The 50 Hardest Slap Shots in NHL History
The slap shot.
Until the 1950's in the NHL, coaches frowned on the use of the slap shot during games because it was thought to take too long for a player to get it off. Why waste time winding up and allowing defenders and goalies to set up for the shot?
It was thought that there were much better, more effiecient ways to get off a shot at the net, then taking a lengthy wind-up and firing it inaccurately.
But since that time when the slap shot was brought into the game, it has been the most lethal weapon for players from generation to generation, striking fear into goaltenders and allowing the NHL's most powerful players to strut their stuff on a league-wide level.
As the art of the shot has evolved, so too has the technology of the equipment used; particularly the stick. Gone are the days when players use a wooden stick, fresh of the trunk of a tree and nowadays it's all about the composite.
Introduced late in the 1999-2000 season when Easton Hockey had then-rookie for the New Jersey Devils, Scott Gomez try out the first Easton Synergy. Since that time, almost every player in the league uses some form of the composite stick, which allows more power and the ability to get the shot of quicker due to the stick's lightweight feature.
It changed the way the game was played, but don't think for a second that players before the composite stick era didn't have canons either. Some of the most feared slap shots in history come from players who used wooden sticks all though their careers, and still managed to clock some of the fastest shots ever taken.
It's difficult to rank the fifty players with the hardest shot, only because of how much the game has changed and advanced.
Questions will always remain about comparing players of today's NHL to yesterdays, and whether a harder shot now with better technology trumps a hard shot 'back in the day' with a wooden stick, or visa versa.
Players are bigger and stronger now than they ever were, but that doesn't necessarily mean guys with hard shots now are better than every guy who had a hard shot back then, does it?
It's also much more than just looking at the All-Star weekends' hardest shot competitions (which has only been around since 1990) and comparing shots taken over the years. Having a hard shot is more than just a one-time display of power in a non-game setting. It's about being known league-wide for having the ability to unleash a rocket at any moment in a game.
Recognition is an much apart of this list as anything. But recorded shot speeds will also be taken into consideration, as well as era they played in, and how effective their shot really was during games. It all comes into play.
The slapshot represents the evolution of hockey, each time a player winds up to unload, with the crowd growing in anticipation just as the puck is launched, knowing that in less than a second the entire game could change. It's more than just a shot. It carries with it an attitude and swagger that few other areas of the game do.
And with all the changes the NHL has seen over the years, that attitude, that swagger carried by those who own one of the hardest shots in history, that is something that will never change.
Here are the fifty players in NHL history who did it best.
50. Bernie 'Boom Boom' Geoffrion
His shot may have been nothing to brag about compared to many men to come after him, but if there is one thing he can brag about; it's the slap shot itself.
From his own accord, as a young boy, Bernie Geoffrion invented the slap shot and was the first to use it in a game. And if the self-proclaimed inventor of one of the most powerful aspects of the game today is telling the truth, then he deserves a spot on this list for that reason alone.
He was given the nickname 'Boom Boom' because of his hard slap shot and the frequency that he used in during a game.
Undoubtedly someone would have come up with the shot had he not done it first, but the fact that he did it, that he put his mark on the game, is impressive enough to rank as one of the best of all time.
49. Chris Chelios
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Chris Chelios. He defined hard work. He defined longevity. And since 1983 when he started his career with the Montreal Canadiens, he defined strength in the NHL.
He played 25 season with the Canadiens, Blackhawks, Red Wings, and Thrashers before hanging them up at the ripe old age of 48.
Players envied him for his strength and his work ethic, and of both of those lead to Chelios having one of the hardest shots in the history of the game. He scored just 185 goals in the 1,651 games he played, but don't let the stats fool you, he had a bomb from the point.
Just ask the hundreds of defenders who dared block one of his shots. The bruises might still be there.
48. Steve Yzerman
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Steve Yzerman gets on this list simply because he scored one of the greatest goals in playoff history, and it happened to be a slap shot. I know, I know, being one of the 50 hardest shooters in the league means more than just one shot, and don't get me wrong, Yzerman had a cannon, but no more obvious was that than in double overtime of Game Seven of the 1996 Western Conference Semifinals against the St. Louis Blues.
Less than two minutes into the period, Yzerman carried the puck into the zone and just as he hit the blue line, with Wayne Gretzky five feet to his left, he unloaded a rocket over the shoulder of Jon Casey and sent the city of Detroit into a frenzy.
The Red Wings captain had a ton of big goals in his illustrious career, but that shot will forever be remembered as one of the most incredible moments in playoff history.
47. Jari Kurri
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You remember him as the great Edmonton Oilers player who scored 601 goals and 1,398 points in his career, but you may not remember how great of a slap shot he really had. Quite simply, Jari Kurri could shoot with the best of them.
It took more than just being Gretzky's teammate to score that many goals, and Kurri used his shot to his advantage frequently. It's the kind of shot that allows you to score more than 50 goals in a season four times, including the 1984-85 season when he potted 71 goals in 73 games.
That's just crazy.
The legend who was a major part of the Oilers dynasty in the 80's, winning the Cup five times in that decade (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990) truly had an incredible slap shot, and is worthy of number 47 on this list.
46. Doug Harvey
He is considered to be one of the best defenseman to ever play the game, and certainly one of the best Montreal Canadiens. Doug Harvey was a rock on defense, and was one of the best skating defenders this league has ever seen. With his speed and puck-moving ability, he was always dangerous on the ice and was a large part of the six Stanley Cup victories during his time with the Canadiens.
