On Thursday night, we watched a hockey superstar further cemented his legend status, as Alexander Ovechkin captured his first Stanley Cup.
While watching the final few minutes of the game and the subsequent celebration, a thought popped to the surface.
If Jack Eichel only wins one Stanley Cup in his career, would you rather see him win a Stanley Cup early in his career or late in his career?
While that question is understandably loaded, follow along – there is a method to the madness here.
Winning early, what a nice thing to have. We look toward Tampa Bay Lighting legends Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis.
Lecavalier and St. Louis led the charge with the Lightning from the word go. Both players ended up logging a combined 2,344 regular season games in the National Hockey League, along with 182 combined postseason games.
This power duo led Tampa Bay to their first Stanley Cup in the 2003-04 season. After that, the two would help the Lightning reach playoffs only three more times together before Lecavalier was ultimately bought out following the 2013 season and signed with the Philadelphia Flyers. St. Louis made his exit a handful of months later, with his trade to the New York Rangers during the 2013-14 season.
After all was said and done, Lecavalier and St. Louis won the Stanley Cup once in their NHL careers, coming in their sixth season. Both players would play at least a decade after winning their only Stanley Cup.
St. Louis was closest to capturing his second title in 2013-14 with the New York Rangers, but ultimately fell short against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Final.
The most recent scenario of a player winning a Stanley Cup late in their career comes from the newly minted Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals.
Alexander Ovechkin has amassed a Hall of Fame career. In 13 seasons, Ovechkin has played in 1,003 regular season games with 1,122 points (607 goals, 515 assists). He has led the Capitals to 100+ points seven times, including a 100+ point pace during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.
Ovechkin has made the playoffs 10 times in his 13 year career but before this postseason, he had never won more than three games in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
One of the greatest players to never make it to a Conference Final. One of the greatest players to never play in a Stanley Cup Final game. One of the greatest players to never hoist the Stanley Cup.
All of those can be crossed off and the stress pressure valve can finally be drained.
This moment was 13 years in the making but every moment felt worth it, as an outsider looking in.
As that aforementioned outsider, it is hard to say which one we would rather have because the Buffalo Sabres have obviously not been there before.
While it seems like winning early, raising a banner and sputtering through sporadic playoff appearances is worth it, it also seems like the chase and long-term viability of a player and franchise is worth the wait.
This is where we ask you – which would you rather?
Would You Rather?
This poll is closed
Have Jack Eichel win a Cup early like Lecavalier and St. Louis
Have Jack Eichel win a Cup late like Ovechkin