16 NHL Characters That Make Any Team They Play on Better

Tom Urtz Jr.Contributor IMarch 6, 2013

16 NHL Characters That Make Any Team They Play on Better

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    The NHL trade season is quickly approaching, and teams will be looking not only to make moves for depth, but for moves that will bring in players who have the ability to make their team better.

    While players like Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos are elite franchise players, they are not the type of player that would be conceivably available for quite some time.

    There are players who are journeymen, or some who have bounced between a couple of teams during their career who just lead by example who would make any team they are on better.

    Here is a look at 16 NHL characters that make any team they play on better.

Ray Whitney

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    Ray Whitney is a player who has been a member of a few different teams throughout his career, and he is a veteran who makes his team better in many ways

    In addition to being a player with tons of experience and respect from colleagues around the league, Whitney is an underrated offensive player.

    As one of the NHL's elder statesmen in 2011-12 he was among the leaders in scoring, and that is something quite impressive. Although he has had bad injury luck in Dallas, he is still a great guy who makes any team better.

Steve Sullivan

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    Steve Sullivan joined the Phoenix Coyotes this offseason after previously playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators, Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils.

    As a veteran secondary scorer, Sullivan has 10 points in 19 games, and he has been a player who has been used in all situations. No matter what team Sullivan has been on, he has had an impact in a very positive way.

Vinny Prospal

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    Vinny Prospal is one of the NHL's quintessential journeymen as a forward who has suited up for six teams to date, and on each one he brought something to the table.

    Prospal is a great personality to have in the locker room; he can play with virtually anyone and he brings a ton of energy and exuberance.

    At age 38, Prospal celebrates each goal like it is his first, and he continues to be a great teammate and versatile player.

    He is a player who will likely change teams again at the deadline because of his prospective value to contending teams.

Matt Cullen

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    Matt Cullen has suited up for numerous teams throughout his career, including the Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks, New York Rangers, Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators.

    Throughout his career, Cullen has been a solid character who can complement a team in a secondary role, play in multiple situations and can provide leadership.

    He was always a solid top-six forward during his younger years, and as his career has continued, he has transitioned well into a bottom-six role.

Scott Hannan

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    Scott Hannan is a veteran defenseman who has really been a great fit on multiple teams throughout his career.

    He spent a good deal of his career with the San Jose Sharks, but he also made contributions to the Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals and he currently does for the Nashville Predators.

    Hannan is a player who fills a niche role, and his experience and demeanor allows him to really fit in with teams.

Taylor Pyatt

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    Taylor Pyatt is a versatile bottom-six forward who has been a gamer throughout his career. In addition to being able to produce some secondary scoring, Pyatt is a defensively responsible player who can kill penalties and eat up minutes.

    Throughout his career, he has been a fit with the New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, Phoenix Coyotes and currently the New York Rangers.

    Pyatt has traveled around the league a few times, but that is because he has qualities that make him a good fit in the dressing room and on the ice.

Andrew Ladd

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    Andrew Ladd is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Carolina Hurricanes and the Chicago Blackhawks, and he is currently having a great year with the Winnipeg Jets.

    Ladd is starting to emerge as a solid scorer and player as a 27-year-old, and he is a player known for his leadership qualities.

    When you look at what he has accomplished this early in his career, the sky is virtually the limit for Ladd going forward.

Jaromir Jagr

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    Jaromir Jagr was a superstar with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1990s and 2000s, but he really has helped make a difference with the other teams he has been on since then.

    Although he was not a great fit in Washington, the future Hall of Fame winger had a huge impact on the New York Rangers, he did wonders for Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell in Philadelphia and he has been a great addition for the Dallas Stars.

    Jagr has always had an amazing work ethic in practice, and this example has been inspiring for many teammates.

Brad Richards

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    Brad Richards has been a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars and the New York Rangers throughout his career.

    The former Rimouski Oceanic pivot has been a great above-average center throughout his career, and he has a knack of making teammates better.

    Although he has had a slow start to his season, Richards has a proven track record as a playmaker, a power-play specialist and all-around teammate who is great in the dressing room.

Teemu Selanne

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    Teemu Selanne has been a player who will go down as one of the greatest in the history of the game, but many felt his career was over after a down season with the Colorado Avalanche. 

    Then a little thing called the 2004-05 lockout happened and Selanne came back with the then-Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. From that moment onward, Selanne has had an amazing career revival, but he has always had a knack of making his team and his teammates around him better.

    Whether it was his time with the Winnipeg Jets or the San Jose Sharks or now the Ducks, Selanne has been a consummate pro.

Kris Versteeg

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    Kris Versteeg is a 26-year-old forward who has been around the league quite a bit, and he is starting to emerge as a quality scoring forward.

    With the Chicago Blackhawks he won a Stanley Cup as an up-and-coming forward, he was a solid fit in short stints with the Philadelphia Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs and he is currently one of the best players on the Florida Panthers.

    His skill set allows him to fit in with almost any set of linemates, and his best days are only ahead of hm.

Michael Ryder

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    Michael Ryder was recently re-acquired by the Montreal Canadiens, and that should tell you how much value he had as a player to the franchise.

    Ryder started his career with Montreal, signed with the Boston Bruins and won the Stanley Cup and then he moves onto the Dallas Stars.

    The multi-30-goal scorer is a a great teammate who can make teams better, and he has added experience and depth to all teams he has been apart of.

Brad Boyes

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    Brad Boyes has had a resurgent year with the New York Islanders to date, and he has had success with virtually every team he has been apart of. 

    Whether it was the Boston Bruins, the St.Louis Blues, the Buffalo Sabres or his current Islanders, Boyes has been able to be a successful cog that fits in the lineup in multiple roles.

Alex Tanguay

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    Alex Tanguay has been one of the NHL's more underrated secondary scorers throughout his career, and he has been a member of many good teams.

    Tanguay was an important member of the Stanley Cup-winning Colorado Avalanche in 2000-01, he has been a valuable member of the Calgary Flames and he also had solid seasons with the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning.

    No matter where he has been, Tanguay has been a valuable piece who has made his team better.

Daniel Briere

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    Daniel Briere has had a very good career to date, and there is a reason why many teams wished he would be willing to move his NTC at the deadline.

    Briere was drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes where he had a solid six years and then he moved onto the Buffalo Sabres before landing with the Philadelphia Flyers.

    Given his size, Briere shouldn't have been as successful as he was, but he has had quite the impact with multiple teams throughout his career.

Sergei Gonchar

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    Sergei Gonchar is a defenseman who has had quite a career for a few different teams throughout his career, and his presence on the blue line has always been a plus.

    He was once one of the NHL's premier offensive-defensemen and his stints with the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators saw him put up impressive numbers.