Though he never put up big offensive numbers (88 career goals in 1,113 games), he was always considered to have one of, if not the best shot on the team during their dynasty years. He was also playing with some of the best scorers in history, and thus was not relied on to do any heavy lifting.
He won seven Norris Trophies during his career and was named an All Star 11 consecutive seasons.
His shot put fear into those who played against him, and the combination of strength and speed made him an incredibly difficult player to play against. He simply understood the game, and that's why he's one of the best to ever patrol the blue line.
45. Glenn Anderson
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Glenn Anderson took 3,108 shots in his outstanding NHL career, but I wonder if he wishes he took just two more. He finished his career with 498 goals, two shy of the illustrious 500-goal mark.
Aside from that 'almost', Anderson was known as a goal-scorer who could score from anywhere on the ice. His powerful shot helped him to two 50-goal seasons, and over 30 goals nine times. You might argue that he simply benefited from playing with some of the greatest this game has ever seen, but you can't argue with consistency.
He may have finished his career two goals short of the 500-mark, but I'm sure the six Stanley Cups he won make the personal achievements seem next to nothing in comparison.
And you don't get rings for scoring goals.
44. Denis Potvin
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Denis Potvin was drafted first-overall in the 1973 Draft by the New York Islanders and brought with him a brash, arrogant, tough-nosed attitude on and off the ice that made him one of the most entertaining defenders we've ever seen in the NHL. It also made him one of the best, as he finished his career with 310 goals and 1,052 points, in 1,060 games.
In 1979 he became the Captain of the Islanders, and that season he lead them to the first of four consecutive Stanley Cups-cementing them as one of the great dynasties in NHL history.
He lead like few men before him ever had, and with the attitude and arrogance shown in his early seasons, came a ridiculous slap shot known league-wide as one to watch out for.
Denis Potvin. Men like him only come around so often.
43. Dave Manson
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Dave Manson played for just about everybody in his 16-year career, switching teams nine times but enjoying his longest sting with the Chicago Blackhawks from 1986-1991.
He may have been everybody's favourite trade bait, but Manson knew his role no matter where he was playing, as one of the best tough guys fans ever had the privilege of watching. He amassed 2,792 PIMs and made sure opponents knew he was there every time he stepped foot on the ice.
He also made a point of launching the occasional rocket from his stick, proving he could do more than just throw punches.
But don't get me wrong, he was a better tough guy than he was anything else. Just so we're clear.
42. Gordie Howe
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They didn't call him Mr. Hockey for nothing. Gordie Howe quite simply was everything a hockey player is supposed to be. He loved the game more than anyone. He played harder than anyone. And in many people's opinion, he was the greatest player to ever play the game.
He scored 801 goals and 1,850 career points, but his incredible scoring ability may not be what he's most known for. The fact that he played in five different decades might be.
He played 25 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, from 1946-1971 before leaving for the WHA. He later returned to the NHL in 1979-80 to play one more year with the Hartford Whalers. He was 51 years old. The fact that he was able to play at a high level for so long is what is most impressive about Howe. He simply never gave up.
He holds the NHL record (among many) for the most career games played (1,767), plus 157 more in the playoffs.
Beyond just his talent and longevity, Howe was one of the toughest men ever to play against. He was known as 'Mr. Elbows' for, well, his toughness and likelihood of "giving you the business" when he deemed it necessary.
When legends of the game is the topic of discussion, Howe is always in the conversation, and the fact that he had one bomb of a slapshot to go along with every other skill, makes him a worthy member of this list.
41. Larry Robinson
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He was a rock for the Montreal Canadiens for 17 impressive seasons, and his name hangs among the legends in the Bell Centre because of it. Larry Robinson was one of the most solid defensemen to ever play the game,
'Big Bird', as they called him for his 6'4" foot, 225 pound frame and blond hair, was incredibly strong and one of the most feared defenders through the 70's and 80's, finishing his 20-year career with 208 goals and 958 points.
But maybe the most mind-boggling achievement in Robinson's career is the out-of-this-world plus/minus rating of plus 730. Yes, you read correctly, plus 730, which is still the NHL record for a player's career.
His strength and size allowed him to be a powerhouse on the blue line, and also unleash equally powerful shots at will.
40. Daniel Alfredsson
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The Ottawa Senators named him captain in 1999, and since that time Daniel Alfredsson has been the face of the franchise. He's entering the 15th season of his career, and has played all of them with the club. He's the franchise leader in almost every offensive statistical category.
Quite frankly, the Senators would not be what they are today without Alfredsson.
His leadership is what he's most respected for, leading his team to the playoffs 12 of the 14 seasons, and has proven to an offensive weapon as a two-time 40 goal scorer.
He often plays the point on power plays because of his powerful shot, but has also made a career of hovering around the top of the circle and lulling the opponents to sleep before getting open and launching a shot towards twine.
The 37-year-old is in the twilight of his career, but is still dangerous with the puck on his stick. Or in this case, when the puck is leaving his stick.
39. Geoff Sanderson
He may not be the most memorable player who's ever played the game, as he bounced around the NHL as a member of eight different teams during his time in the league, but Geoff Sanderson sure knew how to fire the puck.
He played the first eight seasons with the Hartford Whalers, the last of which being the year they moved to Carolina, and appeared in two All Star games during that time.
