The Top 100 Hockey Players of All Time: Nos. 20-11
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 web sites 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!
20. Mike Bossy
Career Regular Season Stats: 752 GP 573 G 553 A 1126 P
Career Playoff Stats: 129 GP 85 G 75 A 160 P
Teams: New York Islanders (1977-1987)
Calder Memorial Trophy (1978)
Conn Smythe Trophy (1982)
First All-Star Team Right Wing (1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986)
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (1983, 1984, 1986)
Second All-Star Team Right Wing (1978, 1979, 1985)
Considered by some to be the best pure sniper the game has ever seen, Bossy never stopped scoring in his 10-year career, one that ended prematurely due to an extremely bad back.
Bossy was the offensive catalyst of the New York Islanders dynasty that won four Stanley Cup championships in the early 1980's. He had nine straight 50-goal seasons to start off his career. His streak was ended in his last season when he managed to score 38 goals.
Bossy's goal scoring did not stop in the regular season as he scored an incredible 17 goals in three straight playoffs. He truly is one of the greatest snipers the game has ever seen.
19. Nicklas Lidstrom
Career Regular Season Stats: 1330 GP 228 G 769 A 996 P
Career Playoff Stats: 235 GP 46 G 119 A 165 P
Teams: Detroit Red Wings (1991-Current)
NHL All-Rookie Team (1992)
NHL First All-Star Team (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008)
James Norris Memorial Trophy (2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008)
Conn Smythe Trophy (2002) Olympic Tournament All-Star Team (2006) Played in NHL All-Star Game (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008)
Lidstrom is the perfect defensemen. He is never caught out of position, plays on both ends of the ice, has a bomb from the point and he can stop any player in the NHL today. He has been a Detroit main-stay and will most definitely have is number retired when all is said and done.
Barely noticed at the beginning of his career, Lidstrom has made up for it by winning six of the last seven Norris trophies, becoming the first European to win the Conn Smythe in 2002, and the first European captain to win the Cup in 2008.
Lidstrom is still going strong and may win the Norris trophy yet again. He came one win away from winning his fifth Stanley Cup championship in 2009.
18. Mark Messier
Career Regular Season Stats: 1756 GP 694 G 1193 A 1887 P
Career Playoff Stats: 236 GP 109 G 186 A 295 P
Teams: Edmonton Oilers (1979-1991), New York Rangers (1991-1997, 2000-2004), Vancouver Canucks (1997-2000)
Conn Smythe Trophy (1984)
Hart Trophy (1990, 1992)
Lester B. Pearson Award (1990, 1992)
NHL First All-Star Team (1982, 1983, 1990, 1992)
NHL Second All-Star Team (1984)
Known for his great leadership, I personally find it quite overrated, but there is no denying the talent and grit he brought to both the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers. As for the Vancouver Canucks, I'm sure most Canucks fans would just like to forget about that era.
Messier played out the first half of his career as the second line left wing on the powerful Edmonton Oiler dynasties and later captained them to their last Stanley Cup in 1990. He blended speed and grit to strike fear into his opponents.
Messier is the only player to captain two different teams to Stanley Cup championships. Unfortunately for him, his career ended with him missing the playoffs for seven consecutive years and with him continuing to play for to long.
17. Guy Lafleur
Career Regular Season Stats: 1126 GP 560 G 793 A 1353 P
Career Playoff Stats:128 GP 58 G 76 A 134 P
Teams: Montreal Canadiens (1971-1985), New York Rangers (1988-1989), Quebec Nordiques (1989-1991)
Art Ross Trophy (1976, 1977, 1978)
Conn Smythe Trophy (1977)
First All-Star Team Right Wing (1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1977, 1978)
Lester B. Pearson Award (1976, 1977, 1978)
The Flower is one of the greatest right wingers to ever play the game and one of the most exciting players of all-time. Lafleur was a legend in the QMJHL and was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens after GM Sam Pollack worked his magic in getting the first overall pick from the California Golden Seals.
Lafleur was the offensive star of the 1970's Canadiens dynasty. He came to the Canadiens just as Beliveau retired and was even offered to wear Beliveau's number four by Jean himself, he turned it down though, realizing that it would just add to the pressure.
16. Stan Mikita
Career Regular Season Stats: 1394 GP 541 G 926 A 1467 P
Career Playoff Stats: 155 GP 59 G 91 A 150 P
Teams: Chicago Black Hawks (1958-1980)
Art Ross Trophy (1964, 1965, 1967, 1968)
First All-Star Team Centre (1962, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1968)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1967, 1968)
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (1967, 1968)
Lester Patrick Trophy (1976)
Second All-Star Team Centre (1965, 1970)
Mikita was an interesting player in that he is the only one to win the Art Ross while also leading the league in penalty minutes, then winning the Art Ross while winning the Lady Byng for gentlemanly play the next year!
Along with Hull, Mikita led the Hawks to the last Cup in franchise history as of today in 1961. Mikita combined his slick play making with a nice goal scoring touch to help him win many accolades throughout his career.
His career ended in 1979-1980 after back surgery. He was inducted into the hall of fame just three years later, the same year as his former teammate Bobby Hull.
