Rick Nash is among the few power forwards left in today's NHL
The power forward is a rare species in today's NHL. With the game evolving into one of speed and skill, the physically gifted as well as physically imposing offensive threats are tough to find.
However, these types of players do still exist, just in a somewhat modified form. So, what exactly qualifies a player as a power forward these days?
In my eyes, power forwards do it all, they score, they hit, and they fight. A power forward plays as well on defense as he does on offense, and is among the best competitors on the team.
The NHL may not have the Cam Neely type power forwards of the old days, but the guys on this list represent what is left of the rare breed.
Todd Bertuzzi has not lost his physical play, even at age 35
Todd Bertuzzi makes the list because he is the ideal power forward.
While he is just a shell of what he once was, Bertuzzi was hands down the best power forward in the league during his prime, and still fills that role admirably at age 35.
David Booth has shown flashes of becoming a true power forward
Playing in Florida is hardly an ideal situation to achieve statistical prowess, but David Booth has a 60 point season to his name.
Despite that, he lacks the offensive numbers and does not throw his body around quite enough to be considered an elite power forward.
Nathan Horton is not afraid to drop the gloves with anyone
Nathan Horton is coming into his own as one of the most physically imposing forwards in the game.
Although he has only dropped the gloves twice this season, he has taken down two tough guys in Evander Kane and Dion Phaneuf.
Horton, along with Milan Lucic, is helping to bring back the “Big Bad Bruins” of the old days.
Andrew Ladd has been a tremndous leader up front for the jump start Atalanta Thrashers
Andrew Ladd’s physical presence is under rated. He provides a big body up front for the Thrashers which allows Dustin Byfuglien to slide back and play defense.
Ladd makes a living in front of the net using his size to clean up rebounds.
Corey Perry is not afraid to throw his weight around
Corey Perry helps make up one of the meanest, most powerful lines in the league in Anaheim. An outstanding forechecker, Perry is well on his way to another 70 point season.
Scott Hartnell is as agressive as anyone in the league
Scott Hartnell’s primary role is that of an agitator, but he also carries the power forward title.
Hartnell always finds himself in the middle of the play, compiling his fair share of points, penalty minutes, and checks along the way.
Arguably the best forechecker on Philadelphia’s roster, Scott Hartnell packs a punch in the offensive zone.
Guillame Latendresse personifies the Minnesota Wild
Guillame Latendresse qualifies for the list after scoring 27 goals and averaging over two hits a game last season.
His physical play personifies the attitude of the Minnesota Wild who play a rock ‘em sock ‘em brand of hockey.
Ryane Clowe sets the tone for the Sharks up front
The San Jose Sharks are a highly skilled team with a ton of offensive ability, so having a physical presence like Ryane Clowe up front is a great compliment to all of that skill.
Clowe combines his incredible fighting ability with his great plus minus numbers of recent years to be just the hard hitting forward the Sharks have needed.
Johan Franzen is an essential piece to the puzzle in Dentroit
An important role player for the Detroit Red Wings, Johan Franzen embodies a tough, hardworking playing style, scoring a lot of his goals by crashing the net. He can play the role of enforcer for the Wings but also has the hands to make plays in the offensive zone.
Bobby Ryan is part of one of the best lines in hockey
All of Anaheim’s top liners can be considered amongst the best power forwards in the NHL. Ryan uses his size to generate a lot of the Ducks’ offense as he had over 250 shots on goal last season. His physical presence was essential for the Americans in the Olympics last year.
Dustin Brown is one of the best pure power forwards in the league
Dustin Brown is one of the few remaining pure power fowards. The 2003 first round pick racked up 287 hits last season to go along with his 56 points, and is off to another great start this season.
Brenden Morrow is one of the league's hardest working players
Brenden Morrow is a bit undersized for a power forward at just 5’11’’, but he plays like the power forwards of old. Morrow is physical and does the dirty work in front of the net.