The six-time 30 goal scorer, and two-time 40 goal man knew how to score, and did it from 1991-2008 where he finished his career with the Edmonton Oilers.
The closest he ever got to a Stanley Cup was in the 1999 Finals as a member of the Buffalo Sabres, where Brett Hull scored the infamous "foot in the crease" goal to win the Cup for the Dallas Stars.
You may not remember much about him from his playing days, but during his time he could fire the puck as good as anyone.
38. Phil Esposito
Phil Esposito was an absolute scoring machine in from the day he entered the NHL in 1963 to the day he retired in 1981. From 1967-1974 his goal totals were as follows: 35, 49, 43, 76, 66, 55, 68 and 61. He also scored over 30 goals in four of his final five seasons in the NHL.
Now that's being effective right to the end.
When he retired he was second in goals and points in NHL history, and left the game known as one of the most feared shooters there ever was.
He was what players strive to be today; talented and consistent. It's one thing to score 50 goals once in your career, but when you can do it for five-straight seasons, that's when you're considered as one of the all-time greats.
For almost his entire career he was unstoppable when he had the puck on his stick, and with his rare talent came a knack for blasting pucks past goaltenders with relative ease.
He only won one Stanley Cup during his career (1970 with the Boston Bruins) but will forever bask in the legacy as the most feared scorer of his time.
37. Maurice 'Rocket' Richard
If his nickname didn't give it away, Maurice 'Rocket' Richard had one seriously dangerous slap shot. Or should I say, rocket shot.
Though he played just 978 career games, all with the Montreal Canadiens, he is still recognized as the best player that city has ever seen. He oozed greatness, and his most impressive offensive season may have been the 1944-45 campaign when he appeared in 50 games, and scored 50 goals.
It's no secret to anyone that his shot was one of the hardest, but where he stands above the rest is the accuracy he was able to shoot with. The puck just went exactly where he wanted it to go, no matter the type of shot he was using.
His famous rivalry with Gordie Howe (mentioned earlier) is one of the most fierce in history as the Canadiens and Red Wings met in the Stanley Cup Finals four times during their playing time. But the two had the utmost respect for each other when they left the game.
The Rocket went on to win eight Cups during his 18-year career, including five-straight from 1956-60.
36. Wayne Gretzky
Looking back on the career of 'The Great One', Wayne Gretzky and the numbers he was able to put up is almost unbelievable. If you had never heard of him and simply looked at his career stats, you'd probably think someone made some major typos.
Did he really score 894 goals in his career, including a 92-goal season in 1981-82? Did he really score over 120 points in 14 of his first 15 NHL seasons, including three 200+ point campaigns?
Yes and yes, and if those numbers don't impress you enough, consider that he has 970 more points than the second highest scorer in history, Mark Messier. That's not just playing with great players during your career. That's being the best player there ever was, or ever will be.
Gretzky was more than just a pure scorer though, he saw the game like no one else. That allowed him to be so far ahead of everyone else around him on the ice. It also allowed him to position himself perfectly to unload the bullet of a shot he had.
No one will ever forget the playoff game on April 21, 1988 against the Calgary Flames when in overtime, Gretzky came in over the line and launched the perfect slap shot over the right shoulder of Mike Vernon. It will forever be known as one of the greatest shots ever taken.
By the greatest player to ever play.
35. Andy Bathgate
He was a beast for the New York Rangers through the 50's and 60's, and though the team was never one of the best during that time, and Bathgate frequently dealt with knee injuries, he was still recognized as one of the greats of his day. He often battled Bobby Hull for the league scoring title.
Bathgate was known for his slap shot, and the force he was able to put behind it. He's famously known for his part in creating history that remains to this day as a major part of the game. On Nov. 1, 1959, Bathgate launched a shot at Montreal Canadiens goalie Jaques Plante, who at that time did not wear a face mask, and shattered Plante's nose.
Plante returned to the ice later in the game after getting repairs done, but now donned a face mask. He became the first goalie in the NHL to ever wear a full-time mask.
Since then, the goalie mask has become quite the expression for net minders today, as well a huge safety feature in the game. Because of the safety and security it gives goaltenders, the masked men of today can thank Btahgate for having a large part in the helmet being implemented into the NHL.
Well, every goaltender except Plante, of course, who probably could have done without the frozen rubber to the nose.
34. Joe Sakic
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One of the most classy players to ever play in the NHL, Joe Sakic knew what it was to be a leader. And he knew what it was to be a champion.
'Super Joe' was a two-time Stanley Cup Champion as member, and captain of the Colorado Avalanche, as well as playing the first seven years of his career on the Quebec Nordiques before the franchise relocated.
By now, you're probably questioning why Sakic is on the list of greatest slap shots, as he was known for having one of the best wrist shots of all time, but a lesser known fact is how good he was at one-timing the puck.
He might have had the most effective one-time shot in history, having the ability to launch the perfect shot at an incredible rate of speed right off a pass. Whether he was moving or standing still, if a pass came towards him and the shot was there, he would load up then unload a rocket at an unsuspecting net minder.
He used both skills to score 625 goals during his career, walking away as one of the best pure scorers to ever step on the ice.
33. Paul Coffey
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Can you imagine a defensemen in today's NHL scoring 48 goals and 138 points in a season, like Paul Coffey did in 1985-86 as a member of the Edmonton Oilers? Probably not, and it's certainly true that the Oilers would not have been anywhere close to the team they were if not for Coffey and his revolutionary style of play on defense.
