I consider myself a student of the game of hockey. I learn something new about it every day whether it be through the hockey history books I read, the websites I go to, or the discussions that I have with other people.
I like to think that I am very knowledgeable about the game and I have decided to put my knowledge to the test. Over the course of the next month or two, I am going to rank the top 100 players in hockey history.
It will be very challenging and a lot of research will be done in order to get the best rankings possible. This list will include more then just NHL players, as I will be also focusing on international, pre-NHL, and WHA stars.
I hope this will spark a lot of discussion amongst the hockey experts at this wonderful site. Any opinions are welcome, don't be afraid to speak up!
I am already deep into my list and to start it off I give you my top ten players in hockey history.
Career Regular Season Stats: 389-223-95, 81 SO, 2.20 GAA
Career Play-off Stats: 65-49, 14 SO, 2.01 GAA
Teams: Chicago Black Hawks (1990-1992), Buffalo Sabres (1992-2001), Detroit Red Wings (2001-2004, 2006-2008), Ottawa Senators (2005-2006)
WJC-A All-Star Team (1983)
Named Best Goaltender at WJC-A (1983)
Czechoslovakian Goaltender of the Year (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990)
Czechoslovakian Player of the Year (1987, 1989, 1990)
WEC-A All-Star Team (1987, 1989, 1990)
Named Best Goaltender at WEC-A (1987, 1989)
Czechoslovakian First All-Star Team (1988, 1989, 1990)
IHL First All-Star Team (1991)
NHL All-Rookie Team (1992)
NHL First All-Star Team (1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001 )
William M. Jennings Trophy (1994) (shared with Grant Fuhr)
Vezina Trophy (1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001)
Lester B. Pearson Award (1997, 1998)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1997, 1998)
William M. Jennings Trophy (2001)
William M. Jennings Trophy (2008) (shared with Chris Osgood) Named Best Goaltender at Olympic Games (1998) Played in NHL All-Star Game (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002)
If Dominik Hasek had started his NHL career before the age of 25 (as a back-up), many more people would know him for what he truly is, the best goaltender in National Hockey League History.
Despite not being a starting goalie until the age of 27, Hasek has an incredible 389 wins, six Vezina Trophies, and two Hart Trophies. He was the first goalie to win the Hart since Jaqcues Plante.
Hasek is best known for carrying the Buffalo Sabres on his back, especially in 1999 when he lead them all the way to game six of the finals, a place that Buffalo had no business being in. Hasek would win two cups in his career, one as a starter in 2002.
Hasek is also well known for the unique style he brought to the NHL. He flopped around, flailing his arms and legs in hopes that the puck would hit his body somewhere. He is the best goalie to ever play in the NHL.
Career Regular Season Stats: 1113 GP 88 G 452 A 540 P
Career Play-off Stats: 137 GP 8 G 64 A P 72
Teams: Montreal Canadiens (1947-1961), New York Rangers (1961-1964), Detroit Red Wings (1966), St. Louis Blues (1967-1969)
First All-Star Team Defense (1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962)
James Norris Memorial Trophy (1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962)
Second All-Star Team Defense (1959)
Harvey is the third member of the storied Montreal Canadiens 1950's dynasty to make my top ten. He was the leader on the back end and he could control the game when the puck was on his stick.
His dramatic rushes and superior defensive work allowed him to dominate the game. He quarterbacked the power play, set the tempo for the transitional game and the counterattack, defended tenaciously, blocked shots and intimidated the opposition by merely stepping on the ice.
As much as any skater before or since, he was the complete player who meant everything to his team.
Career Regular Season Stats: 550 GP 105 G 179 A P 284
Career Play-off Stats: 55 GP 7 G 12 A 19 P
Teams: Boston Bruins (1926-1940)
First All-Star Team Defense (1931, 1932, 1933, 1935, 1936, 1938, 1939)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1933, 1935, 1936, 1938)
Lester Patrick Trophy (1970)
Second All-Star Team Defense (1934)
Shore is likely the toughest player to ever play in the NHL. He stopped at nothing to win and was dirty as they came. He was the first defensemen to win the Hart Trophy and he won four of them!
