Sutter replaced Stevens). Ten shutouts suffered. But, 12 wins in the final 19 games got them in the playoffs as the No. 8 seed. The Kings won the first three games in each round, dumping Vancouver in five, St. Louis in a sweep, the Coyotes in five and New Jersey in six. Conn Smythe Trophy winner Goalie Jonathan Quick, one of the few consistent Kings all season, held Presidents Trophy winners Vancouver to eight goals in five first round games.

READ MORE: The Panthers took the Stanley Cup partying

Washington Capitals, 43rd season

Franchise began play: 1974, as part of a two-team expansion with the Atlanta Flames (who moved to Calgary in 1980).

Won the Stanley Cup: 2018.

Heartbreaks: The Capitals spent most of the 1980s and 1990s being just good enough to get gutted by the Islanders or Pittsburgh in the playoffs. Washington got swept in the 1998 Stanley Cup Final by defending Cup holder Detroit after blowing a two-goal third period lead in Game 2. Presidents Trophy seasons in 2015-16 and 2016-17 ended with playoff losses to longtime nemesis (and eventual Stanley Cup winner) Pittsburgh and Sidney Crosby, the player to whom Washington star Alexander Ovechkin’s career progress was most often compared.

Finally...: Another Capitals collapse seemed to be in progress in the first round against Columbus. But, one shot from going down 3-0, Lars Eller’s double overtime goal turned things around and the Caps escaped in six games. When they exorcised their Pittsburgh demon in the second round, it signalled this was the Caps year. Still, they needed Game 6 and 7 shutouts to get past Tampa Bay and into the Stanley Cup Final against the first-year Vegas Golden Knights. Evegeny Kuznetsov led the Caps in scoring with 32 points, but Ovechkin was voted the Conn Smythe Award after the Caps won in five games.

READ MORE: How the Panthers built their Stanley Cup winning roster

Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars, 32nd NHL season

Franchise began play: 1967, as part of a six-team expansion from the NHL’s “Original Six” era.

Won the Stanley Cup: 1999.

Heartbreaks: Though clearly the lesser team in Stanley Cup Finals losses to the dynastic New York Islanders (1981) and Mario Lemieux’s Pittsburgh (1991), the latter series was 2-2 after four games. By 1997, they’d moved to Dallas, had centers Mike Modano and Joe Nieuwendyk, goalie Ed Belfour, defensemen Sergei Zubov and Derian Hatcher, one of the league’s best team defenses and the second best record. After a shocking first round upset by Edmonton, the Stars defensively choked opponents out on the way to the President’s Trophy in 1997-98. But San Jose’s Bryan Marchment trucked Nieuwendyk into the rear boards in the first playoffs game, tearing Nieuwendyk’s knee ligaments. Even without their leading scorer, the Stars were good enough to get to the Western Conference final, where defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit beat them in six games on the way to a repeat.

Finally...: Signing sniper Brett Hull was followed by another President’s Trophy, another playoff meeting with Edmonton (sweep) and a second round dispatch of St. Louis. As it did the previous year, the Western Conference final matched the NHL’s two best teams, Dallas and Colorado. A scintillating seven games ended with Dallas taking Games 6 and 7 by twin 4-1 scores. That sent Dallas into a low-scoring trench fight of a Stanley Cup Final against Buffalo. Despite Modano playing with an injured wrist and Hull having at least one pulled groin, Dallas took a 3-2 lead into Game 6. Typical of the series, the first 60 minutes ended 1-1. It would be almost another game, 54:15 of overtime, before Hull knocked home a loose puck from the doorstep. Though Hull had a skate in the crease, which tended to get goals called back in those days, the goal stood. Nieuwendyk won the Conn Smythe Trophy because, well, 11 goals, 10 assists and Dallas winning the Cup instead of getting KO’d in the West final.

Florida Panthers, 30th NHL season

Franchise began play: 1993, as part of a two-team expansion with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Won the Stanley Cup: 2024.

READ MORE: After three decades, Florida Panthers’ Paul Maurice finally won his Stanley Cup

Heartbreaks: Magical as the run to the 1996 Stanley Cup Final as a third-year franchise was, the sweep loss to Colorado accurately reflected the gap between the two teams. The joy of a President’s Trophy 2021-22 season followed by the first playoff series win since 1996 got swept out the door in the four-game second round loss to cross-state rival Tampa Bay. Dumping record-setting President’s Trophy winner Boston, getting rid of favored Toronto and Carolina to get to the Stanley Cup Final earned the Panthers the right to be “dismantled” (Carter Verhaeghe’s word) by the Vegas Golden Knights in five games.

Finally...: You saw it.