The NHL has a lot of star players, the guys who make us jump out of our seats to watch them make memorable plays and magic moments.
Here is a look at 10 of the league's best players and three of the best moments from their careers.
Most of these are NHL moments, but a few took place at the Olympics. I measured these moments as milestones, key plays or significant plays that made NHL history.
Feel free to chime in if you feel there are better moments that I may have overlooked, and enjoy this trip down memory lane for some of hockey's greatest players.
Chicago's Patrick Kane is off to a red-hot start this season—which appears to be his best since the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010.
Here is a look at Kane's top three moments:
3) In 2008, he won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie. Kane scored 21 goals and 72 points as a rookie to claim the award.
2) Hat tricks are always sweet, but playoff hat tricks are even more memorable. On May 11, 2009, Kane notched three goals in a postseason game against the Canucks.
1) On June 9, 2010, Kane scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in Philadelphia. The goal came in overtime off of the Flyers' Michael Leighton. Kane became the youngest player to score a Cup-clinching overtime goal, surpassing Bobby Orr's winner back in 1970.
Zdeno Chara is the tallest player ever to suit up in an NHL game and is a future Hall of Famer. Chara uses his size to his advantage in all three zones and has a good skill set to go with his intimidating size.
Here is a look at Chara's top three moments:
3) At the 2012 All-Star Skills Competition, Chara broke his own all-time record for hardest shot with a slap shot clocked at 108.8 mph.
2) In 2008-09, Chara scored 19 goals and 50 points to win the 2009 Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman.
1) In 2011, Chara became the first captain born in a formerly Communist country to captain a team to a Stanley Cup championship. The Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks in seven games to win their first title since 1972.
Goalie Carey Price is clearly the best player on the present-day Montreal Canadiens. The Habs signed Price to a lengthy contract extension last year and plan to rebuild their roster around him. While Montreal hasn't produced a lot of goals in recent seasons, at least Price gave them a chance to win nearly every night with his consistent goaltending.
Here is a look at Price's top three moments:
3) Price was named the starter for the Eastern Conference at the 2009 All-Star Game, played in Montreal.
2) On October 26, 2011, Price won his 100th NHL game in a 5-1 victory over the Flyers at the Bell Centre.
1) On April 15, 2008, Price helped the Canadiens edge the Boston Bruins 1-0 in an opening-round playoff game. That made Price the first Montreal goalie to record a playoff shutout since Hall of Famer Patrick Roy did it back in 1986.
Alex Ovechkin is still recognized as one of the most talented players in the NHL despite his diminished output the past two-plus seasons. Regardless of his "off" year in 2011-12, "The Great Eight" was still fifth in the NHL in goals scored with 38.
Here is a look at Ovechkin's three greatest moments:
3) On January 13, 2006, Ovechkin registered his first career NHL hat trick. It came against goalie J.S. Giguere of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Ovechkin scored all three goals in a 3-2 overtime win for Washington.
2) In the magic season of 2007-08, Ovechkin scored a career-high 65 goals and 112 points. That year, he won both the Rocket Richard Trophy for leading the league in goals and the Art Ross Trophy as the league's MVP.
1) On April 9, 2010, Ovechkin scored his 50th goal of the season in a game against the Atlanta Thrashers. It was the fourth time Ovechkin scored 50 or more in the season and the third season in a row.
Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk is considered one of the game's best all-around talents. The Russian-born winger is solid in all three zones of the ice and displays rare talent both when he has the puck and when he has to play without it.
Here is a look at Datsyuk's three greatest moments:
3) In 2009, Datsyuk won his fourth consecutive Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly play. The season before, he became the first player to win three straight in more than 70 years. He finished 2009 with a career-high 32 goals and 97 points.
2) On May 12, 2008, Datsyuk scored a playoff hat trick against the Dallas Stars. His three goals came off Marty Turco and gave Detroit a 3-0 series lead over Dallas in their Western Conference Final series. The Wings went on to win the series and the Stanley Cup.
1) In 2008, Datsyuk won his second Stanley Cup championship as a member of the Red Wings. He recorded two assists in the Cup-clinching game.
Martin St. Louis is a classic late bloomer. He was never drafted—probably because he stands only 5'8"—but St. Louis managed to become one of the league's best passers by using his vision and hockey sense.
Here are Martin St. Louis' top three moments:
3) St. Louis proved he had come a long way when he won the Art Ross Trophy in 2004 for leading the league in points. He finished the year with 38 goals and 94 points and led the league with a plus-38 rating.
