15 Most Feared Slap-Shot Artists in the NHL

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2013

15 Most Feared Slap-Shot Artists in the NHL

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    It has been one of the most feared weapons in the NHL since the days of Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion, who arguably invented the shot while playing for the Montreal Canadiens in the 1950s.

    When a player loads up for a huge slap shot in the NHL, it sends a message.

    Obviously, the player who is firing the puck would like to see it end up in the back of the net. However, it doesn't have to result in a goal in order to be effective. A hard slap shot can lead to rebounds and deflection opportunities, and it can intimidate opposing players in general.

    When it's the opposing goaltender who is intimidated, that's a big win for the the shooter and his team.

    Here's a look at 15 players who possess the most feared slap shots in the NHL.

Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

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    Zdeno Chara puts on a show almost every year during the All-Star skills competition.

    Chara winds up and delivers the hardest slap shot in the game. At the last 2012 event, Chara's bomb reached 108.8 miles per hour.

    For Chara to reach that speed in a game, he would have to walk in from the point with a clear lane and fire away with a clear conscience.

    He almost never does.

    However, even when he takes a little bit off of his shot, opposing goaltenders have to realize they are lining up to stop the most vicious shot the game has ever seen.

Shea Weber, Nashville Predators

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    If you wanted to go by the results of the hardest-shot skills competition, Shea Weber regularly finishes second to Zdeno Chara.

    In the most recent skills competition in 2012, Weber fired his rocket at 106.0 MPH. That number was harder than any other player in the league, except Chara.

    But in game competition, Weber may not have to take a back seat to anyone.

    He seems to get his shot away quicker than Chara, and he also fires it with a bit more frequency.

    While Weber has just three goals so far in the 2013 season, he has let his shot go 56 times.

Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    It's hard to find anything that Evgeni Malkin does not do at a stellar level.

    He has the ability to score with his deft moves, his wrist shot, his backhander, off deflections or his snap shot.

    However, don't think for a moment that Malkin does not have a booming cannon of a slap shot.

    One characteristic that makes his slap shot so valuable is his accuracy. In the video above, Malkin takes a breakaway pass, and instead of using his many moves to undress the goaltender, he takes a few steps, sees the goaltender's positioning and then winds up for a slap shot that is placed perfectly inside the post.

Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

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    Less than two weeks ago, it seemed as if Alex Ovechkin had lost much of his status and standing in the hockey world.

    Not only was he having a hard time putting the puck in the net, but the Washington Capitals were at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.

    The Caps are still near the bottom, but they have won five of their last 10 games. Ovechkin has also started to hit his stride and now has eight goals and 14 points in the Caps' first 17 games.

    Ovechkin wants nothing more than to put all his weight behind his explosive slap shot. In the video above, Ovechkin takes a drop pass and holds nothing back as he pounds the puck and the back of the net bulges.

Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Steven Stamkos has become the game's premier sniper.

    Stamkos has scored 50 goals or more twice in his career, including 60 goals in 2011-12.

    Stamkos has an array of shot,s and his wrist shot is probably his best weapon.

    However, when Stamkos winds up and blasts the puck in the net, it is a fearsome sight.

    Stamkos does not match Zdeno Chara in size or strength, but he has perhaps the game's most perfectly coordinated shot.

    In the video above, he exceeds the 104 MPH mark with his slap shot.

Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils

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    Ilya Kovalchuk's slap shot is one of the most devastating weapons in the game.

    Most players seem to be effective at creating a legitimate scoring opportunity when they have the chance to blast the puck about 25 feet from the goal.

    In the video above, Kovalchuk's powerful shot is seen finding the back of the net from 35-to-40 feet out.

    Kovalchuk takes a powerful windup, but not much of a follow through after making contact. His "heavy" shot often finds its way into the net even if a goalie can get a piece of it, because he has so much momentum behind it.

Sheldon Souray, Anaheim Ducks

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    Sheldon Souray has been one of the top bombers in the NHL since he started off as a rookie with the New Jersey Devils in 1997-98.

    However, he really came into his own with the Montreal Canadiens in 2003-04, when he blasted home 15 goals. Two years later he reached the 26-goal mark.

