NHL Power Rankings: Top 10 Hockey Players Who Would Have Rocked Another Sport
When it comes to the debate over which sport has the best athletes, hockey players are often at the forefront of this discussion.
With hockey being such a physically demanding sport, players are required to be in top shape.
Certain NHLers have a unique trait or physical attribute that makes them a candidate to succeed at another sport.
Whether it be height or past success in another sport, each of the players in this list possess a gift that would have allowed them to rock another sport.
So enjoy the list of 10 guys in the NHL today who could ply their trade in another sport.
Dustin Byfuglien: Football
Listed on NHL.com at 6’5” 265-lbs, Byfuglien looks more like a linebacker than a defenseman.
And with 140 hits this season, chasing quarterbacks looks like it would have been a decent career choice.
Byfuglien has already proven his versatility on the ice, shifting from the wing back to defence and even achieving career-highs in goals and assists this year while patrolling the blueline for the Thrashers.
After his smooth transition on the ice, who’s to say “Big Buff” can’t change sports altogether and play linebacker for the Falcons?
Michael Grabner: Track & Field
The winner of the fastest skater competition at this year’s All-Star festivities in Carolina, Grabner emerged this season as a bona fide scorer.
His lap of 14.238 seconds in January was better than any other All-Star and seemed to give him a boost of confidence for the second half of the season.
Truth be told, I have never seen Grabner sprint, but you have to believe the guy would be able to run pretty quick if he can move like that on the ice.
Perhaps there could be a future for him on the not so decorated Austrian track team.
George Parros: Boxing
Parros led the league in fighting majors in 2010-11 with 27 fights and regularly finds himself near the top of NHL in this stat.
Standing at 6’5” and 225-lbs, he is one of the more intimidating fighters in the league.
Naturally, his on-ice talents would translate well into the boxing ring.
If he can fight like he does on skates, imagine how well he could fight on his feet? And with a moustache like that, he would instantly give heavyweight boxing a recognizable face.
It is hard to believe that Parros graduated from Princeton with a degree in economics, then decided to ply his trade as a fighter in the NHL.
Sean Avery: Soccer
Arguably one of the most hated players in the league, Avery is also well known as a diver.
He would fit right in with some of the soccer players of today who seem to stop at nothing in order to draw fouls.
As this video shows here, Avery already has that aspect of the game down. And his interest in fashion would allow him to fit right in with some of the most famous soccer players of the world.
Whether he can kick a ball or not remains to be seen, but his numerous embellishments over the years have certainly prepared him well for a career in soccer.
Zdeno Chara: Basketball
Chara is the tallest player to ever play in the NHL, standing at a whopping 6’9”.
It goes without saying that he would have definitely been able to play basketball at some level with that size.
With the Boston Celtics currently relying on the aging Shaquille O’Neal as their starting center and the Bruins already down two games in their series, perhaps Chara could switch Boston teams and help the Celtics during their playoff run?
Marc-Andre Fleury: Baseball
As one of the game’s more flexible goalies, Fleury has emerged as one of the league’s premier netminders.
In addition to winning the Stanley Cup in 2009, he was also Canada’s third goalie in last year’s Olympic triumph.
Being a goalie, his abilities would seemingly make him a strong catcher in the mould of Joe Mauer. But with his quickness and agility, I can also picture him as a defensive stud manning the hot corner.
While Fleury wouldn’t intimidate many pitchers with his size in the batter’s box, his strong glove hand would make him a defensive asset for any team.
Who knows, maybe it’s what the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates need?
John Tavares: Lacrosse
Prior to being granted “exceptional player” status by the OHL in order enter the draft at 14, Tavares was a decorated lacrosse player who certainly could have made a career of it.
In fact, his uncle John is the National Lacrosse League’s all-time scoring leader.
Tavares credits lacrosse for helping him improve as a hockey player and there is no doubt he could have followed in the footsteps of his uncle.
But after scoring a total of 53 goals in his first two seasons in the NHL, it appears he may have made the right career choice.
Hal Gill: Football
Growing up in Massachusetts, Gill was a quarterback first and a hockey player second.
Standing at 6’7”, he had the size and arm strength that drew interest from U.S. colleges.
Due to his lack of mobility, Gill decided he would be better off as a stay at home defenseman and decided to focus solely on hockey following high school.
His Stanley Cup victory with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009 would suggest he made the correct choice.
Derek Boogaard: Football
The "Boogeyman" is one of the better fighters in the league, and was even voted as the second-most intimidating player in the NHL in a 2007 player poll.
Standing at 6'7" and 265-lbs, his size resembles that of a tight end more than a hockey player.
And judging by his one goal in the past six seasons, perhaps he would have been better off using his size as a football player.
Jarome Iginla: Baseball
As one of the most consistent NHLers over the past decade, Iginla has shown fans across the NHL that he can seemingly do everything.
As a kid growing up in Edmonton, Iginla was no different. In addition to hockey he played baseball, even playing catcher for the Canadian National Junior team.
Iggy has always seemed to be the kind of guy that would be good at any sport he tried.
I'm convinced that he could have succeeded at baseball if he continued pursuing that dream.
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