NHL Power Rankings: The Biggest Fan Favorite for Each of the NHL's 30 Teams

Erik PaulCorrespondent IApril 19, 2011

NHL Power Rankings: The Biggest Fan Favorite for Each of the NHL's 30 Teams

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    Every team's fans have that one player whom the masses can't help but love (and opponents usually can't help but hate). Sometimes it's the best player on the team, sometimes it's the guy who works the hardest and sometimes, it's that guy who just drives everyone on the other team crazy.

    Whatever the case, that player almost always represents what the culture of the team is all about.

    Here's a look at the fan favorite on every team in the league.

Anaheim Ducks: Teemu Selanne

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    The Finnish Flash became a fan favorite during his first tour of duty in Anaheim. From 1996 through 2001, Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya led the Anaheim Ducks, scoring goals and delighting fans.

    Selanne returned in 2005, and led the Ducks to the Stanley Cup in 2007. What he's doing this year, at age 40, just makes them love him even more.

Atlanta Thrashers: Evander Kane

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    All three Atlanta Thrashers fans love the way Evander Kane mixes skill and grit. I kid, I kid, there are more than three Thrashers fans.

    Kane became a hero around the league when he punched out super-villain Matt Cooke, looking just like his namesake, Evander Holyfield.

Boston Bruins: Milan Lucic

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    The second coming of the not-yet-dead Cam Neely is Milan Lucic, and Bruins fans couldn't be happier! Lucic hits, fights, scores and embodies the Bruins better than anyone has since Neely.

    Lucic's coming-out party happened a couple of years ago, when he hit Mike Van Ryn right through a pane of glass. Ever since, cheers of "Loooooooch!" regularly rain down from the Boston bleachers.

Buffalo Sabres: Tyler Myers

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    They say everything is bigger in Texas, and with Houston-born behemoth Tyler Myers, it certainly holds true. "The Big Easy" stands 6'8" and does almost everything well.

    Myers is a proven winner too—he's already got a U18 World Championship, World Junior Championship and WHL Championship, along with a Calder Trophy from last season.

Calgary Flames: Jarome Iginla

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    Jarome Iginla's been the face of the Calgary Flames, and Calgary in general, for the last 10 years. Iggy does everything from fight to score and the fans go nuts.

    After a fight against Jamie Benn that left Iggy bloodied for this picture, he didn't miss a shift. That's just how Iggy plays. He's been one of the only reasons the Flames have even been close to playoffs the last two years.

Carolina Hurricanes: Jeff Skinner

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    The Caniacs love the kid who's got a great chance to win the Calder Trophy this year. The 18-year-old Jeff Skinner was supposed to be a couple of years away from an NHL spot, but he's come in and shocked everyone, performing well enough to be an NHL All-Star.

    In the NHL All-Star Superskills, PK Subban put on a Hurricanes Skinner jersey for his event, and the crowd went wild!

Chicago Blackhawks: Jonathan Toews & Patrick Kane

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    "Captain Serious" Jonathan Toews and class clown Patrick Kane are the present day odd couple. Kane loves to play jokes, grow playoff mullets and have a lot of crazy fun. Toews is much quieter and more reserved.

    About the only thing they have in common is that they're both incredible players. As you can tell from the video that was part of the 2009 NHL All-Star Game promotions, fans love them both.

    Even in the Hawks' Stanley Cup run, how could you choose between them? Toews won the Conn Smythe, but Kane scored the Cup-winning goal.

Colorado Avalanche: Milan Hejduk

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    Now that Adam Foote has retired, Milan Hejduk is the only remaining member of the Colorado Avalanche's 2001 Stanley Cup-winning team.

    Hejduk is a reminder of the glory days for Avs fans, and with the way this season ended for the Avs, that makes him a favorite.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Rick Nash

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    The Columbus Blue Jackets captain and only superstar in franchise history is the biggest fan favorite in Ohio.

    Rick Nash's blend of power and finesse is incredible to watch, as he'll blow by defenders, then deftly deke the goalie and score.

Dallas Stars: Jamie Benn

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    Dallas Stars youngster Jamie Benn has quickly become a fan favorite with his speed, scoring and physical dominance.

    After bloodying Jarome Iginla in this fight, Benn's game really picked up and he closed out the season with 22 points in his final 20 games. Watch out for him next year!