    Souray is one of the strongest men in the league at 6'4" and 237 pounds. He creates tremendous leverage when he winds up and connects full force, and his shot is quite dangerous for anyone who has the nerve to try and block it.

Mike Green, Washington Capitals

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    Mike Green had a dream season in 2008-09, when he scored 31 goals from his position on the blue line.

    Green is a tremendous offensive force who finished that season with 73 points and a plus-24 rating.

    Green has a number of excellent offensive weapons, including his hard and accurate slap shot.

    Josh Gorges of the Montreal Canadiens attempted to block Green's shot in 2010, and the blast hit him in the head.

    In the video above, the power of the shot whips Gorges' head back as if he was an accident victim. Luckily, he survived and his career continued, but he took a huge shot when he blocked Green's shot with his head.

Sami Salo, Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Sami Salo has one of the most underrated shots in the league.

    While he does not create the leverage of Zdeno Chara, Shea Weber or Sheldon Souray from the blue line, Salo gets his powerful shot away quickly and accurately.

    In the compilation of Salo slap shots in the above video, notice how quickly the shot rises and ends up just under the crossbar so often. That makes it a very dangerous shot.

    Salo's shot often creates rebounds and deflection opportunities. After playing the last nine seasons in Vancouver, Salo signed a free-agent contract with the Lightning last summer.

Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames

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    Jarome Iginla is simply a professional goal scorer.

    He has scored 30 or more goals in each of the last 11 seasons and has twice scored 50 or more goals.

    Iginla has scored 519 goals in his career. He has done it with a vicious wrist shot, his toughness around the net which allows him to get rebounds and deflections, and also his ability to whip the shot into the upper corner.

    However, when Iginla wants to blast his slap shot, it can be a devastating weapon. He gets it away quickly and can label it into the corner with accuracy.

    In the video above, he finds the open spot between the circles and gets the shot away in a heartbeat.

Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa Senators

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    The captain of the Ottawa Senators may have reached his 40th birthday, but he can still fire the puck.

    Daniel Alfredsson has a game-changing slap shot.

    In the video above, Alfredsson throws everything he has into his slap shot, blasting it by goalie Dwayne Roloson of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2011.

    Alfredsson's slap shot was timed at 101.3 MPH at the 2012 skills competition.

Dion Phaneuf, Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Dion Phaneuf has one of the most powerful and violent slap shots in the NHL.

    In the video above, Phaneuf gets the puck as he is leaving the defensive zone and quickly gets up to full speed. Just as he crosses the blue line, Phaneuf winds up and blasts his slap shot past Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres.

    In the video, Miller has a clear view of the shot, but he is powerless to stop it because it simply has too much velocity on it.

    Phaneuf's powerful shot has broken the plexiglass in several NHL arenas.

James Neal, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    James Neal has become one of the most dangerous scorers in the NHL.

    Neal scored 40 goals in his first full season with the Pittsburgh Penguins last year. Neal has a superb wrist shot that he can put under the bar, and he excels at taking quick passes and firing hard shots quickly.

    In the video above, he fires a remarkably hard slap shot at Ryan Miller, who comes up with a remarkable save.

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Sidney Crosby appears to be on his way to reclaiming his status as the best player in the NHL.

    After two years that were ripped apart by concussion-related problems, Crosby is healthy again and a dynamic offensive weapon.

    Like his teammate Evgeni Malkin, there's nothing that Crosby can't do as an offensive player. That includes firing one of the most effective slap shots in the league.

    Crosby is not going to rocket the puck like Zdeno Chara or Shea Weber, but he gets it away with such excellent timing, balance and accuracy that it allows him to score key goals from long distance.

    Crosby gets remarkable velocity on his shot for a player who checks in at 5'11" and 200 pounds.

Jason Spezza, Ottawa Senators

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    Jason Spezza is on the injured list as a result of back surgery, but when he is healthy he has one of the most dangerous slap shots in the league.

    In the video above, he rips an explosive shot that pops the water bottle on the top of the net. He also does it from a dead stop, as he takes a pass while standing still, takes two steps to create momentum and lets go of his rocket.

    In the 2012 skills competition, Spezza ripped a 100.5 MPH slapshot.