25 Athletes We Would Love to See in the NHL

Kevin W. Ryan@@kevry88Contributor IIIMarch 19, 2012

25 Athletes We Would Love to See in the NHL

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    Ice hockey at its highest level requires each individual to bring their own uniqueness to a role for their franchise. Talents like Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk are once in a lifetime.

    If you could take current stars out of their respective fields, give them some pads and let them lace up the skates, who would you want to see most? 

    Use your imagination.  

25. Calvin Johnson (Detroit Lions)

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    NHL Advantage: Size, Agility

    Megatron: 6'5'', 236 lbs.

    Calvin Johnson put Georgia Tech on the map during his three-year stint in Atlanta, especially with his own version of "The Catch."

    His incredible size, reach and agility for a player at his position would certainly be an interesting transition to playing ice hockey. 

24. Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)

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    NHL Advantage: Agility

    The reigning NBA regular season Most Valuable Player built his game on pure agility.

    I can only imagine the Datsyukian moves Rose would unleash on NHL defenders.

    The 23-year-old superstar certainly has a great career ahead of him in the near future. 

23. Yoenis Cespedes (Oakland Athletics)

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    NHL Advantage: Power, Strength

    Cespedes is sure to shock your fantasy baseball league this season.

    With his unique 5'10'', 210-pound frame, the recently signed Cuban center fielder aims to take this year's AL Rookie of the Year crown.

22. Paul Rabil (Boston Cannons)

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    NHL Advantage: Play-Making 

    Current MLL Superstar Paul Rabil is slowly making lacrosse mainstream. The league's most popular player does an incredible job protecting the ball while utilizing his ambidextrous sniping.

    Rabil had his shot clocked at an insane 111 miles per hour. 

    A lot of hockey (and lacrosse) players grew up playing hockey in the winter season, then switched to lacrosse in the summer.

    Hopefully, players like Rabil can continue to motivate the fastest growing sport in America. 

21. Nyjer Morgan (Milwaukee Brewers)

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    NHL Advantage: Hockey Background

    I'm happy T-Plush spared us his hockey talents at the pro level, although I'm sure his attitude and cockiness wouldn't last long in the league anyway. 

    Morgan didn't make too many friends this season after his tantrum he threw at the St. Louis Cardinals—ranging from his chew toss at former CY Young award winner Chris Carpenter, to calling future Hall of Fame first baseman Albert Pujols "Alberta" on twitter.

    It's safe to say the Cardinals got the last laugh, after Pujols hit a double that sent Morgan flying into the center-field wall—then capped it off with the franchise's 11th World Series title. 

    Check out Morgan skating with the team at a San Jose Sharks practice.  

20. Josh Hamilton (Texas Rangers)

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    NHL Advantage: Power

    With a similar build to Cespedes, Hamilton brings a unique game to center field.

    His power is feared by virtually every pitcher in the league—one of his "five tools."

    Hamilton, however, is in the news for reasons other than his talent.

19. Rafa

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    NHL Advantage: Agility 

    Rafael Nadal is a tremendous competitor, and one of the most prolific athletes the sport of tennis has ever seen.

    What makes Nadal different from the rest of the tennis world is his footwork. I can only imagine if he were to be able to stop on a dime like that on the ice...

18. Brian Wilson (San Francisco Giants)

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    NHL Advantage: Playoff Beard

    His outlandish nature certainly would be new to the league, not to mention his year-round playoff beard. 

17. James Harrison (Pittsburgh Steelers)

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    NHL Advantage: Size and Strength 

    Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy knows how hard Harrison hits better than anyone thus far, seeing as how Harrison was suspended one game for knocking McCoy into the next week.

    I imagine Harrison's hunger for dishing out pain would transfer very well into the likeness of the NHL... 

16. Darren Sproles (New Orleans Saints)

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    NHL Advantage: Speed

    Sproles is one of the most prolific special teams returners in the NFL—a unique speed that would surely impress come All-Star Weekend... 

15. Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

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    NHL Advantage: Fancy Footwork

    This fabulous footballer has proven to be one of the best in recent history.

    Yet another on the list due to unique agility, it would be incredible to see Messi as a fully developed professional hockey player.

14. Ray Lewis (Baltimore Ravens)

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    NHL Advantage: Power, Competitiveness

    Ray Lewis' incredible 16-year career reinstated the theory that defense wins championships.