15. Howie Morenz
Career Regular Season Stats: 550 GP 271 G 201 A 472 P
Career Playoff Stats: 39 GP 13 G 9 A 22 P
Teams: Montreal Canadiens (1923-1934, 1936-1937), Chicago Black Hawks (1934-1936), New York Rangers (1935-1936)
Art Ross Trophy (1928, 1931)
First All-Star Team Centre (1931, 1932)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1928, 1931, 1932)
Second All-Star Team Centre (1933)
The "Stratford Streak" was one of the first true hockey stars in the NHL. Armed with blazing speed and legendary stick handling skills, Morenz led the Canadiens to three Stanley Cups during his playing days.
He was one of very few natural goal scorers in the 1920s and '30s and he was voted as the best player of the half century by a National press poll in 1950.
Morenz would go on to play with both the Hawks and Rangers and it seemed his career was coming to an end. However, he was traded back to the Canadiens and was rejuvenated.
Unfortunately, he would break his leg in four different places in a game against the Chicago Black Hawks. It was announced that his career was over and he died just two weeks after due to complications from the injury.
14. Denis Potvin
Career Regular Season Stats: 1060 GP 310 G 742 A 1052 P
Career Playoff Stats: 185 GP 56 G 108 A 164 P
Teams: New York Islanders (1973-1988)
Calder Memorial Trophy (1974)
First All-Star Team Defense (1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1981)
James Norris Memorial Trophy (1976, 1978, 1979)
Second All-Star Team Defense (1977, 1984)
Denis Potvin was the foundation of the New York Islanders dynasty. His speed allowed him to jump up into the offensive rush and his physicality/defensive awareness made him one of the most complete defensemen to ever play the game.
Potvin was inducted into the hockey hall of fame in 1991 and his No. 5 was retired by the Islanders immediately after he retired from the National Hockey League.
13. Patrick Roy
Career Regular Season Stats: 551-315-131, 66 SO, 2.54 GAA
Career Playoff Stats: 151-94, 23 SO, 2.30 GAA
Teams: Montreal Canadiens (1984-1995), Colorado Avalanche (1995-2003)
Conn Smythe Trophy (1986, 1993, 2001)
NHL All-Rookie Team (1986)
NHL First All-Star Team (1989, 1990, 1992, 2002)
NHL Second All-Star Team (1988, 1991)
Vezina Trophy (1989, 1990, 1992)
William M. Jennings Trophy (1987, 1988, 1989, 1992, 2001)
It can be argued that Roy might be the best goaltender to ever play the game and one of the most influential. He popularized the butterfly technique and it ended up populating the NHL with goalies from Quebec.
Roy's cool demeanor is well known and evidenced by his record three Conn Smythe trophies. His record for most wins by a goalie in a career was just surpassed and his record for most playoffs wins in a career will not be passed for a very long time.
Naturally, being a Wings fan made me a Roy hater, but there is no doubting the impact he had on the game of hockey.
12. Raymond Bourque
Career Regular Season Stats: 1612 GP 410 G 1169 A 1579 P
Career Playoff Stats: 214 GP 41 G 139 P 180 P
Teams: Boston Bruins (1979-2000), Colorado Avalanche (1999-2001)
Calder Memorial Trophy (1980)
Canada Cup All-Star Team (1987)
James Norris Memorial Trophy (1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1994)
King Clancy Memorial Trophy (1992)
Lester Patrick Trophy (2003)
NHL First All-Star Team (1980, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2001)
NHL Second All-Star Team (1981, 1983, 1986, 1989, 1995, 1999)
Bourque made his NHL debut amidst the accolades of teammates, media and opponents. Quietly, methodically, Raymond dazzled, racking up 65 points; the most for a rookie defenseman in NHL history up to that time.
He was the obvious choice for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's Rookie of the Year and also earned selection to the NHL's First All-Star Team; the first non-goaltender to win both honours in the same season.
This set the bar for an amazing career, one that ended with Bourque finally winning the Cup for the first time in his NHL career. It's just to bad for Bourque that it was with the Colorado Avalanche and not his true team, the Boston Bruins.
11. Jacques Plante
Career Regular Season Stats: 437-246-145, 82 SO, 2.38 GAA
Career Playoff Stats: 71-36, 14 SO, 2.14 GAA
Teams: Montreal Canadiens (1952-1963), New York Rangers (1963-1965), St. Louis Blues (1968-1970), Toronto Maple Leafs (1970-1972), Boston Bruins (1972-1973)
First All-Star Team Goalie (1956, 1959, 1962)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1962)
Second All-Star Team Goalie (1957, 1958, 1960, 1971)
Vezina Trophy (1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1969)
Plante is well known for his role on the late 1950's Montreal Canadiens dynasty and for popularizing the wearing of a goalie mask. Plante was the first goalie to regularly come out his crease to play the puck and stop it behind the net for his defensemen.
Plante's stand up style emphasized positional play and cutting down the angle, he was a pioneer in regards to how the goalies played the game. Plante was inducted into the hall of fame in 1978.