The slap shot is the fastest, hardest shot in hockey. It involves a huge wind-up and a transfer of almost the entire body's energy into the shot.
The slap shot is hockey's equivalent of the long bomb in football, the home run swing in baseball or the Big Dog sell-out drive in golf.
Everyone uses the slap shot in modern day hockey, but there was an era in hockey before the shot had even been imagined. Harder to believe still there was an era where the slap shot was considered too high risk a maneuver to perform in a game.
Players developed the ability to get the shot off. In the no-mask goalie era it became a terror weapon among the league scorers.
There has always been status to be had in possessing the hardest shot in the game which means having the fastest slap shot. Those players who have had that shot are celebrated for it.
The advent of the hardest shot competition at the NHL All-Star Game has provided an opportunity to accurately measure the speed of a slap shot as players compete side by side in the same rink at the same time while being measured with the same radar gun.
There are still problems with accurately determining how fast a particular shot may be and why.
There are even more problems when you try to compare players who have been timed with different guns at different timers. Players from the wooden stick era quite possibly would have had much faster slap shots if they'd played in the era of the composite stick. There's no way to accurately compare slap shot speed from an era where they didn't measure the speed of the shot to players in the modern era.
Despite all these problems, I've tried to put together a list including all those players and how I feel they would have ranked on a level playing field. It involves a lot of speculation and not a little imagination to try to make it work.