The slap shot is an integral element in luring novice hockey fans to the sport and stoking the continued interest of established enthusiasts.
Look no further than the cinema, where there is one series of films entitled none other than Slap Shot and another series, namely the Mighty Ducks trilogy, where one character possesses a trademark slapper that is universally feared.
If nothing else, the makers of those movies deserve a stick salute for recognizing the mesmerizing aspect of a physically and/or statistically damaging slap shot. Besides generating high-priority highlights, they can hold a psychological sway that ultimately wins critical games or at least spawns a reversal or enhancement of momentum.
Whether they have done it once in their careers, once in a while or once on a near-nightly basis, these are the players who have flaunted the 50 most memorable slappers in the NHL. Not to give too much away, they shall be presented in a slightly different A to Z format, the "A" being Al Iafrate and the "Z" being Zdeno Chara.
Iafrate won three of the first five hardest-shot events at the NHL All-Star Superskills, including a 105.2-mph laser that stood as an all-time record for 16 years.
MacInnis’ status as the archetypical slapper of the 1990s earned him a mention in the song “Slapshot Man” by the all-hockey band, The Zambonis.
Washington Capitals fans only wish Ovechkin would dole out a few more of these over the course of a season and get back to the 50-goal range, with power-play strikes in the upper teens or lower 20s as they were in the previous calendar decade.
As he told TSN himself, Bathgate had every intention to settle a score with Canadiens goaltender Jacques Plante. His method was firing his sizzling slapper at Plante’s unshielded face, leaving Plante with a broken nose as a result.
That injury prompted Plante to unveil his new facemask, making him the first modern NHL goaltender to utilize such protection.
Geoffrion’s shot arguably garnered him more notoriety when it missed than when it hit the mesh, which was still enough of a common occurrence to garner him Hall of Fame status. The nickname “Boom Boom” stemmed from the sound of his twig launching the puck and, in turn, the disc making swift contact with the dashers.
If there is any regrettable shortcoming in Hull’s career that the hockey universe can agree upon, it was the lack of a hardest shot skills competition. His Hockey Hall of Fame biography holds that his slapper was once recorded at 120 miles per hour.
Salming’s career data makes an overwhelming case for him as the Toronto Maple Leafs’ best all-time all-around defenseman. And he didn’t tally 148 goals in 1,099 appearances without more than a smattering of slappers to the top shelf.
Park’s straightaway point blast earned extra style points when he managed to send the puck on a path that eluded a forest of sprawling Sabres.
In a rare instance of an offspring matching a parent’s celestial achievement, the younger Hull ultimately eclipsed his father, Bobby, in the career-goal department, with countless entries coming in the same fashion from the same distant locations.
When Neely went on a 50-goal, 44-game hot streak, at least 10 percent of his releases were genuinely scorching slappers while still another handful were rapid one-timers.
Before he was a magnet for derision as he dragged out his playing career to the age of 48, Chelios was a hometown hero for the Chicago Blackhawks with the power to knock a camera out of commission.
With 157 career goals, many of them executed with an old-fashioned slapper from his point perch, Pronger is second on the NHL’s all-time leaderboard among active blueliners.
While he has never tallied more than 14 of those goals in a single season, the towering Flyer captain’s shot is inherently imposing on its own. In addition, it had a role in the career-high 14 goals and 48 assists (some surely the result of teammates picking up his fugitive rebounds) that got him the 1999-2000 Hart Trophy.
Brotherly competition between Dennis and Bobby Hull paid dividends for the Blackhawks when the two teamed up in Chicago for nearly a decade. While his output was never quite as quantitative, Dennis’ delivery of a slap shot was arguably as qualitative as his brother’s or, later, his nephew’s.
Within the last two seasons, Seidenberg has leveled a homeward-bound puck from center ice not once, but twice.
Everything about this blast—from its distance, to its wide-angle origin, to its elevation, to the fact that it beat Jonathan Quick—made it one of the most impressive of the 2012 playoffs.
During his Calgary days, Phaneuf cracked two panes of glass in a single period during a game versus the Minnesota Wild.