That record of 48 goals by a defender still stands today, as does the legacy of Coffey and all that he did during his days in the NHL from 1980-2000. He scored 396 goals and had a mind-boggling 1,531 points. He was just the second defenseman in history to reach 1000 points.
He was an integral part of the three Stanley Cups the Oilers won while he was there, as well as his fourth Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
He also had a cannon from the point, or where ever he chose to shoot from with his roaming style of play. He often used it to both create scoring chances, and scare the life out of opposing net minders.
32. Peter Bondra
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With his left handed shot, his incredible speed, and a quick slap shot that put most goalies into a state of shock, Peter Bondra certainly left his mark on the NHL.
He scored 503 goals in 1,081 career games, scoring 52 goals twice as a member of the Washington Capitals. He played in Washington for 14 years, becoming a legend with the fans and a go-to guy when they were in need of a big goal.
He finished off his final three seasons with the Senators, Thrashers, and Blackhawks before retiring in 2007 with 892 career points.
The Ukraine native was feared by goalies for the force he could put behind his shot, and for the ability to zip it by their ears as he bulged the twine.
31. Adrian Aucoin
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Currently a member of the Phoenix Coyotes, the 37-year-old Adrian Aucoin has had a major-league slap shot since he entered the NHL 1995 with the Vancouver Canucks.
Before entering this season he amassed 116 goals and 364 points through 933 games. His best season was 2003-04 when he scored 13 goals and 44 points as a member of the New York Islanders.
After struggling with injuries through the early 2000's, he's remained relatively healthy over the past three seasons, only missing five games over that time.
He's getting up there in age, but Aucoin still has plenty of kick left in that shot of his. Enough to keep everyone aware whenever the wily veteran steps on the ice.
30. Ray Bourque
In 21 seasons as the heart and soul of the Boston Bruins he never was able to win a Cup, but in just over a year as a member of the Colorado Avalanche, Ray Bourque finally got to lift the sacred trophy above his head in 2001 before walking away from the game on top.
Though he finished his career while skating around the ice in Colorado with the Stanley Cup, it was all he did before that, as a member of the Bruins, that made Bourque the player he was and the legend he will be known as forever.
He scored 410 goals and 1,579 points in his incredible career. He won five Norris Trophies and was always regarded as one of the best defensemen in the league until the day he retired.
He not only had a mammoth slap shot from the point, but also seemed to master the ability to shoot on the move, as he tip-toed along the blue line backwards before unloading a shot towards the net.
He leaves the games as one of the best defenders to ever play, along with having one of the hardest shots.
He is also one of the few who won the Stanley Cup in the final game of his career. And that's just plain cool.
29. Eric Lindros
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He was a beast, there is no other way to put it. Eric Lindros was a massive human being, and the slap shot he carried with him was exactly that as well. Massive.
He was drafted first overall by the Quebec Nordiques in 1991, but never played for the club as he was moved to the Philadelphia Flyers and began his career the next season. In his first year he scored 41 goals and 75 points in just 61 games, and went on to play eight years with the team.
But a lot of Lindros' career has to be thought of as 'what if' because of his constant injury issues. He actually never played a full 82 games season in his career (1992-2007) before he was forced to retire due to concussion issues, among others.
He still finished his career with 372 goals and 865 points in 760 games, which is incredibly impressive, but no one will ever think of Lindros without thinking of what could have been had he not had such bad luck with injuries.
While he played though, there was no doubt that Lindros had one of the most powerful shots in the league to date. That 6'4", 240 pound frame did more than just help beat people up.
28. Joe Thornton
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Joe Thornton played seven seasons with the Boston Bruins before being trading in the middle of his eighth season (2005-06) with the club to the San Jose Sharks, in what was somewhat of a shocking trade for more than a few people.
He scored 29 goals and 125 points that season he was traded, and then 22 goals and 114 points in his first full season with the Sharks, and even though he hasn't gotten more than 96 points in a year since, he is still revered as one of the best players in the NHL today.
Though it's his passing ability that he's most famous for, he also has a monster slap shot which is aided by his 6'4", 230 pound body lumbering down the ice.
He's been criticized in the past for not shooting enough, even though he's one of the highest point-producing players of the 2000's, but he certainly doesn't use his lethal shot as much as he could.
Thornton is still snake-bitten as far as Stanley Cup glory goes, and is known for struggling under the pressure of the playoffs, but at just 31-years-old with a fresh new contract under his belt, there's plenty left in the tank for Thornton.
27. Nicklas Lidstrom
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If ever there was a future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, Nicklas Lidstrom fits the description perfectly.
He's won four Stanley Cups (1997, 1998, 2002, 2008), six Norris Trophies, named an All Star 11 times, and will leave the NHL as one of the best defensemen to ever play the game.
He's been a warrior since he came into the league in 1991, barely missing a game in his 18-year career (all with Detroit), and entering what many feel is the last season of his career. The 40-year-old took over the captaincy once Steve Yzerman retired, and has been a fantastic leader.
He came into this season with 1,046 points in 1,413 games, and though he hasn't got much time left in his illustrious career, he sure hasn't lost a step.
The Swedish defenseman as always had an extremely hard, low shot that's come in handy in more than a few playoff games over the years.
His calmness and confidence on the ice is palpable for the usually-veteran Red Wing team, who have always been a team that looked to their leader to set the tone.