2) In 2006-07, St. Louis topped the 100-point mark for the first time in his career. He finished the season with a career-best 43 goals and 102 points.
1) St. Louis scored the game-winning overtime goal in Game 6 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final against the Calgary Flames. The Lighting went on to win the series in seven games and capture their first Stanley Cup championship.
Martin Brodeur is arguably the best goalie in NHL history. He certainly has the numbers to back up that contention. Brodeur has been a model of consistency since his first full season in the league back in 1993-94. He is the league's all-time leader in wins and shutouts and has won three Stanley Cups.
Here are Brodeur's three greatest moments:
3) Brodeur leads the Devils to their first Stanley Cup win in 1995. The Devils swept the highly favored Red Wings that year. Brodeur had an impressive 1.67 GAA and three shutouts in the playoffs that season to go along with a 0.927 save percentage.
2) Brodeur led Canada to the gold medal at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. Curtis Joseph was originally named the starter, but Brodeur took over in the second game of the tournament and never looked back.
1) Brodeur passed Hall of Famer Patrick Roy by recording his 552nd career win, the most in NHL history. The record-setting win came in a 3-2 win over the Blackhawks in 2009 to pass Patrick Roy. Joel Quenneville, the losing coach on that night, had high praise for Brodeur:
He is a special goalie. You look at the consistency, the volumes of games he can play and his consistency in the net. They changed the rules because of the way he handled the puck. He's amazing. Not many goalies have that style and he keeps getting better and better and better. At this stage of his career, he looks as good as ever.
Sidney Crosby was the highest rated prospect to come out of the NHL Draft since Mario Lemieux. Expectations were high for "Sid the Kid," and he didn't disappoint. Crosby is only 25, and he already has an impressive NHL resume.
Here is a look at Crosby's top three moments so far:
3) Crosby scored his first NHL goal on October 8, 2005, in a game against the Boston Bruins. As a foreshadowing of things to come, Crosby also picked up two assists in the game.
2) The 2010 Olympic gold-medal game between Canada and the United States was a true classic. The USA tied the game in the final minute of regulation, and Team Canada was in danger of not winning the gold in their sport on their home ice. It was Crosby to the rescue. Sid scored the gold medal-winning goal at 7:40 of overtime.
1) Crosby led the Penguins to their third Stanley Cup win in 2009, edging out the Red Wings in seven games. The Wings had defeated the Penguins in the Finals the previous season. Crosby became the youngest player ever to serve as captain of a Stanley Cup-winning club. He had 31 points in 23 playoff games that season.
Steven Stamkos is one of the most dangerous goal scorers in the NHL today. The 23-year-old Markham, Ontario, native has only played in four complete NHL seasons and already has two Rocket Richard Trophies as the league's top goal scorer.
Here are Stamkos' top three moments:
3) Stamkos recorded his first career NHL hat trick on February 17, 2009 against the Chicago Blackhawks. Unfortunately, the Bolts lost the game 5-3 after holding a 3-1 lead. Stamkos recorded a natural hat trick in the game.
2) In the final minute of the final game of the 2009-10 season, Stamkos scored an empty net goal to tie Sidney Crosby for the league lead in goals and the Rocket Richard Trophy. Stamkos finished the season with 51 goals and 95 points.
1) Stamkos finished the season in dramatic fashion again in 2011-12. On the final day of the regular season, the Tampa Bay sniper scored his 60th goal of the season, becoming only the 20th player in NHL history to reach that mark. No player came within 10 goals of Stamkos that season as he won his second Rocket Richard Trophy.
While Sidney Crosby gets more attention from the media, many people feel Evgeni Malkin is the best player in hockey today. The talented Russian has great size and skills that force opposing defensemen and goalies to take notice.
Here is a look at Evgeni Malkin's top three moments:
3) Malkin got his NHL career off to a fast start by scoring a goal in each of his first six NHL games. No player had done that since 1917-18 when Joe Malone scored in 14 straight games in the NHL's inaugural season.
2) In 2011-12, Malkin registered his first 50-goal season and won his first Hart Trophy as the league's MVP. He finished the season with 50 goals and 109 points and won his second Art Ross Trophy as the league's top point getter.
1) In 2009, Malkin helped lead the Penguins to a Stanley Cup championship. Malkin led the Penguins in scoring during both the regular season and the playoffs. He also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.