It was Howe’s shot that grounded Bobby Baun of the Maple Leafs in Game 6 of the 1964 Stanley Cup Final, although that broken leg did not prevent Baun from returning to score the overtime clincher that forced Game 7.
With a strolling slapper as historic as it is eye-catching, Lafleur delivered what was most likely his definitive goal in the deciding game of the 1979 semifinals versus rival Boston.
Of all of Zetterberg’s many one-time conversions, this one from last year stands out for its bar-down connection and the fact that it was hardly done traveling upon crossing the goal line.
Kovalchuk’s power-play point propeller was an integral tool in the New Jersey Devils’ run to the last year’s Stanley Cup Final.
Hardly a fraction of a second passed before the officials notice the fracture sustained by the glass courtesy of Johnson’s shot from the straightaway point.
There are not many other ways to quintessentially put the “power” in “power forward” or for a captain to inspire his club by example.
Even at 35, with likely little more than half a decade of hockey left in him, Iginla continues to do just this on a routine basis through one-timers like this.
Another valiant age-defying scorer serves up another savory hockey player’s home run in a highlight from the most recent NHL season.
When he was still active, Savard was fostering a penchant for slugging home delayed-penalty overtime winners in the playoffs.
If Shibicky introduced the slap shot before it was trendy and Hull brought in into full bloom, then in between, Richard made use of it to take advantage of his physical prowess and get himself and his team ahead of the competition.
Explains a lot, between his scoring milestones, the Canadiens’ Stanley Cup dynasties and the fact that the NHL’s leading goal-scorer prize is named after the Rocket.
Two-plus decades after Richard, Bossy had his turn going on historic scoring rampages. As it happened, he would break Richard’s record for the fastest 50-goal drive in a single NHL season.
Once again, a precision slapper was playing a part in the composition of a legendary log.
Gartner’s jersey was retired by the Washington Capitals during the 2008-09 season, eliciting widespread reminiscence of a shot that was as flustering as his speed.
Coffey is tied for second on the list that is topped by the aforementioned Lidstrom and second all time among defensive goal scorers in the regular season.
His silver medal on both charts is owed in part to plays like the one above.
Between Zamboni shifts, Kariya rebounded from a frightful hit via a future Hall of Fame blueliner and scorched a future Hall of Fame goaltender during the sixth game of the 2003 Stanley Cup Final.
The robust Bruins captain used his point-based torpedo to set a still-standing NHL record of 410 career goals by a defenseman.
Well, at least most of them came from the point. The one in the video above originated at a much more jaw-dropping location, one that even bests the aforementioned Morris and Seidenberg.
Fedorov’s prolific slapper (and other varieties of shots) inspired Nike’s memorable out-of-work goalie ad campaign.
Souray sent his 100th goal in and out on a skipping-stone ride, lending some solid visual punctuation to the perilous point patroller’s milestone.
In 2010-11, Weber peaked at 104.8 miles per hour in the hardest shot contest over All-Star weekend.
The Hall of Fame Chicago Blackhawk is credited with inventing the curved stick, affectionately known as the “banana blade.” As the story goes, Mikita’s twig was accidentally caught in a door, stoking an irritated spirit in him and prompting him to fire a head-turning slapper.
Although it is still relatively rare today in the shootout era, Larmer looked especially daring in the mid-1990s when he wound up for a slapper amidst his stride down the center alley for a penalty shot.
It paid off, though.
One of today’s one-timer connoisseurs, Stamkos slugged his way to 60 goals at the barely ripe age of 22 this past season.
Few homeward-bound shots demonstrate more impressive precision than a slapper teed up from the outer hash mark.
The aforementioned Lidstrom’s predecessor as Detroit’s captain was himself a highlight reel clutch artist, as evidenced by this Game 7 overtime strike versus St. Louis in 1996.
In a historic five-goal performance on Dec. 30, 1981, Gretzky wound up for a textbook slapper on three of his tallies. That meant using the powerful distant drive for 60 percent of his goals and for 75 percent of those coming at the expense of Flyers netminder Pete Peeters.
Chara has revised the record for the NHL’s hardest shot three times in as many skills competitions, having slugged a 105.4-mph slapper in 2009, eclipsed that at 105.9 in 2011 and trumped both with a 108.8-mph release this past year.