Having accomplished everything a blue-liner can accomplish in the NHL, Lidstrom is simply playing for the love of the game at this point, trying to get his hands on one more Cup before he calls it a career.
And there will be more than just Red Wings fans who'll miss old number five in red and white.
26. Mike Green
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He's flashy, he's aggressive, and when he's on his game, he's the most exciting defenseman in the NHL. Mike Green is an incredibly talented offensively minded defender, who not only can put up big time numbers, but also can throw his weight around.
He's scored 68 goals in his last three seasons, including 31 goals in just 68 games in 2008-09. When kids grow up wanting to be offensive-defensemen these days, they want to be like him. It's good to be Green.
He's made a habit of not only launching shots from the point, but coming down on the wing at full speed and ripping a shot over the shoulder of the goalie. He's got a rocket, and uses it as much as possible (recording over 200 shots in the past three seasons), giving the Washington Capitals a dangerous attack from more than just up front.
He's run into injury issues in the past two years, but there is no doubt that when he's healthy, Green can be the most dangerous player on the ice.
25. Steve Thomas
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They called him 'Stumpy' and though it's not the most flattering nickname ever given, Steve Thomas wore it well for his 20-year career. Best known for his days as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Islanders, and Toronto Maple Leafs, Thomas scored 421 goals before retiring in 2004.
He wasn't a big player by any stretch of the imagination, standing just 5'11" and weighing a pedestrian 185 pounds, but he used what he had and his low center of gravity propelled the puck to scream off his stick.
He scored 40 goals twice in his career but never won a Stanley Cup. He was always a fan-favourite no matter where he played, and loved to flaunt his skills of shooting the puck.
24. Sergei Fedorov
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He was the wingman of Steve Yzerman for 13 seasons in Detroit, and during that time there were few in the NHL who had the skill that Sergei Fedorov had. He always seemed to be open, and when the puck was on his stick, he would almost assuredly break away from the pack and find some scoring space.
He was a treat to watch and though he scored 31 goals with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in 2003-04, he was never the same after leaving the Red Wings. He scored over 30 goals nine of the 13 years he was there, including a 56 goal campaign in 1993-94.
He made a career of hovering around the net or setting up camp beside it, waiting for a pass that he could quickly pound into the net.
He simply lived to score and his true-to-form European flare made him all the more popular in Hockeytown, making the tube-hat popular in the 90's. Okay, maybe not.
But tube-hate or not, Fedorov could unleash a bomb of a shot, who knows what would have happened had he stayed in Detroit for longer.
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His career was short due to back injury forcing him to retire when he was just 30-years-old, but Mike Bossy sure made the most of his time in the NHL. In just 10 seasons (752 games) Bossy scored a ridiculous 573 goals and 1,126 points.
His ability to score was out of this world, as he surpassed the 50 goal mark in his first nine seasons (60+ in five of those), reaching his highest total (69) in just his second season in the league.
Had he stayed healthy, he would probably be the second-highest scorer in NHL history below Wayne Gretzky.
He also was apart of the four-straight Cups the Islanders won in the 80's, meaning he won a Championship in 40 percent of the seasons he played. That's just crazy talk.
The sheer strength and power he was able to put into his slap shot may have been a reason for his back issues that forced his early retirement, but while he was healthy enough, he did some serious damage with that stick of his.
22. Bryan McCabe
Hold your boos, Leaf fans, because Brian McCabe has one of the hardest shots that this league has ever seen, no matter what you think about him.
During his seven seasons in Toronto he was known for two things; one, introducing the 'can opener' to the NHL before it was outlawed, and two, his absolute bomb of a slap shot. Okay, the third thing may have been scoring on his own net, but we need not discuss that any further at this time.
Though he's never had a 20-goal season in the NHL, he's always been known as an offensive-defenseman and extremely effective as a shooter on the power play. His highest goal output was in 2005-06 when he got 19 with the Leafs.
He's currently wearing the 'C' for the Florida Panthers, and though he's now 35, he's still got the shot that made him famous in his younger days.
21. Sami Salo
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In 2007 Sports Illustrated surveyed NHL players and asked them who had the hardest shot in the league, and ranked third on that list was Sami Salo. And if the players who have to stand in front of your shot say it's hard, you know they're telling the truth.
Sami Salo has won almost every hardest shot competition he's been in as a member of the Vancouver Canucks, repeatedly shooting over 100 MPH. He's also a cornerstone on their power play with the ability to unleash a wicked shot through traffic on the net.
Though he's been dealing with some injuries lately (and ugly ones at that) he is still an important member of the Canucks blue line, and when healthy, can be relied on to serve up some heat from the point.
20. Brian Rolston
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He's known for his great two-way play, but if there's one area of his game that his opponents fear the most, it's his booming shot. He's made more than a few goalies duck for cover in his days as one of the league's hardest shooters, including Roberto Luongo who received a Rolston shot to the mask in 2007 and was left dazed and confused on the ice.
He's also been known to use the shot in the shootout, simply skating in over the blue line and ripping a shot as hard as he possibly can. Sounds risky, but it's worked for the powerful veteran more than once in the last couple years.
A Stanley Cup winner in 1995 as a member of the New Jersey Devils, Rolston has 321 goals coming into this season. The 37-year-old may have his best years behind him, but he can still release a rocket with the best of them in the NHL, and looks to prove it whenever he has the opportunity.
