NHL Power Rankings: Rating the Biggest Character on Each Team
Hockey is a game chock full of the world’s best athletes.
However, the game also includes some of the biggest characters in the sports world.
Hockey players are a rare breed to begin with, but some players stand out based on their unique blend of personality and value to the team.
Here is a power ranking of the biggest character on each NHL team.
30. Stephen Weiss, C, Florida Panthers
Stephen Weiss is the longest tenured Florida Panther.
He was the team’s leading point scorer and serves as an alternate captain.
Weiss also finished third on the Panthers in penalty minutes, so he’s not afraid to be an agitator.
29. Ed Jovanovski, D, Phoenix Coyotes
A seasoned, well-decorated offensive-minded defenseman, Ed Jovanovski provides veteran leadership to the Phoenix Coyotes young squad.
He was plagued by injury in the 2010-11 season but recorded over 25 assists in his previous three seasons.
Jovanovski also provides strong, agitating defense, recording over 100 PIM's in the 2008-09 season.
He played in his 1,000th game this season.
28. Joe Thornton, C, San Jose Sharks
Joe Thornton is the Sharks’ captain, who is known for his high-intensity style of play.
In 2003, he was accused of hitting two police officers. However, this incident happened while Thornton was coming to his brother’s aid.
He takes his share of penalty minutes, but more importantly is a leader on a team that is battling for a Stanley Cup Finals berth.
27. Jordin Tootoo, RW, Nashville Predators
Jordin Tootoo has gained a reputation of being a dirty player on the ice.
He’s been suspended twice: March and October of 2007 for brutal on-ice incidents involving hits to the head.
He began his career with three straight seasons of 100-plus penalty minutes.
26. Eric Staal, C, Carolina Hurricanes
Eric Staal is simply a gamer.
He’s played through injury and has set the tone for his younger teammates.
He’s been the team’s captain for two seasons and has had his share of penalty minutes.
25. Bobby Ryan, LW, Anaheim Ducks
Bobby Ryan is a good young goal scorer and a grinder.
He plays hard, but his immaturity caught up with him in this year’s playoffs.
Along the board, Ryan stomped on Nashville Predator Jonathan Blum’s ankle with his skate blade.
24. Todd Bertuzzi, RW, Detroit Red Wings
Todd Bertuzzi can certainly be considered a character based on his memorable sucker punch of Steve Moore.
Back in 2006, Bertuzzi grabbed Moore from behind and delivered a haymaker right to the head.
He’s learned his lesson since this incident but will always be remembered for it.
23. Cal Clutterbuck, RW, Minnesota Wild
Cal Clutterbuck instantly became a fan favorite during the 2008 season for the Minnesota Wild.
During that year, he broke the NHL record for hits in a season with 356.
With his catchy name and creative facial hair, he’ll continue winning over fans in Minnesota.
22. Ales Hemsky, RW, Edmonton Oilers
Ales Hemsky has been a true grinder for the Edmonton Oilers.
He’s no stranger to missing time due to injury and has gained a reputation for being injury-prone.
Oilers fans wish he could stay on the ice because he’s been so productive when healthy.
21. Rick Nash, RW, Columbus Blue Jackets
Though he plays on one of the lesser known NHL teams, Rick Nash is slowly making a name for himself.
He’s put together four straight 30-plus goal seasons.
He signed a big contract extension to remain the Blue Jackets and continue serving as their captain.
20. Kevin Westgarth, LW, Los Angeles Kings
Kevin Westgarth’s second home is the penalty box.
He’s been a bruiser since his college days at Princeton and racked up 105 penalty minutes in his first full season.
In 14 AHL games in 2007, Westgarth tallied 44 PIM.
19. Raffi Torres, RW, Vancouver Canucks
Raffi Torres has bounced around between five different teams during his seven-year career.
During these years, he has developed a reputation as an enforcer.
He was suspended for a hit on Jordan Eberle of the Edmonton Oilers this season and also laid a heavy hit on Brent Seabrook in the playoffs.
18. Jonathan Toews, C, Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews has already accomplished so much during his NHL career.
The 23-year-old is the youngest captain in the league and has already won a Stanley Cup.
He’s a grinder that plays hard and is the type of player any general manager would love to build their team around.
17. David Clarkson, C, New Jersey Devils
David Clarkson has become one of the more popular players in New Jersey due to his aggressive style of play.
He’s an agitator who spends significant time in the penalty box.
For the Albany River Rats in 2005-2006, Clarkson recorded an astounding 233 PIM.
16. Cody McLeod, LW, Colorado Avalanche
Cody McLeod earned his character status in 2008 during a game in Detroit against the Red Wings.
He picked up the traditional octopus that is thrown on the ice when the Red Wings score a goal, and threw it back into the stands.
In addition to this incident, he spends a great deal of time in the penalty box for his aggressive style of play.
