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!
Career Regular Season Stats: Did not play in NHL
Career Playoff Stats: Did not play in NHL
Teams: CSKA Moscow
# Member of world-champion Soviet Union hockey team, 1970.
# Member of world-champion Soviet Union hockey team, 1971.
# Winner, Olympic Ice Hockey Gold Medal, 1972.
# Member of world-champion Soviet Union hockey team, 1973.
# Member of world-champion Soviet Union hockey team, 1974.
# Named best goaltender at World and European Championships, 1974.
# Member of world-champion Soviet Union hockey team, 1975.
# Winner, Olympic Ice Hockey Gold Medal, 1976.
# Member of world-champion Soviet Union hockey team, 1978.
# Member of world-champion Soviet Union hockey team, 1979.
# Named best goaltender at World and European Championships, 1979.
# Winner, Olympic Ice Hockey Silver Medal, 1980.
# Member of world-champion Soviet Union hockey team, 1981.
# Named tournament most valuable player, Canada Cup, 1981.
# Named best goaltender at World and European Championships, 1981.
# Member of world-champion Soviet Union hockey team, 1982.
# Member of world-champion Soviet Union hockey team, 1983.
# Named best goaltender at World and European Championships, 1983.
# Winner, Olympic Ice Hockey Gold Medal, 1984.
Drafted by the Montreal Canadiens, Tretiak didn't get to play in the NHL due to him being born in the Soviet Union. However, many people consider him one of the greatest goalies to ever play the game.
From 1971 to 1984, he was the Soviet league's First Team All-Star goalie, spending 14 consecutive seasons as the number one man in the Soviet cage.
During this amazing string with the Central Red Army squad, Tretiak won 13 league titles, captured the MVP honors in the Soviet league five times, was awarded the Order of Lenin for his service to the USSR in 1978 and won the coveted Golden Hockey Stick as the outstanding player in all of Europe in 1981, 1982 and 1983.
In the 1981 Canada Cup, he was the tournament MVP and the First All-Star Team goalie, posting an amazing 1.33 goal-against average over six games against the world's best teams.
Career Regular Season Stats: 208-112-62, 34 SO, 2.36 GAA
Career Playoff Stats: 27-18, 2 SO, 2.07 GAA
Teams: Montreal Canadiens (1943-1950)
First All-Star Team Goalie (1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1950)
Vezina Trophy (1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1950)
While he didn't have a very long career, it was an extremely good one. Durnan was a rare breed of goalie as he would catch with both hands and switched during play often.
Durnan was also a great leader as proven by the fact that he is the last goalie to ever be a captain in NHL history. It's hard to imagine a better four-year introduction to the NHL than Durnan's.
He won the Vezina Trophy for the four consecutive seasons and cemented himself on the First All-Star Team.
Montreal won the Stanley Cup in 1946 and finished first in the league after the regular season each year except 1947-48. Durnan suffered his only losing season in 1947-48.
For the first and only time, he didn't lead the league in goals-against average and Montreal missed the playoffs.
Career Regular Season Stats: 1256 GP 358 G 688 A 1046 P
Career Playoff Stats: 180 GP 49 G 80 A 129 P
Teams: Montreal Canadiens (1955-75)
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (1974)
First All-Star Team Centre (1958)
Second All-Star Team Centre (1959, 1961, 1963)
The younger brother of NHL legend Maurice Richard, Henri was a great leader for the most storied franchise in NHL history and his 11 Stanley Cup wins as a player is a league record.
While not a flashy player, Richard was extremely consistent throughout his 20 years in the league and his all around play was very good. He was the epitome of class and well respected by his peers throughout the entire league.
Career Regular Season Stats: 592 GP 136 G 147 A 283 P
Career Playoff Stats: 55 GP 8 G 8 A 16 P
Teams: Ottawa Senators (1921-30), Toronto Maple Leafs (1930-37)
First All-Star Team Defense (1931, 1934)
Second All-Star Team Defense (1932, 1933)
Francis `King` Clancy was a tremendous competitor and had a career as a player, referee, coach and executive. Clancy first became a star with the Ottawa Senators and was a key component of their cup wins in 1923 and 1927.
Even though he would usually lose most fights, Clancy was a tough customer and never backed down from anybody.
He was part of one of the most famous trades when Conn Smythe paid the unprecedented sum of $35,000 and two players to acquire the ingredient he felt would put his club over the top as a Stanley Cup contender, a sum he acquired by winning a bet on a racehorse named Rare Jewel.
Clancy repaid Smythe by leading the Leafs to the first Stanley Cup in franchise history in 1932.
Career Regular Season Stats: 1341 GP 731 G 1040 A 1771 P
Career Playoff Stats: 49 GP 21 G 24 A 45 P
Teams: Detroit Red Wings (1971-75), Los Angeles Kings (1975-87), New York Rangers (1986-89)
Art Ross Trophy (1980)
First All-Star Team Centre (1977, 1980)
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (1975, 1977)
Lester B. Pearson Award (1979, 1980)
Second All-Star Team Centre (1979, 1981)
Widely considered as the best player to have never won a Stanley Cup, Dionne piled up the points during the regular season, but did not translate his regular season success into the playoffs.