19. Jarome Iginla
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Another guy who's best known for the torque of his wrist shot, Jerome Iginla can also blast a slap shot with the best of them. One of the most prolific scorers in the game today, Iginla has never been afraid to mix it up on the ice physically, and always seems to be in the right spot when the Calgary Flames are in need of a goal.
The two-time 50 goal scorer, and one of the best power forwards in the NHL is never far from the score sheet, and as the captain of the Flames has been a solid leader since 2003 when he was given those responsibilities.
He's known as one of the most friendly, generous people when he's off the ice, but get him in a bad mood during a game or put the puck on his stick in front of the net, and you'll quickly find out that there's more than one side to Iginla.
18. Jeremy Roenick
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There will never be another player in the NHL like Jeremy Roenick. That, my friends, I can guarantee you. The fiery, exuberant, larger-than-life personality was one of the most loved and hated players where ever he played, and was never far from the cameras.
But he wasn't just a big mouth, Roenick was a legitimate goal scorer, and had a thunderous slap shot that did a lot more talking than he ever could, if you can believe that.
He scored 513 goals in his career and 1,216 points in what was one of the most entertaining careers we've ever had the joy of following.
He was a game-changer, and thanks to that powerful slap shot, was one of the most dangerous players on the ice in his prime (twice scoring 50 goals). Though he never won a Stanley Cup, he will always be known as one of the most talked about players in the game.
And one who did the most talking, both with his mouth and his stick.
17. Wendel Clark
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He started his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1985, and finished his career with those same Leafs in 1999 while jumping around from team to team in between. He will go down as one of the most beloved players in Toronto because of his toughness, grittiness, and never-say-die attitude. It was things like that, which made him a hero in the city.
His moustache, mullet, and country boy swagger didn't hurt either.
He was never known as a lethal sniper, though he did score 46 goals in 1993-94 season with the Leafs, but he did manage to score 330 goals during his career.
Two more aspects of his game made him so popular with fans; his thunderous body checks and his thunderous slap shots. He was one of the best at doing both.
He was never the fastest, nor the strongest, nor the greatest player on any team, but when it came to heart and passion, he was at the front of the line.
And all that accumulates into your number hanging in the rafters at the Air Canada Center, and a standing ovation erupting every time your name is mentioned at a Leaf game.
16. Ilya Kovalchuk
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Pure sniper. Two words could not describe Ilya Kovalchuk any better.
In just eight seasons he had 338 goals coming into the 2010-11 season, spending the first seven as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers, before being traded to the New Jersey Devils last year. He's scored 40 goals or more in each of the past six seasons and along with Alex Ovechkin, is the league's most dangerous player.
He is another forward who spends plenty of time on the point on the power play, giving him ample time and space to release that bomb that defenses spend hours practicing how to defend.
There is a popular saying that if a goalie can see it, he can stop it. But when it comes to shots from Kovalchuk, it doesn't matter how good the eyesight is, no goalie is stopping it.
15. Dany Heatley
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Players who get caught in front of the net when Dany Heatley is loading up a slap shot from between the hash marks, often suffer from panic, disorientation, and their life flashing before their eyes. Just imagine how the goalies feel.
Heatley, according to this guy's opinion, has the fourth-hardest slap shot among forwards in the NHL today. He's a back-to-back 50 goal scorer and scored 40 or more four times.
Coming into his second season with San Jose, Heatley makes up what be the most deadly trio of players in the league with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, and is looking to get back to his 50-goal form from his days with the Ottawa Senators.
He may not be the most popular man in Ottawa these days, but if slap shots were a popularity contest, he'd be in the running for prom king.
14. Mike Modano
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Mike Modano is known for more than just that jersey flapping behind him as he gracefully floats down the ice at full speed, because he's also the owner of a mighty slap shot that's ended up behind the odd net minder throughout his career.
It's not just that he can shoot it so hard, it's that Modano has one of the quickest releases we've ever seen. He can take a full wind up and blast the puck off his stick faster than anyone, and it's caused more than a few problems for goalies in his successful, but not-done-just-yet career.
He's the greatest player to ever wear a Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars jersey, and his 557 goals and 1,360 points before coming into this season means he's already got a spot booked in the Hall of Fame when he's called it a career.
Thankfully he decided to stick around one more year in Detroit, so we can watch that graceful stride down the ice, and that punishing shot we all know and love.
Unless it's coming at your head.
13. Alex Kovalev
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Often criticized for his lack of effort and taking shifts (or nights) off, there's always been one thing about Alex Kovalev you simply can't say anything bad about; his shot.
With 20 seasons under his belt already, the Russian sniper's best days are behind him, but he can still unload one of those patented slap shots from the slot and send the crowd into an instant frenzy.
His best season was in 2000-01 as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins when he scored 44 goals, and won the Stanley Cup while on the New York Rangers in just his sophomore campaign.
No matter what has been said about the oft-times sluggish Kovalev, when he's positioned off to the side of the net, cocked and ready to fire, his shot is still almost unstoppable for opposing goalies to deal with.
12. Rob Blake
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Rob Blake was a rock on defense for the Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche, and San Jose Sharks throughout his 20-year career. And when it came to his shot, it was an absolute rocket.
Blake finished his career with 240 goals and 777 points, retiring after the 2009-10 season as one of the most trusted and dependable defenders in the NHL. He lead by example, especially during the 2001 Stanley Cup run with the Colorado Avalanche, where he had 19 points in 23 playoff games as they went on to win the Cup.