Detroit Red Wings: Johan Franzen

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    Johan Franzen's playoff clutchness is quickly becoming as legendary as his playoff beard in Detroit. Franzen is one of those rare players who finds a way to significantly elevate his game come playoff time, and it's earned him the adoration of Red Wings fans.

    "The Mule" really found the spotlight in 2008, when he set a Red Wings franchise record with nine goals in a single playoff series—most impressively, it was only a four-game series.

Edmonton Oilers: Linus Omark

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    When Linus Omark had the guts to pull off this move in a shootout in his first NHL game, he became an instant bright spot in a mainly dull season for the Edmonton Oilers.

    Omark consistently pulls off spectacular moves, makes passes that seem impossible and tries ridiculous shootout moves, and the fans love it.

    As Omark better understands the NHL game, he's got all the tools to become a star.

Florida Panthers: Sergei Samsonov

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    When Sergei Samsonov got traded from Carolina to Florida, instantly falling far out of the playoff race, one would think he would have been very disappointed. Samsonov, however, looked 10 years younger, putting up 14 points in 20 games and making fantastic plays virtually every game.

    Samsonov's positive attitude upon arrival quickly won over the few fans who were still attending the Panthers' relatively pointless games.

Los Angeles Kings: Drew Doughty

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    The 21-year-old Drew Doughty already boasts a pretty impressive resume—an Olympic gold medal, a Norris Trophy nomination and 11 points in eight career playoff games.

    His entertaining style of play—hard-hitting, fast and offensively active—has Los Angeles Kings fans more excited than they've been in a long time.

Minnesota Wild: Cal Clutterbuck

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    It's not hard to figure out why Minnesota Wild fans love Cal Clutterbuck—he fights, he scores, he's led the league in hits for three straight seasons and he's got an epic 'stache.

    Clutterbuck's only 23 years old and has a bright future with the Wild.

Montreal Canadiens: PK Subban

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    PK Subban is becoming hated many places around the league for his cocky attitude and style of play. Even other players around the league, like Mike Richards of the Philadelphia Flyers, have spoken out about Subban's perceived lack of respect for the game.

    He sure isn't hated in Montreal though. Habs fans love Subban's exuberance and the excitement he brings to every game. They also love that he's already really good.

Nashville Predators: Mike Fisher

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    Mike Fisher's season in Ottawa was a disaster, but a move to Nashville just before the trade deadline is looking like a brilliant fresh start at the moment.

    Fisher fits well on the blue collar Predators. He works extremely hard, hits, blocks shots, kills penalties and chips in offensively. He's been chipping in a lot lately—Fisher currently leads the playoffs in points.

    Adding to Fisher's popularity in Nashville is the fact he's married to country superstar Carrie Underwood—the headline on the newspaper after Fisher was traded to Nashville read "Welcome to Nashville, Mr. Underwood."

New Jersey Devils: Zach Parise

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    Zach Parise is the heart of the New Jersey Devils and his absence for most of the season is a big reason why the Devils struggled so badly through the first half of the season.

    Parise is one of the best scoring wingers in the league. He has blazing speed and is great defensively and on the penalty kill as well.

    Unfortunately for the cap-strapped Devils, Parise is a restricted free agent this summer and despite being held to only 13 games this season, he's due for a hefty raise.

New York Islanders: Zenon Konopka

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    New York Islanders fans developed an appetite for destruction this season, and Zenon Konopka never failed to deliver. Konopka led the league with 307 penalty minutes, including the second-most fights in the league.

    Konopka became even more beloved when he spoke out about the hotly debated comments made by Mario Lemieux, after a brawl between the Penguins and Islanders.

New York Rangers: Ryan Callahan

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    Widely regarded as the next captain of the New York Rangers (whenever Chris Drury leaves), Ryan Callahan's amazing work ethic is contagious amongst his teammates.

    The fans have fallen in love with Callahan's willingness to block shots, take a hit to make a play or do anything else necessary to win. Callahan's also one of the best Rangers offensively and likely would have led the team in scoring if he hadn't missed 22 games due to injuries.

    The Rangers are sorely missing Callahan during their playoff series with the Washington Capitals—he's out with a broken leg from fearlessly blocking a Zdeno Chara shot.

Ottawa Senators: Daniel Alfredsson

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    Despite having the worst season of his career, in terms of both injuries and production, Daniel Alfredsson is still revered in Ottawa.

