5 Most Complete Players in the NHL (Physicality Excluded)

Shane FraserContributor IIIJanuary 20, 2012

5 Most Complete Players in the NHL (Physicality Excluded)

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    In response to the unprecedented number of negative comments I received for my last article, I decided to write a similar piece featuring the five most (nearly) complete players in the NHL.

    These are the players that everyone expected to see on Thursday's list, but were shocked to find out that I used physicality and toughness as factors in the choosing of the players.  So these unappreciated stars never received a mention until now.

    Without further ado, here is the most interesting and original list ever compiled on Bleacher Report.

    Note: this list may stir the pot a little and throw you some questionable names, but let's just hope it doesn't garner too much controversy, as I'd hate to write a list that wasn't full of generic players whose rankings could not be argued.

Honorable Mention: Ryan Kesler

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    2011-12 Statistics: 42 GP, 12 G, 19 A, 31 PTS, plus-nine, 14 PPP, 1 SHP, 3:47 PPTOI/G, 2:17 SHTOI/G, 20:05 TOI/G

    Yes, Kesler still stays an honorable mention, as he frequents the penalty box much too often to be included in the top five.

    His 34 penalty minutes this season puts him on the precipice of "goon" territory, and we obviously don't need another one of those in the league.

    Even though he is an All-Star, a Selke Trophy winner and an Olympic medalist, he better tone his game down a notch, as that many minor penalties can tarnish a reputation. 

5. Patrice Bergeron

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    2011-12 Statistics: 44 GP, 14 G, 25 A, 39 PTS, plus-28, 9 PPP, 1 SHP, 2:45 PPTOI/G, 2:04 SHTOI/G, 18:27 TOI/G

    Bergeron, a premiere two-way center, is playing some of the best hockey of his career this season, and him not being selected to play in this year's All-Star game is a travesty.

    What really makes him such a great all-around player, though, is his willingness to shy away from the rough aspects of the game, as he has never surpassed 28 penalty minutes or 58 hits in a season.

    Good on you, Bergy! You don't need to get involved in any of that malarkey. 

4. Shea Weber

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    2011-12 Statistics: 43 GP, 10 G, 23 A, 33 PTS, plus-13, 14 PPP, 2 SHP, 3:52 PPTOI/G, 2:41 SHTOI/G, 26:10 TOI/G

    As one of the best defensemen in the NHL, Weber can do pretty much everything on the ice, and there is not much more that can be said about his skill set that hasn't already been advertised. 

    He was nine votes away from winning the Norris Trophy last year, and the odds that he will be redeemed this season are quite good.

    It was a tough decision whether or not to include Weber in this list, though, as he engaged in his fair share of fisticuffs earlier in his career.  But considering he hasn't been in one of those embarrassing altercations for the past two seasons, I deemed him eligible. 

3. Jonathan Toews

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    2011-12 Statistics: 47 GP, 26 G, 22 A, 48 PTS, plus-16, 12 PPP, 2 SHP, 3:27 PPTOI/G, 1:54 SHTOI/G, 21:07 TOI/G

    Oh Toews, you are a leader, a workhorse, and a fantastic two-way forward, which are the key contributing factors to the success you have had in your young career.

    But the traits that you possess that have solidified yourself as one of the most complete players in the game is the way you avoid every physical confrontation that materializes on the ice, and the way you rarely finish your checks.

    Who says a 6'2", 210-pound player should throw his body around? Who says a captain should step up for his teammates and do the dirty work if necessary? 

    You're a visionary, Toews. 


2. Pavel Datsyuk

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    2011-12 Statistics: 46 GP, 13 G, 38 A, 51 PTS, plus-21 15 PPP, 0 SHP, 3:00 PPTOI/G, 1:01 SHTOI/G, 19:02 TOI/G 

    Datsyuk is the best two-way forward in the NHL, as evident by his three Selke Trophy wins.

    He is also the most gentlemanly player in the NHL, as evident by his four Lady Byng Trophy wins.

    I've always said that the most complete players in NHL history have been Byng winners, as Wayne Gretzky, Jean Ratelle and Butch Goring were known to always get their noses dirty. 

1. Nicklas Lidstrom

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    2011-12 Statistics: 47 GP, 9 G, 16 A, 25 PTS, plus-23, 12 PPP, 0 SHP, 3:39 PPTOI/G, 1:55 SHTOI/G, 23:42 TOI/G 

    Lidstrom is one of the greatest two-way defensemen in NHL history, but he is also a bully.

    You may want to debate his placement on this list because he fought a guy back in 1996.