Each NHL Team's Most Clutch Player

Jeff LangridgeCorrespondent IIIApril 16, 2012

Each NHL Team's Most Clutch Player

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    "Here's a shot. Henderson made a wild stab for it and fell... Here's another shot. Right in front. They score! Henderson has scored for Canada!"- Foster Hewitt

    "Tavares, backhand toward the goal. Loose puck. Eberle scores! Tie game!"- Gord Miller

    "On the ice again with Iginla... Iginla, Crosby scores! Sidney Crosby! The Golden Goal!"- Chris Cuthbert

    Three famous calls of goals that came in the some of the most important games that have been played. The clutch moments of a game, when a team is either tied or down by a goal, are when the best players show up when they are most needed.

    While the examples shown above are of the international game, one thing is common, all of the players came from the NHL and they all can bring that timing to the NHL.

    Here is the biggest clutch player on each NHL team.

Anaheim: Teemu Selanne

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 106

    Of Teemu Selanne's 106 game-winning goals, 73 of them have come when in a Anaheim Ducks uniform. While Corey Perry has definitely made strides to becoming a great player in the clutch, as long as Selanne is a member of the Ducks he will be the player that they will be counting on in the closing moments of any game.

Boston: Brian Rolston

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 72

    The Boston Bruins have a lot of weapons that could be used in the closing moments of a game, but none are better than a player that the Boston Bruins picked up at the trade deadline in Brian Rolston. While he is far from the offensive threat he once was, Rolston has shown that he can score the big goal when needed and that will be put to use in these playoffs.

Buffalo: Thomas Vanek

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 39

    The Buffalo Sabres made a lot of moves to improve offensively last offseason, but their primary offensive option will still be Thomas Vanek. Since his sophomore season, Vanek has never had less than five game-winning goals in a year and has had as many as nine. The year he had the nine game-winning goals, the Buffalo Sabres won a total of 39 games, meaning he personally delivered the Sabres a quarter of their wins.

Calgary: Jarome Iginla

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 81

    Jarome Iginla is third among active players in terms of game-winning goals, only behind Teemu Selanne and another player that will be revealed later on in the list. Iginla has brought the Flames a lot of victories, but they have been unable to have the success that Iginla would bring to a better team.

Carolina: Eric Staal

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 39

    Eric Staal had his lowest goal total since his rookie season and that led to him having only three game-winning goals this past season. If the Carolina Hurricanes can rebound next year, expect Staal to regain his scoring ability en masse.

Chicago: Marian Hossa

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 64

    Marian Hossa has proven his worth in overtime goals, giving his team victory after victory. After being stuck on two teams that didn't have much success in Ottawa and Atlanta, Hossa has been been a regular visitor to the late rounds of the playoffs in the past few seasons in Pittsburgh, Detroit and Chicago. His knack for scoring the big goal has certainly helped.

Colorado: Milan Hejduk

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 59

    Milan Hejduk might not be on this list for much longer if he chooses to retire during the offseason, but for now he's still an active player, and therefore, on the list. He might have been in the background when superstars such as Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg were still playing, but now he is the leader of the team and the new generation of Avalanche.

Columbus: Rick Nash

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 44

    When it comes to offensive totals, Rick Nash is usually going to be on this spot when it comes to slide shows on Bleacher Report. That's what happens when you're the only true superstar a team has ever had.

Dallas: Brenden Morrow

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 42

    One of the most underrated captains in the league, Brenden Morrow has been hiding in the shadows of Dallas for his entire career. As a member of the 2010 Canadian team that won the gold medal, his talent is undeniable. He can change the complexion of a game at any moment, especially when they need it most.

Detroit: Henrik Zetterberg

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 50

    You could say almost any player on the Detroit Red Wings is a clutch player, as most of them have a lot of talent. I'm going with the player that has the most game-winning goals in Henrik Zetterberg, although he has lots of help.

Edmonton: Ryan Smyth

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 55

    The Edmonton Oilers have an amazing core that will eventually become the envy of the National Hockey League, starting with Jordan Eberle. The young Eberle has proven himself on the international stage and has brought that talent to the Oilers. That being said, their veteran leader Ryan Smyth is still the man the Oilers need on the ice when they need to win.

Florida: Stephen Weiss

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 23

    With the big changes happening in the Sunshine State, it's no surprise that the lifelong Panther Stephen Weiss is Florida's rep on this list. If the Panthers are to have success in the playoffs, Weiss will be very important to their run.

Los Angeles: Simon Gagne

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 52

    With the influx of talent in Los Angeles over the last season, one of the less celebrated acquisitions was Simon Gagne. Although he has been injured since Boxing Day, Gagne is one of the more underrated goal scorers in the NHL and the Kings could have used him in their late-season push.