    Alfredsson is known as one of the classiest players in the league and has shown tremendous loyalty to the Senators by negotiating contracts quickly and quietly and always taking a substantial "hometown discount."

    It's a shame that it doesn't look like Alfredsson will ever have the chance to win a Stanley Cup.

Philadelphia Flyers: Chris Pronger

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    Chris Pronger embodies everything that the Broad Street Bullies are all about, especially come playoff time. Pronger is mean and nasty and a really good defenseman.

    Last year, in Pronger's first season with the Flyers, he carried them to within two wins of the Stanley Cup and instantly became a fan favorite with the hardcore Flyers fans.

Phoenix Coyotes: Shane Doan

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    Shane Doan's physical play, scoring and leadership make him a favorite on the ice, but what really makes Doan a fan favorite is his work in the community.

    Throughout the Coyotes ownership and moving to Winnipeg debacle, Doan has repeatedly spoken out about the quality of the fanbase in Phoenix, insisting that all that's needed to get them excited is some winning.

    Doan puts the fans first all the time, whether it's visiting sick children at the hospital, interacting with every fan at Coyotes events or donating his personal time to benefit any of dozens of charities in the Phoenix area.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Sidney Crosby

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    Sidney Crosby is the obvious choice for fan favorite in Pittsburgh. Before winning the "Sidney Crosby Draft Lottery" the Penguins were dangerously close to being relocated.

    Then Crosby arrived, every bit as good as advertised, and saved the franchise. Crosby led the Penguins from the league's cellar to a Stanley Cup in only three years and turned the team into one of the most successful in the NHL.

    The Crosby love will reach a whole new level if he's able to return during the Pens' current playoff run.

San Jose Sharks: Douglas Murray

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    Douglas Murray isn't the flashiest player in the league. In fact, he isn't flashy at all, but Murray hits like a truck and the Shark Tank comes to life every time he lays out the opponent's stars.

    Murray's had some epic battles against the likes of Jarome Iginla, Ryan Getzlaf and Jonathan Toews, and Murray usually comes out on top.

St. Louis Blues: David Backes

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    David Backes was one of only three players in the league to have over 200 hits and over 60 points—Dustin Brown and Alex Ovechkin were the others—and it endeared him to the St. Louis Blues faithful.

    Backes also managed to post the second-best plus/minus rating in the league despite playing on the 20th ranked team in the league.

    Backes' willingness to fight and hit, along with his equal effort offensively and defensively, make him loved in St. Louis.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Steve Downie

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning fans are starting to get excited again about having a winning team, but one of the key pieces of the resurgence is spark-plug Steve Downie.

    Downie drives opponents crazy, scores some goals and absolutely demolishes players with monstrous hits.

    Downie's energetic style of play has made him very popular in Tampa Bay.

Toronto Maple Leafs: James Reimer

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    "Optimus Reim" looks to be the best goalie the Toronto Maple Leafs have had in the last several years and the fans are loving it. If you couldn't tell from James Reimer's nickname, Leafs Nation has all but anointed him team savior, and he's prospering from it.

    Reimer posted an impressive 20-10-5 record and helped the Leafs make a late push towards the playoffs—it was the closest they've come since the lockout.

    Reimer has Leafs Nation so excited that if he can keep up his play and lead the Leafs into the playoffs next season, he may well have a statue built in his honor.

Vancouver Canucks: Roberto Luongo

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    Roberto Luongo's playoff struggles have been well documented the last two years, but the Vancouver Canucks and their fan base haven't lost confidence in him yet.

    Every time Luongo makes a save at Rogers Arena, cheers of "Looooouuuuuuuuu" rain down, and if he can bring Vancouver their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, Luongo will be a Canucks legend.

Washington Capitals: Brooks Laich

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    Alexander Ovechkin is hugely popular in Washington, obviously, but Brooks Laich is one that not everyone knows about. Laich is one of those rare athletes who really does care about his fans.

    After last year's devastating loss in Game 7 in the first round of the playoffs, Laich was on his way home and came across two Capitals fans, stranded on the side of the highway with a flat tire. Despite the crushing loss he'd just suffered, Laich stopped and changed the tire for the stranded fans because that's the type of guy he is.

    As for on the ice, Caps fans love Laich's work ethic. He'll do anything he can to help the team, whether it's killing penalties, blocking shots or battling in front of the opponents net to score a critical grinding goal.