His shot was nothing less than a monstrosity to deal with for goalies and defensemen, and when he pumped a shot at the net, you could hear it for miles.
Right up until the end of his career last season, Blake still served up huge blasts from the point that had goalies shrugging their shoulders.
11. Dion Phaneuf
As the newly named captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Dion Phaneuf now has the biggest stage in the NHL on which to show off his ferocious slap shot.
It's not only his glare that can send shivers down the spine of an opponent, but when he comes barreling down the wing, or loads up from the point, you almost think goalies simply hold their breath, shut their eyes, and get as big as possible in hopes that it doesn't whiz past them into the net.
Since he came into the league in 2005, Phaneuf is the highest scoring defenseman in the NHL, and is looking to get back on track in his first season with the Leafs after being traded from the Calgary Flames last January.
Few people on earth are as intimidating as Phaneuf when on the ice, but he's undoubtedly glad that his girlfriend, Elisha Cuthbert, isn't the real daughter of TV character Keifer Sutherland, star of the former show 24.
Something tells me that Jack Bauer has the upper hand in that category.
10. Stephane Richer
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Stephane Richer played in the NHL from 1984-2002, most notably with the Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils.
He was known league-wide for having one of the hardest shots of his time, often being yelled at for shooting the puck too hard in practice or warm up. One time, while warming up before a game as a member of the Devils, Richer wound up and fired a rocket at goalie Martin Brodeur.
The shot his Brodeur in the jock and cracked it in half, causing some serious bruising and the delivery of a new jock. It's stories like that, that can make you a legend once your career is over, but when you injure one of the greatest goalies of all time during warm-up, it's probably not that funny at the time.
What might have been most impressive about Richer's shooting ability, was that he only had to wind up to about his waist before letting off an extremely hard shot. A shot that most players would have to put everything they had into, he could simply put half-effort into, and get a harder shot.
Some guys are just born with it.
Richer had 421 career goals, and you can bet on every single one of them, the goalie was left shaking their head in disbelief.
9. Shea Weber
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Shea Weber made his announcement to the NHL that he had a big time slap shot at the 2009 Skills Competition during All Star weekend in Montreal. In the hardest shot competition he wound up and unloaded a 103.4 MPH screamer and sent the crowd into a buzz. Though it wasn't even the hardest shot in the competition (we'll get to that later) it was a message to everyone that he had a harder shot that some had given him credit for.
From then on, and ever before then, Weber has been arguably the hardest shooter in the NHL, and when the world was watching at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, he made sure he put his skills on display again.
In an early round robin game against Germany, Weber scored a goal on a bomb from the point that had the crowd's jaws dropping. It wasn't just that the shot was hard, but that the puck had gone right through the meshing of the net.
He didn't stop there though, as in the blowout 7-2 victory against Russia, Weber came in from the point and received the perfect pass from Jonathan Teows before unloading what might be the hardest shot ever taken in a game. There wasn't a goalie, or brick wall, on this planet that would have stopped that shot, and because of that, no one will ever question the shooting talent of Weber.
Playing in Nashville means he doesn't get the attention that he would in a larger hockey market, but the BC native continually impresses and is already known as one of the best defenders in the NHL at just 25-years-old.
8. Sheldon Souray
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Though he's currently riding the bus down in the minors due to his big contract after demanding a trade from the Edmonton Oilers, Sheldon Souray still has a slap shot that few still in the league can even come close to.
He made a splash in the NHL in his last season with the Montreal Canadiens in 2006-07 when he scored 26 goals, 19 of them on the power play. In that one season he went from every day defenseman to an offensive weapon from the point.
His shot was borderline unstoppable that year, and though his next season was a bust due to injury, he went right back to his scoring ways with Edmonton in 2008-09 when he potted 23 goals. 12 of them on the PP.
Needless to say, the move to the Oilers has not been the best for his career, but Souray will work his way back to the NHL, where fans will once again get to see him load up from the point and send a rocket towards the net.
And of course, we can't forget his perfectly kept facial hair as well.
7. Alex Ovechkin
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You know him as 'The Great Eight', but since 2005 goalies across the league have known him as "oh no, not again". Alex Ovechkin has an absolute cannon of a shot, and by far is the owner of the hardest shot among forwards in the NHL right now.
He can shoot coming in off the wing, from the point on the power play, standing along the boards, or roaring in full speed on an unfortunate goaltender. It just doesn't matter, you simply can't stop the guy. And his 269 goals in 397 career games coming into this season is proof of that.
He has won every individual award you could possibly want as a forward in the NHL, and though a Stanley Cup ring still eludes him to this point, he's on pace to become on of the greatest to ever play the game.
Quite simply, the Washington Capitals would not be where they are today with Ovechkin. He took that franchise from a league afterthought to the most exciting team to watch in the NHL. They were the highest scoring team from last season, thanks to 'Ovie' and that shot of his especially.
Though many of the best shooters of all time have retired, we can be thankful that Ovechkin has barely even begun what looks to be an incredible career ahead of him.
6. Chris Pronger
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Chris Pronger. One of the most feared players in the NHL at the moment, for a variety of reasons stemming from his likelihood to elbow you in the chin, right down to the fact that he's had one of the hardest shots in the history of the game since he walked into the league.
It's not so much that he puts up big numbers every year, as his highest goal total was in 1999-2000 and 2003-04 when he scored 14 goals, but the fact that his shot is so hard that no matter where the puck ends up, a scoring chance usually takes place.