His toughness and hard defense made it hard to score whenever he was on the ice and he was feared by many players. What many people don't know is that Shore was also a very good rusher when taking the puck up the ice.
Career Regular Season Stats: 1125 GP 507 G 712 A 1219 P
Career Play-off Stats: 162 GP 79 G 97 A 176 P
Teams: Montreal Canadiens (1950-1971)
Art Ross Trophy (1956)
Conn Smythe Trophy (1965)
First All-Star Team Centre (1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1956, 1964)
Second All-Star Team Centre (1958, 1964, 1966, 1969)
Beliveau was a strong, smooth skater and hard to slow down. He was the captain of the Montreal Canadiens for ten amazing years and won ten Stanley Cup Championships with the team.
Beliveau was also one of the classiest players on and off the ice. He is the all time leading scorer for Stanley Cup final games and he mentored the young players and helped them with their game.
Career Regular Season Stats: 1063 GP 610 G 560 A 1170 P
Career Play-off Stats: 119 GP 62 G 67 A 129 P
Teams: Chicago Black Hawks (1957-1972), Winnipeg Jets (WHA, 1972-1980), Hartford Whalers (1980)
Art Ross Trophy (1960, 1962, 1966)
First All-Star Team Left Wing (1960, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1965, 1966)
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (1965)
Lester Patrick Trophy (1969)
Second All-Star Team Left Wing (1963, 1971)
Bobby "the Golden Jet" Hull is known for many things: His speed, his booming shot and for being one of the first players to use a banana blade. He is also known for becoming the first millionaire hockey player after signing with the Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association.
Along with Richard, Hull is considered one of the best goal scorers to have ever graced the ice. His shot was deadly and literally made most goalies cower when he streaked up the ice.
Along with Stan Mikita, Hull brought the Stanley Cup to Chicago in 1961, there last ever championship win. Many believe that if Hull had stayed in the NHL he could have scored more then 800 goals.
Career Regular Season Stats: 978 GP 544 G 421 A 965 P
Career Play-off Stats: 133 GP 82 G 44 A 126 P
Teams: Montreal Canadiens (1942-1960)
First All-Star Team Right Wing (1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1955, 1956)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1947)
Second All-Star Team Right Wing (1944, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1957)
Maurice Richard was nicknamed the Rocket, and for good reason. His speed and fiery temper gave him that name and he made sure he lived up to it.
Richard is perhaps the best goal scorer in NHL history and also one of the most clutch ones, as his record for most game winners can attest. He was so admired in Montreal that the fans started a riot after he was suspended after hitting a referee in the 1954-55 season.
Richard was the first player to score 50 goals in 50 games and the first to ever score 50 goals in a season in any amount of games. He also became the first player to hit 500 goals in his career.
Career Regular Season Stats: 915 GP 690 G 1033 A 1723 P
Career Play-off Stats: 107 GP 76 G 96 A 172 P
Teams: Pittsburgh Penguins (1984-2006)
Art Ross Trophy (1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997)
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (1993)
Calder Memorial Trophy (1985)
Conn Smythe Trophy (1991, 1992)
First All-Star Team Centre (1988, 1989, 1993, 1996, 1997)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1988, 1993, 1996)
Lester B. Pearson Award (1986, 1988, 1993, 1996)
Second All-Star Team Centre (1986, 1987, 1992, 2001)
Another player that was plagued by injuries throughout his career. Various ailments have hurt Lemieux, including his hip, back, and a bout with cancer. This has not stopped him from having a magnificent career.
Lemieux was much bigger then Gretzky and moved incredibly fast for a big man. His soft hands and incredible skills with the stick allowed him to score nearly 700 goals in just 915 career games.
