The Top 100 Hockey Players of All Time: Nos. 30-21
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 than 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, and don't be afraid to speak up!
30. Steve Yzerman
Career Regular Season Stats: 1514 GP 692 G 1063 A 1755 P
Career Playoff Stats: 196 GP 70 G 115 A 185 P
Teams: Detroit Red Wings (1983-2006)
NHL All-Rookie Team (1984)
Lester B. Pearson Award (1989)
WEC-A All-Star Team (1989, 1990)
Named Best Forward at WEC-A (1990)
Conn Smythe Trophy (1998)
NHL First All-Star Team (2000)
Frank J. Selke Trophy (2000)
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (2003) Lester Patrick Trophy (2007) Played in NHL All-Star Game (1984, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1997, 2000)
Known as "The Captain" in Detroit, Steve Yzerman transformed himself from one of the league's most prolific goal scorers to one of the best two-way players in the game. He captained the Detroit Red Wings to championships in 1997, 1998, and 2002.
Yzerman was plagued by injuries throughout his career, making his career numbers that much more impressive. His 2002 playoff performance will never be forgotten in Detroit as he did most of his playing on one knee.
Yzerman is one of the greatest leaders the game has ever seen and was an elite two-way player during the Detroit Red Wings dominance in the mid-to-late 1990s.
29. Ted Lindsay
Career Regular Season Stats: 1068 GP 379 G 472 A 851 P
Career Playoff Stats: 133 GP 47 G 49 A 96 P
Teams: Detroit Red Wings (1944-1957, 1964-1965), Chicago Black Hawks (1957-1960)
Art Ross Trophy (1950)
First All-Star Team Left Wing (1948, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1956, 1957)
Second All-Star Team Left Wing (1949)
Known as "Terrible Ted," Lindsay helped form the production line with Gordie Howe and Sid Abel. Lindsay combined immense scoring skill with his extreme toughness.
He is also known as the first player to try and organize the players into a union so they could earn more money, but he was traded to Chicago from Detroit for his efforts.
28. Jaromir Jagr
Career Regular Season Stats: 1273 GP 646 G 953 A 1599 P
Career Playoff Stats: 169 GP 77 G 104 A 181 P
Teams: Pittsburgh Penguins (1990-2001), Washington Capitals (2001-2004), New York Rangers (2003-2008)
WJC-A All-Star Team (1990)
NHL All-Rookie Team (1991)
NHL First All-Star Team (1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2006)
Art Ross Trophy (1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001)
NHL Second All-Star Team (1997)
Lester B. Pearson Award (1999, 2000, 2006)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1999) WC-A All-Star Team (2004) Played in NHL All-Star Game (1992, 1993, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004)
His size, 6'2" and 210 pounds, makes the right winger tough to knock around, while his incredible touch, speed, and creativity combine brilliantly to make him an almost unstoppable offensive force. His skills have propelled his teams, whether in the NHL or international play, to titles and championships.
Jagr will be known as one of the most offensively-gifted players to ever participate in the NHL and one of the top overall players in the history of the game.
27. Larry Robinson
Career Regular Season Stats: 1384 GP 208 G 750 A 958 P
Career Playoff Stats: 227 GP 28 G 116 A 144 P
Teams: Montreal Canadiens (1972-1989), Los Angeles Kings (1989-1992)
Conn Smythe Trophy (1978)
First All-Star Team Defense (1977, 1979, 1980)
James Norris Memorial Trophy (1977, 1980)
Second All-Star Team Defense (1978, 1981, 1986)
Robinson was an imposing 6'4", 225-pound defensemen, and earned the nickname of Big Bird due to his immense size.
Not only was Robinson a great defensive player, he was also very good with the puck. He held the NHL record for most playoff games at 227, until surpassed by Mark Messier, and the most consecutive years in the playoffs with 20.
Robinson was the staple of the big three on defense for the best dynasty in NHL history.
26. Bobby Clarke
Career Regular Season Stats: 1144 GP 358 G 852 A 1210 P
Career Playoff Stats: 136 GP 42 G 77 A 119 P
Teams: Philadelphia Flyers (1969-1984)
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (1972)
First All-Star Team Centre (1975, 1976)
Frank J. Selke Trophy (1983)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1973, 1975, 1976)
Lester B. Pearson Award (1973)
Lester Patrick Trophy (1980)
Second All-Star Team Centre (1973, 1974)
Born with diabetes, there were people doubting whether Clarke would be able to play at a high level in the best league in the world. Boy, did Clarke ever prove them wrong.
One of the best checkers in the entire history of the league, he was also a ruffian and a warrior. Clarke was a great two-way player and the leader of the Broad Street Bullies.
25. Valeri Kharlamov
Career Regular Season Stats: Played in Russia
Career Playoff Stats: Played in Russia
Teams: CSKA Moscow, USSR
Three Olympics, 11 World Championships from 1969 to 1980. Canada-Russia series in 1972.