    Lewis has been one of the best linebackers in the league in recent history, and bringing that ferocious style to the blue line in the NHL would be truly special.  

    As Marshawn Lynch said, "I'm lookin forward to playin' against RAY RAY...bringin' that Lumber!"

13. Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers)

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    NHL Advantage: Size and Speed

    Going into the 2010 National Championship game, Cam Newton outweighed all but one member of the entire Oregon Ducks defense.

    Along with his ridiculous size, Newton ballparks his 40-yard dash at 4.52 seconds. 

    Could you imagine this 6'5'', 248-pounder in the face-off circle? 

12. Trent Richardson (Alabama Crimson Tide)

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    NHL Advantage: Power and Speed 

    Richardson is a straight beast.

    Backing up Heisman winner Mark Ingram during Richardson's freshman year at Alabama sure proved useful, as Richardson accounted for one-third of Alabama's offense during their national title run this past year. 

    I would not be surprised if Richardson were the strongest 5'1'' man ever. 

    Such strength would be a great addition to any franchise in the NHL

11. Andre Johnson (Houston Texans)

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    NHL Advantage: Size, Strength, Agility

    Johnson is so unique that ESPN's controversial reporter Skip Bayless claims he'd "take Johnson over Jerry Rice."

    Let's just say we disagree there, Skip. 

    However, Johnson's size and strength is extremely impressive, and had he taken the hockey road in his sports career we would be seeing an extremely unique athlete.

10. Mike Vick (Philadelphia Eagles)

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    NHL Advantage: Play-Making

    It doesn't matter if you love animals and he may not—the dude is a spitting image of an athlete

    Perhaps the most evasive quarterback in the NHL, Mike Vick can bring his play-making ability to the ice and create an entire new style of the game. 

9.Usain Bolt (World Record Sprinter)

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    NHL Advantage: Fastest speed in NHL History 

    Let's test those God given legs in some skates. 

8. Troy Polamolu (Pittsburgh Steelers)

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    NHL Advantage: Power

    Polamalu is most known for laying that lumber. However, time and time again he makes the most "heads-up" plays. His mental aspect of his trade is remarkable, and I can only imagine what would happen. 

7. Clay Matthews (Green Bay Packers)

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    NHL Advantage: Speed and Size

    Matthews would be a pure menace to the NHL.

    His ridiculous 6'3'', 255-pound body on skates creates unthinkable images.  

6. Chazz Woodson (Brown Bears)

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    NHL Advantage: Speed and Agility 

    Meet Chazz Woodson

    Chazz is one of the most unique attackmen in the history of lacrosse. 

    Early on, Woodson perfected the "Air Gait" and brought it to field lacrosse for fans to see. 

    Chazz currently shines in the LXM Pro tour after a prolific scoring career in the MLL, playing for a total of five different teams—most recently, the Ohio Machine. 

    He says it best in his New Balance ad. 

5. Patrick Willis (San Francisco 49ers)

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    NHL Advantage: Power, Strength 

    Willis with a stick in his hand would be almost unfair.

    He is also one of the smartest players in the league, creating his own workout plan.   

4. Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers)

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    NHL Advantage: Power 

    "Lob-City" co-founder Blake Griffin would be unreal on the ice.

    His aggressive and powerful offensive style with such incredible size certainly would help promote scoring in the NHL—just ask Kendrick Perkins.

3. Kyle Harrison (Johns Hopkins Blue Jays)

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    NHL Advantage: Five Tool Talent  

    K-18 would have been an exceptional talent on the ice.

    Former JHU standout has recently taken to growing the game as best he can, coaching high school ball, hosting camps and clinics, and even creating his own professional league, LXM Pro

    Harrison had the opportunity to play soccer, basketball or lacrosse at virtually any university following his impressive athletic career in high school, and chose to shine at midfield for the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays.  

2. LeBron James (South Beach)

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    NHL Advantage: Unmatched Dominance  

    LeBron James made an announcer describe his talent: "No regard for human life." He is the closest thing this world has to true athletic perfection. 

    Never gets old...

1. Ndamukong Suh (Detroit Lions)

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    NHL Advantage: Beast Mode

    There has never been a player in the NHL like Ndamukong Suh. Coming in at 6'4'', 307 pounds, big dog could literally run through anyone one the ice. His power and strength would be extremely useful holding the blue line.