Lemieux was plagued early in his career by questions of whether he could perform in the crunch time and he proved he was a big time player by leading the Penguins to two Stanley Cups, he won the Conn Smythe trophy both of those years.
Career Regular Season Stats: 1767 GP 801 G 1049 A 1850 P
Career Play-off Stats: 157 GP 68 G 92 A 160 P
Teams: Detroit Red Wings (1946-1971), Houston Aeros (WHA, 1973-1977), Hartford Whalers (WHA and NHL, 1977-1980)
Art Ross Trophy (1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1957, 1963)
First All-Star Team Right Wing (1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1963, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1952, 1953, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1963)
Lester Patrick Trophy (1967)
Second All-Star Team Right Wing (1949, 1950, 1956, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1967)
Gordie Howe was the complete package in his prime. He could score, hit and defend with the best of them. His nickname, Mr. Hockey, says a lot about how people viewed him as. Another nickname he has was elbows, for obvious reasons.
Howe was the driving force on the dominant Detroit Red Wings teams of the 1950`s. He formed the famed production line with Ted Lindsay and Sid Abel. Together, they won three Stanley Cups.
Howe was very consistent as proven by the fact that he was top five in scoring for the first twenty years of his career.
Howe was the third ever player to reach 100-point plateau, Phil Esposito and Bobby Hull did it earlier in the same season. Howe is also the oldest to ever play in a game when he was a regular at the age of 52.
Career Regular Season Stats: 657 GP 270 G 645 A 915 P
Career Play-off Stats: 74 GP 26 G 66 A P 92 P
Teams: Boston Bruins (1966-1976), Chicago Black Hawks (1976-1979)
Art Ross Trophy (1970, 1975)
Calder Memorial Trophy (1967)
Conn Smythe Trophy (1970, 1972)
First All-Star Team Defense (1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1970, 1971, 1972)
James Norris Memorial Trophy (1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975)
Lester B. Pearson Award (1975)
Lester Patrick Trophy (1979)
Lou Marsh Trophy (1971)
Second All-Star Team Defense (1967)
When it comes to Bobby Orr, everyone always asks the same question: How much better would his career have been if he had healthy knees? Well, we will never know, but what he did on one knee for the most of his career is good enough to have him ranked as the second greatest hockey player ever.
He won the Norris trophy for every full season he played, except for his rookie season when he won the Calder trophy. His blazing speed and defensive awareness always made him a threat and there is no doubt that he is the best defensemen ever.
He lead his Boston Bruins to two Stanley Cup championships and made Phil Esposito into a better player. Orr also lead the league in scoring twice, which is unheard of for a defesemen and he nearly reached the 1000 point mark despite only playing in 657 games.
Career Regular Season Stats: 1487 GP, 894 G, 1963 A, 2857 P
Career Play-off Stats: 208 GP, 122 G, 260 A, 382 P
Teams: Edmonton Oilers (1979-1988), Los Angeles Kings (1988-1996), St Louis Blues (1996), New York Rangers (1996-1999)
Ten Art Ross Trophies (1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1994)
Nine Hart Memorial Trophies (1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989)
Five Lester B. Pearson Awards (1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987)
Five Lady Byng Memorial Trophies (1980, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1999)
Two Conn Smythe Trophies (1985, 1988)
One Lester Patrick Trophy (1994)
Four Stanley Cup Championships (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988)
Hard to argue with naming the "great one" the best player of all time. The accolades and stats speak for themselves. For instance, Gretzky has more career assists then any other player has points!
Eight of the top ten spots for highest scoring seasons ever are occupied by Gretzky, including the top four. He is the only player to reach 200 points or more (four times) and his 92 goals are also a record for most in a season.
Gretzky is also a proven winner, as his four Stanley Cup championships prove. He was the leader of the Edmonton Oilers and made Jari Kurri one of the most feared snipers in the league.
All in all, Gretzky is undoubtedly the best player to ever play in the NHL, no one else is even close to having the offensive ability that Gretzky possessed.