Through fourteen seasons with the Soviet Red Army squad, Valeri collected 293 goals and 214 assists for 507 points in 436 regular season games and was the integral component on eleven league championships (1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981). In eleven consecutive International Ice Hockey Federation and European Championships, Kharlamov and the Soviets took eight gold medals, two silver, and one bronze. Valeri was named a tournament All-Star in 1972, 1973, 1975 and 1976. He also participated in three Olympic tournaments, leading his Soviet team to gold medals in 1972 and 1976.
Through much of his outstanding career, Kharlamov was paired with Vladimir Petrov at centre and Boris Mikhailov at right wing to form the Army Line, one of the most dominating trios in hockey history.
24. Martin Brodeur
Career Regular Season Stats: 538-290-125, 96 SO, 2.20 GAA
Career Playoff Stats: 95-74, 22 SO, 1.96 GAA
Teams: New Jersey Devils (1991-Current)
QMJHL All-Rookie Team (1990)
QMJHL Second All-Star Team (1992)
NHL All-Rookie Team (1994)
Calder Memorial Trophy (1994)
NHL Second All-Star Team (1997, 1998, 2006, 2008)
William M. Jennings Trophy (1997) (shared with Mike Dunham)
William M. Jennings Trophy (1998, 2004)
NHL First All-Star Team (2003, 2004, 2007)
William M. Jennings Trophy (2003) (tied with Roman Cechmanek/Robert Esche)
Vezina Trophy (2003, 2004, 2007, 2008) Played in NHL All-Star Game (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007)
Some say Brodeurs success is largely due to the team he plays on, but there is no way you have this type of career without immense skill, no matter what team you play on.
Brodeur brings tremendous stability to the Devils. He plays a stand-up style, challenges shooters, and has fantastic mobility from side to side and high crease-to-goal line. With positioning, he is so strong that he does not need to flop. He relies on being in the right place at the right time.
23. Phil Esposito
Career Regular Season Stats: 1282 GP 717 G 873 A 1590 P
Career Playoff Stats: 130 GP 61 G 76 A 137 P
Teams: Boston Bruins (1967-1976), New York Rangers (1975-1981)
Art Ross Trophy (1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974)
First All-Star Team Centre (1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1969, 1974)
Lester B. Pearson Award (1971, 1974)
Lester Patrick Trophy (1978)
Second All-Star Team Centre (1968, 1975)
Esposito was the best at scoring from right in front of the net and was the ultimate goal scorer. He had the record for most goals in a season with 76 before a kid named Gretzky came along and shattered it.
Esposito was known as a prankster and joker in the locker room and he was always up for a good time with his teammates. He is also the main reason Tampa Bay has an NHL franchise.
22. Glenn Hall
Career Regular Season Stats: 407-326-163, 84 SO, 2.49 GAA
Career Playoff Stats: 49-65, 6 SO, 2.78 GAA
Teams: Detroit Red Wings (1952-1957), Chicago Black Hawks (1957-1967), St. Louis Blues (1967-1971)
Calder Memorial Trophy (1956)
Conn Smythe Trophy (1968)
First All-Star Team Goalie (1957, 1958, 1960, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1969)
Second All-Star Team Goalie (1956, 1961, 1962, 1967)
Vezina Trophy (1963, 1967, 1969)
Nicknamed "Mr. Goalie" for his consistent and long-lasting success in the National Hockey League. Year after year, Hall was a familiar and intimidating sight in nets across the continent. He hardly missed a game or an award in his 18 NHL seasons, and only four times did he finish a season with a losing record. His 84 career shutouts, third of all time, guaranteed his place in the Hockey Hall of Fame as one of the sport's best goaltenders.
Though he suffered many injuries, he played for 502 straight regular-season games and another 50 in the playoffs. The endurance record finally came to an end on November 8, 1963, when he injured his back. Ironically, he pulled a muscle not in a game, but while getting dressed when he bent over to adjust a strap.
Hall spent 10 seasons in Chicago and was placed on the All-Star team eight times, five of those on the First Team. In 1961 he backstopped the Hawks to their first Stanley Cup championship since 1938.
21. Red Kelly
Career Regular Season Stats: 1316 GP 281 G 542 A 823 P
Career Playoff Stats: 164 GP 33 G 59 A 92 P
Teams: Detroit Red Wings (1947-1960), Toronto Maple Leafs (1960-1967)
First All-Star Team Defense (1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1957)
James Norris Memorial Trophy (1954)
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (1951, 1953, 1954, 1961)
Second All-Star Team Defense (1950, 1956)
Red Kelly was a unique player—versatile and talented enough to be one of the National Hockey League's best-ever defensemen early in his career and a high-scoring center at the end. The red-haired gentleman was cool and calculating on the ice and never swore, but there was no doubt about his ability to take care of himself.
Frank Mahovlich played on the left wing in Kelly's first full season with the Leafs and set a team record with 48 goals, many of them due to the veteran's play-making skills.
In addition to his talent, Kelly brought his winning ways to the Leafs. In his eight years with the team, Toronto won the Stanley Cup four times.