Dionne put up an amazing 13 seasons with 30 or more goals and put up 100 points or more in eight seasons.
However, Dionne was not able to even reach a point per game during the playoffs and only made it past the first round three times during his 18 seasons. Dionne could be much higher on the list with a better playoff resume.
Career Regular Season Stats: 833 GP 228 G 246 A 474 P
Career Playoff Stats: 82 GP 13 G 17 A 30 P
Teams: Boston Bruins (1927-47)
First All-Star Team Defense (1939, 1940, 1941)
Second All-Star Team Defense (1944)
Second All-Star Team Right Wing (1931, 1935)
A very versatile player, Clapper is the only player to appear on the year end All-Star team as both a forward and then later on as a defensemen when he made the switch.
Clapper formed the ever-dangerous Dynamite Line with Cooney Weiland and Dutch Gainor. This unit reached its zenith during the 1929-30 season when it led Boston to an unprecedented 38-5-1 regular-season mark.
Clapper scored 41 goals in 44 games, second only to Weiland's 43. In 1931 and 1935 Clapper was chosen as the right wing on the NHL Second All-Star Team.
Clapper made the switch to defense in 1937-38 because the Bruins were desperate for anyone to fill the position and Clapper played defense before his NHL career began.
Career Regular Season Stats: 646 GP 245 G 299 A 544 P
Career Playoff Stats: 51 GP 18 G 27 A 45 P
Teams: Chicago Blackhawks (1941-48), Toronto Maple Leafs (1948-53), New York Ranger (1953-54)
Art Ross Trophy (1946, 1947)
First All-Star Team Centre (1946)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1946)
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (1943)
Second All-Star Team Centre (1947)
Bentley was a tremendous skater and puck handler and because of this he was nicknamed the Dipsy-Doodle Dandy from Delisle. Max formed the pony line with his brother Doug and Bill Mosienko.
When Bentley was traded to Toronto, he was saddened that he was leaving his brother behind, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Max and the Leafs won the Stanley Cup three times in his first fours years with the franchise.
Career Regular Season Stats: 474 GP 229 G 138 A 367 P
Career Playoff Stats: 46 GP 13 G 11 A 24 P
Teams: New York Rangers (1926-37)
Art Ross Trophy (1927, 1933)
First All-Star Team Right Wing (1931, 1932, 1933)
Second All-Star Team Right Wing (1934)
Part of the famous bread line with brother Bun Cook and Frank Boucher, Bill led the Rangers to two Stanley Cup Championships in 1928 and 1933. In preparing for their initial NHL season in 1926, the New York Rangers signed Cook from the defunct WHL.
In addition to being the first skater signed officially by the club, he became the team's first captain and the foundation on which the club was built.
Bill accounted for nearly one-fifth of the Rangers' total goals during the club's first decade of play and was selected as the right wing on the NHL First All-Star Team three times and the Second Team once.
Career Regular Season Stats: 1409 GP 396 G 1135 A 1531 P
Career Playoff Stats: 194 GP 59 G 137 A 196 P
Teams Edmonton Oilers (1980-87), Pittsburgh Penguins (1987-92), Los Angeles Kings (1992-93), Detroit Red Wings (1993-96), Hartford Whalers (1996-97), Philadelphia Flyers (1997-98), Chicago Blackhawks (1998), Carolina Hurricanes (1998-2000), Boston Bruins (2000-01)
Canada Cup All-Star Team (1984)
James Norris Memorial Trophy (1985, 1986, 1995)
NHL First All-Star Team (1985, 1986, 1989, 1995)
NHL Second All-Star Team (1982, 1983, 1984, 1990)
One of the fastest skaters to ever grace the ice, Coffey is likely the second best offensive defensemen in NHL history.
He was extremely fast, a great play maker and he had a booming shot. He would be much higher on this list if not for his defensive short comings.
Coffey anchored the defense on one of the best dynasties in NHL history and his offense from the blue line is a big reason why the Oilers were able to break so many goal scoring records during their heyday.
Career Regular Season Stats: 447-330-172, 103 SO, 2.51 GAA
Career Playoff Stats: 54-48, 12 SO, 2.54 GAA
Teams: Detroit Red Wings (1949-55, 1957-64, 1968-69), Boston Bruins (1955-57), Toronto Maple Leafs (1964-67), Los Angeles Kings (1967-68), New York Rangers (1969-70)
Calder Memorial Trophy (1951)
First All-Star Team Goalie (1951, 1952, 1953)
Lester Patrick Trophy (1971)
Second All-Star Team Goalie (1954, 1955, 1959, 1963)
Vezina Trophy (1952, 1953, 1955, 1965)
Considered by many to be the best goalie to ever play the game, Sawchuk is in the top tier of netminders. His 103 shutouts is a league record and he held the record for most wins in a career for many years until Patrick Roy broke it not to long ago.
Sawchuk wasn't a relaxed goalie. The pressure of playing in the NHL got to him and affected his health and he was battling some sort of injury for most of his career.
He received 400 stitches throughout his career, he had bone chips removed from his elbow after the 1952 Stanley Cup, he suffered chest injuries from a car accident and his back was perpetually in knots because of his style of play. And he won more games than any other goalie in the history of the game up until recently.