Intimidation in the NHL is not about what you're doing at the moment in any given game, it's what you've done in the past and what you're known for as a player. When it comes to Pronger, he needs no introduction and is considered one of the dirtiest players league-wide.
He won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007 and his 15 points in those 19 playoff games were a big reason they were so successful.
No matter how his career ends up, and how many more suspensions he's given, Pronger's career will always be admired by his fellow players, and he'll always be known as one of the most feared defenders in NHL history.
5. Al Iafrate
He might be most famous for his participation in the Skills Competitions over the years as a hardest shooter competitor, as Al Iafrate rarely disappointed the fans who came to see big time power. In the first ever hardest shot competition in 1990, Iafrate won with a 96.0 MPH shot, a huge number in those days with only wooden sticks being used.
Then in 1993 at the Montreal Forum, Iafrate set the record for the hardest shot that would stand for 16 years. He ripped a shot into the open cage at an astonishing 105.2 MPH, the hardest shot ever recorded in NHL history.
He went on to win the competition one more time the next season as well.
Iafrate had both incredible talent and toughness, and used both to his advantage during his playing days. He scored just 152 goals in his 12-year career, but also piled up 1,301 PIM just for good measure.
Few ever stood up to him on the ice, as his classic mullet-style hair flowed behind him, but when it was all said and done, he'll always be known for the day he shocked the NHL with a single shot.
A shot heard round the league, if you will.
4. Brett Hull
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Like father, like son. Brett Hull made a career out of unloading wicked shots past helpless goalies, scoring 741 goals in his brilliant career. His most impressive season was in 1990-91, when he scored a mind-numbing 86 goals and 131 points in just 78 games as a member of the St. Louis Blues.
Along with his partner in crime with the Blues, Adam Oates, Hull made life terrible for opposing goalies as he would consistently fly in over the line, wind up, and effortlessly let a rocket rip past the goalie.
His trademark was the one-timer from beside the net, down on one knee, with the goalie desperately trying to slide across the crease in time. It was the way he scored many of his early goals, and most memorably, the way he scored his 700th.
Brett Hull, truly one of the greatest players to ever play the game, one of the best natural scorers in NHL history, and the owner of one of the hardest slap shots there will ever be.
3. Zdeno Chara
They call him 'The Big Z' for a reason, as Zdeno Chara is the biggest player to ever play in the NHL. His whopping 6'9", 255 pound frame stands head and shoulders above most of his teammates and opponents, and it also allows him to have the strength that others only dream they could have.
At the 2009 All Star game festivities, during the skills competition, Chara broke Al Iafrate's 16-year record of a 105.2 MPH slap shot by firing his own shot 105.4 MPH, a record that still stands today.
The NHL had to make an exception for Chara, who is forced to use a stick length longer than allowed by league rules, which gives him a slight advantage over others with shorter sticks, but you can't teach size, and Chara was born with a God-given talent to shoot the puck hard.
And shoot it hard he does.
When people talk about an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object, they never realized both could be combined into one man. Chara is a beast on the ice, both physically and offensively, and is largely known as the toughest player to play against in today's NHL.
When he lets his shot go from the point, everyone in the building is holding their breath. He's just that good. He's just that big.
He's just Zdeno Chara.
2. Bobby Hull
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Like son, like father. The father in the most successful father-son duo in NHL history, Bobby Hull made the slap shot into what it is today in the NHL.
Though no one has ever been able to confirm the story, Hull apparently shot a puck 118 MPH during a practice at which they were recording shot speeds. If the tale is true, and Hull was able to put that much torque and power into his shot with a wooden stick, then he might just be the most dangerous man alive with a hockey stick in his hands.
They called him the 'Golden Jet' for both his blond hair and his skating style, as he was one of the best skaters of his era.
He was once recorded saying that he would try and keep goalies thinking when he played against them, first coming in on them and ripping a shot high, right past their ears. Then, the next time he came in on the net, the goalie would think he was shooting high again and shift his weight upwards, while Hull fired a shot along the ice and into the net.
He didn't only have incredible strength, but the way he thought the game was like few before or after him.
He scored 610 career goals, many of the slap shot variety, as he blasted his way into NHL history as the second most feared shooter to ever have the puck on his stick.
1. Al MacInnis
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Was there really ever any doubt who would sit at the top of this list? Al MacInnis is the undisputed champion of the slap shot as no one else was able to fire the puck quite like him.
He played 23 seasons in the NHL, scoring 340 goals and 1,274 points in 1,416 career games.
His shot was always impressive, but it hit legendary status on Jan. 17, 1984 in a game against the St. Louis Blues. MacInnis, then on the Calgary Flames, took a blistering slap shot on goaltender Mike Liut, who took the shot in the mask, splitting it open. To make matters worse, the puck rocketed off the broken helmet and into the net. One of the most impressive displays of power ever witnessed in a game.
On more than one occasion during warm-ups before a game accidentally shot the puck through the end boards. The games would have to be pushed back while the boards were repaired, and while the fans and opposition mentally prepared themselves for what they were about to see in the real game.
He was a seven time winner of the hardest shot competition during All Star game festivities, and never once used anything other than a wooden stick to do his damage.
MacInnis truly was the greatest shooter to ever play in the NHL, and it's unlikely anyone will ever shoot the puck like he was able to do-especially with the lack of technology and equipment they had during his playing days.
Al MacInnis. There will never be another.