Minnesota: Dany Heatley

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 61

    For a player that has been surrounded by so much controversy in his career, the way Dany Heatley has succeeded under pressure like he has is quite impressive. Bouncing around between four teams hasn't stopped Heatley either, so if he ever goes to another organization, they shouldn't be afraid to go after him.

Montreal: Erik Cole

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 41

    Erik Cole was brought in to Montreal last offseason to help the offense. While the Canadiens were horrible as a team this season, Cole was one of the bright spots, amassing a 61-point season. In 31 of Montreal's wins, Cole had the winning goal. They'll be hoping for more of that next season.

Nashville: Mike Fisher

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 39

    Since being traded to Nashville last season, Mike Fisher has been one of the integral members of the Predators. While he is not a superstar-level talent, he is one of the best second-liners in the league and is a great help to a Predators team poised to make an impact in the playoffs.

New Jersey: Patrik Elias

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 78

    On a team with Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise, Patrick Elias still comes out with this spot. The grizzled veteran of the New Jersey Devils, Elias knows what it takes to be successful and will be vital to any success the Devils have. If he can score the big goals he's known for, New Jersey will be a very dangerous team.

New York Islanders: John Tavares

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 14

    This is the one of only two slides where my choice has less career game-winning goals than another player on his team. In this case, Jay Pandolfo has more game-winning goals than John Tavares.

    In his young career, Tavares is becoming one the higher-echelon players in the NHL. While his total is low now, it will surely will grow as his career goes on.

New York Rangers: Marian Gaborik

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 58

    Marian Gaborik has finally gotten over the injury bug that plagued him his entire tenure with the Minnesota Wild. That has enabled him to realize his full potential. In New York, he is leading the Rangers to their success in the playoffs.

Ottawa: Daniel Alfredsson

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 61

    Once again, it's no surprise that the Ottawa Senators' long-time captain is their leader in game-winning goals. He has done everything for the franchise and he will be a sad day in Canada's capital when he decides to call it a career.

Philadelphia: Jaromir Jagr

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 114

    Here he is. The active leader in game-winning goals. Second only to Phil Esposito in career game-winning goals in the history in the NHL, Jaromir Jagr returned to the NHL and has padded his stats with two more game-winners this season. If he returns next year and scores five more goals, he will pass Esposito. Now there's a legacy you'd like to leave.

Phoenix: Shane Doan

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 51

    Again, a player that has the longest tenure with a team is usually going to have some pretty good offensive totals. That's exactly the case with Shane Doan. The captain of the Phoenix Coyotes has been a good soldier for them throughout their time in the desert, and he has always been relied upon to lead the offense. It's time for him to get something in return for that.

Pittsburgh: Evgeni Malkin

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 34

    Thought it would be Sidney Crosby here, didn't ya? Well, not as long as Evgeni Malkin is in the building. To be fair, it's more than likely because of Crosby's absence this season and last that Malkin has the lead in game-winners.

    It doesn't really matter though. In the closing moments of a game, both of them will be on the ice.

San Jose: Patrick Marleau

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 76

    Another team that you would expect another player in the spot. Joe Thornton could very take this spot by the end of his career, but for now Patrick Marleau still has a lead in game-winners. Even the problems he has had in consistency sometimes in his career, he has still been a very important player for the Sharks.

St. Louis: Jamie Langenbrunner

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 58

    Jamie Langenbrunner was brought into St. Louis to provide leadership. He has done exactly that while giving them some secondary offense to the Blues' young core. As a player that  has won the Stanley Cup and taken many trips deep into the playoffs, he will be counted on for both his leadership and his game-winning ability.

Tampa Bay: Vincent Lecavalier

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 60

    Yeah, I know. Steven Stamkos should be here, but Vinny Lecavalier is no slouch either and he still has enough goal-scoring ability to take this spot.

    That being said, Stamkos could take it as soon as next season.

Toronto: Phil Kessel

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 26

    The second team where I chose a player with less game-winners than one of his teammates, Phil Kessel takes the Leafs' spot over Tim Connolly.

    Quite simply, there is no better goal-scorer on the Leafs than Phil Kessel and he takes this spot based on pure talent alone.

Vancouver: Daniel Sedin

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 60

    This really should say both Daniel and Henrik, because they're never apart on the ice when they're both healthy. Daniel is the better goal-scorer of the two so he gets the edge. The Vancouver Canucks could really use him now.

Washington: Alex Ovechkin

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 55

    Really, is there anyone else that could go here?

Winnipeg: Nik Antropov

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    Career Game-Winning Goals: 30

    While he might have had an off-year this season, Nik Antropov has proven that he can be a very important part of a team's makeup. A big man with a good penchant for offense is something you usually don't see, and the Jets have it for every game. If he regains his form, the Jets' playoff push next year could be successful.