You would be hard pressed to find a more competitive player on both ends of the ice than the Dallas Stars’ captain.
Colorado has to be excited to regain the services of Chris Stewart in the coming weeks
Chris Stewart’s numbers may not support the argument that he is a power forward, but his play certainly does.
Stewart uses his size and power to make room for his line mates and is a vital part of a dangerous Colorado Avalanche scoring attack.
Eric Staal is the catalyst of Carolina's offense
Staal is as valuable to his team as any player on this list. He is a catalyst for the Carolina Hurricanes on offense. He is not an elite checker, but he is tenacious on the forecheck and creates plays in the offensive zone using his size and speed.
David Backes is a jack of all trades for the Blues
Backes has a non stop motor and loves to throw his body around. His 266 hits last season are evidence of that. In addition to being an offensive and physical threat, he is also a tremendous penalty killer.
Milan Lucic has a little of Cam Neely in him
Milan Lucic plays old school hockey. He draws comparisons to former Bruins legend Cam Neely because of the tenacious nature of his playing style.
Lucic is not just an intimidator though, he also has a surprising package of offensive talents that make him a dangerous dual threat up front for Boston.
Joe Thornton does not always use his size to his advantage
Like Rick Nash, Joe Thornton has the size and scoring ability one looks for in a power forward but his physical play leaves something to be desired. He had just 113 hits last season, a number that does not put him among the league’s top five power forwards.
Rick Nash uses his size to create offense for Clumbus
Standing at six feet four inches tall Nash has the size and scoring ability of a traditional power forward.
However, in recent years Nash has not exhibited the level of physical play necessary to find himself in the top five of this list.
Ovechkin is not always thought of as a power forward, but the numbers say he is
While he is most known for his offensive prowess, his statistics mirror those of an elite power forward. As a matter of fact, Ovechkin is the only player in the league with both 25 plus goals and more than 180 hits in each of his last four seasons in the league.
James Neal has emerged as one of the best pure power forwards in the NHL
The Dallas Stars have arguably the best young power forward in the NHL in James Neal. Neal plays a bruising style of hockey that compliments his line mates Brad Richards and Loui Eriksson perfectly. In each of his first two seasons James Neal has 25 plus goals and over 1.5 hits a game.
Shane Doan flies under the radar playing in Phoenix
Shane Doan is one of the most consistent guys on this list, with at least 50 points in each of the last ten seasons.
Perhaps most impressive is the fact that Doan has managed that production without the help of elite talent around him.
At 6’2’’ 225 pounds, Doan has piled up hits and points for the Coyotes throughout his great career.
Ryan Malone generates offense for Tampa Bay's playmakers
Ryan Malone’s physical play tends to get him banged up a bit, but despite that he has managed to net at least 25 goals and 1.5 hits per game over the last three seasons.
Malone is always willing to do the dirty work in front of the net for the Lightning, and the numbers show that.
Jerome Iginla is always ready to come to the defense of his team
Once the unquestioned top power forward in the league, Jerome Iginla’s game has tailed off recently, though he is still among the best in the business.
Iginla embodies all the characteristics of a great power forward with his scoring ability, physical play, and willingness to drop the gloves. Add to that Iginla’s leadership, and he is still one of the NHL’s five best power forwards.
Mike Richards is one of the best two way players in the NHL
Mike Richards lacks the size to be considered a true power forward, but his two way game is amongst the league’s best.
The Flyer captain has the skill set of a playmaker but plays like a power forward. Richards is a consistent scoring threat and is not afraid to drop the gloves with anyone.
The Canadien born center is also one of just three players who has scored 25 goals and averaged 1.5 hits per game in each of the last three seasons.
Ryan Getzlaf is the game's purest power forward
The purest power forward at the center position in the league, Ryan Getzlaf combines his great size with a ton of playmaking ability and a cannon for a shot.
In addition, Getzlaf is a tremendous leader for the Ducks, and has been the center piece of one of the most productive scoring lines in the NHL.