15. Ryan Miller, G, Buffalo Sabres
Ryan Miller is joining the likes of Roberto Luongo and Henrik Lundqvist as the best goalies in the league.
He’s become one of the leaders of a veteran Buffalo Sabres team, though he’s only played five full seasons.
He is a dominant force in between the pipes and even isn’t afraid to knock players around in the crease. Just ask Matt Stajan.
14. Cam Janssen, RW, St. Louis Blues
Cam Janssen is the definition of a hockey “goon.”
He’s always instigating and agitating and has even injured himself in some of his fights.
Ironically, he was dubbed as the “Four Minute Man” in 2009-2010. That year, he averaged as much ice time as penalty minutes per game.
13. Chris Neil, RW, Ottawa Senators
Chris Neal is also a goon.
He’s served as the Ottawa Senators’ enforcer the last few years.
Neal is not one for scoring a great deal of points, but he’ll make up for that by taking a boat load of penalty minutes.
12. Dustin Byfuglien, D, Atlanta Thrashers
Dustin Byfuglien is known as “Big Buff” by his teammates.
He’s a versatile athlete and has already won a Stanley Cup—2010 with the Chicago Blackhawks.
He’s a very intense player with lots of grit and determination.
11. Colton Orr, RW, Toronto Maple Leafs
What do you get when you combine six points with 239 penalty minutes?
You get Colton Orr’s 2009-2010 season. Though he may not score many points, his role on the team is as an enforcer.
He’s been suspended twice in his career: once for a cross-check to Alex Ovechkin’s face and once for a knee-to-knee hit on Logan Couture.
10. Zenon Konopka, C, New York Islanders
Zenon Konopka led the NHL with 307 PIM this season.
He’s bounced around the league and has brought his prowess for starting fights with him to each stop.
He’s a typical fourth line center and enforcer.
9. Steve Downie, RW, Tampa Bay Lightning
Steve Downie is known for his intense style of play.
Unfortunately for him, it has landed him with multiple suspensions, including two 20-game suspensions.
He slashed a referee in the AHL and has been known to leave his skates during checks.
8. Steve Ott, C, Dallas Stars
Steve Ott is listed as No. 3 on The Sports Network’s top-10 agitators of all time.
He’s always ready to drop the gloves to give his team some motivation.
He’s been suspended several times for some brutal hits, including an eye-gouging hit on Travis Moen.
7. Maxime Talbot, C, Pittsburgh Penguins
Maxime Talbot is a true character.
He once wore teammate Sidney Crosby’s jersey during a practice to confuse the crowd in Toronto.
Talbot has appeared in multiple television commercials and even called out Alex Ovechkin for being a “real douche.”
6. Jarome Iginla, RW, Calgary Flames
Jarome Iginla is on this list for a different reason that being a goon.
Iginla is an intense player on the ice but is a fun-loving character off the ice.
He is always present at community events and donates $2,000 for each goal he scores.
He is also a spokesman for Scotiabank and Samsung Canada, so his face is widely recognized.
5. Chris Pronger, D, Philadelphia Flyers
Chris Pronger is a larger-than-life figure, standing at 6’6”, 220 pounds.
He’s been in the league forever and has been a physical presence his entire career.
He joins Jean-Sebastien Giguere as the only two former Hartford Whalers still active in the NHL.
4. Milan Lucic, LW, Boston Bruins
Milan Lucic is known for his physical style of play.
He’s an animated player that has had several on-ice incidents that have added to his tenacity.
While he’s been suspended and fined for some of his action including an obscene gesture to the Atlanta Thrashers fans, he’s been a vital part of the Boston Bruins success this year.
3. P.K. Subban, D, Montreal Canadiens
P.K. Subban is one of the most intense players in the game today.
He has a fiery attitude, despite his relatively small body type for a defenseman.
Twice during this year’s playoffs, he memorably chest bumped Montreal Canadiens’ goaltender Carey Price after scoring the game-winning goal.
2. Sean Avery, LW, New York Rangers
Sean Avery of the New York Rangers has built his reputation around instigating other players.
Few games go by without him dropping his gloves and spending time in the penalty box.
He has undergone anger management treatment and structured counseling.
He memorably disputed with Devils goalie Martin Brodeur during the 2008 playoffs. In fact, the NHL instituted a new rule called the “Sean Avery rule” in which a player cannot turn his back on the play and wave his stick in front of the goalie.
1. Alex Ovechkin, LW, Washington Capitals
Every time Alex Ovechkin scores a goal, you’d think that he never scored before.
His emotional celebrations have added to his character.
While he is a goal-scoring machine, he’s also known for his sometimes reckless style of play. He’s been suspended twice for on-ice incidents.
His charismatic personality and obnoxious comments have allowed him to top the list of the NHL’s biggest characters.
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