The prototypical power forward is a player who combines size, physicality, puck protection skills and scoring ability to wreak havoc on opposing players and on the scoreboard. In today's NHL, power forwards are a dying breed as speed and pure skill continue to take over the sport.
Still, there are a few players currently in the league that have mastered the art of utilizing their large frames to protect the puck, drive to the net and punish the opposition. Here are the 10 best power forwards in the NHL today.
Malone broke into the league with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2003 and scored 43 points (22 goals and 21 assists) in 81 games while also providing grit and physicality. He solidified himself as a high-end power forward during the 2007-08 season when he scored a career-high 51 points, 27 of which were goals, and registered a whopping 103 PIMs.
Now a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Malone has continued to put up points while also being a physical presence and sticking up for his teammates. He notched 38 points (14 goals and 24 assists) in 54 games last season.
Brenden Morrow is a fierce competitor and a highly respected leader on and off the ice. Now an aging veteran approaching the end of his career, Morrow has yet to show any signs of decline as he continues to dominate the league with his rare blend of size and goal-scoring ability.
He posted 33 goals and 23 assists last year for a total of 56 points and didn't miss a single game throughout the entire regular season. In his distinguished 11-year career, Morrow has put up 491 points and 1,088 PIMs in 749 games, cementing his position as one of the greatest power forwards to ever play the game.
A first-round pick in 2003, Dustin Brown has quickly made a name for himself as a terrific open-ice hitter and a highly skilled scorer. At only 26 years old, Brown is already the captain of an NHL franchise and has already registered 305 points in his young career.
Coming off a strong 2010-11 campaign in which he scored 28 goals and added 29 assists for 57 points, all without missing a single game, Brown possesses a rare and valuable set of skills and looks to be well on his way to becoming one of the NHL's elite power forwards.
As skilled at scoring goals as he is at dropping the gloves, Milan Lucic is the classic power forward. He brings a fierce mean streak out onto the ice with him night in and night out and if he isn't contributing on the score sheet, he's laying massive body checks or pummeling opposing players with his fists.
Coming off a career year during which he amassed 30 goals and 32 assists for 62 points, in addition to 121 PIMs, Lucic was an integral part of the Bruins' Stanley Cup victory and is a true competitor. At only 23 years old, he will only continue to improve.
A late bloomer of sorts, Ryane Clowe did not become an NHL regular until 2006, a full five years after he was drafted in the sixth round by the San Jose Sharks. He posted 34 points in 58 games his rookie season and has continued to up his point totals every year since, with the exception of the 2007-08 season during which he played only 15 games before undergoing season-ending surgery.
Clowe is coming off his best campaign to date, putting up 24 goals and 38 assists for 62 points and 100 PIMs last season, and was one of the Sharks' most consistent playoff performers the last two years. At 28 years old he has probably reached his ceiling, but Clowe is without a doubt one of the top power forwards in the NHL today.
Selected first overall by Columbus in 2002, Rick Nash broke into the league fresh out of the draft and tallied 39 points (17 goals and 22 assists) and 78 PIMs in 74 games. Now the captain of the Blue Jackets, Nash brings leadership and a solid all-around game every night and has carried the struggling franchise on his back for the past few years.
Nash has already scored 30 or more goals in a season six times and has two 40-goal campaigns on his resume, as well. He is coming off a strong 2010-11 season in which he notched 35 goals and 34 assists in 75 games.
At 34 years old, Shane Doan is among the oldest players in the NHL today. The undisputed leader and top player on a Phoenix squad on the rise, Doan has refused to let his age slow him down. He is coming off a 60 point season (20 goals and 40 assists) during which he played 72 of 82 games and tallied five points in four playoff games.
With 738 career points in 1,119 games played, there's no question that Doan has earned his place among Brenden Morrow, Brendan Shanahan, Jarome Iginla, Eric Lindros and Todd Bertuzzi as one of the best power forwards in NHL history.
Though Getzlaf has eased up a bit on the physical play and focused more on his play with the puck, he entered the league as a power forward and still plays a power game. Another 2003 first-round pick, Getzlaf broke into the league in 2005 and has scored at just under a point-per-game pace ever since. He established himself as a star at the NHL level in 2008-09 when he potted 25 goals and added 66 assists for 91 points in 81 games, while also racking up 121 PIMs.
Only 26 years old and coming off an impressive season in which he registered 76 points in 67 games, Getzlaf is an elite talent with room to grow and has the ability to become the NHL's top power forward if he continues to play a power game rather than become another playmaking center.
Recipient of the prestigious Maurice "Rocket" Richard trophy awarded to the player who scores the most goals during the regular season, Perry is a unique blend of goal-scorer and agitator. He is a player that teams hate to play against but would kill to have play for them.
Perry possesses elite offensive talent, as demonstrated by his 50-goal and 48-assist campaign last year, and he also knows how to throw a hit and has mastered the art of getting under the opposition's skin. Coupled with Getzlaf, Perry gives the Ducks an explosive duo of power forwards with the ability to break a game wide open.
Mentioned earlier in the article, Jarome Iginla might be the best power forward in the history of the National Hockey League. Drafted 11th overall in 1995 by the Dallas Stars, Iginla has been a prolific scorer his entire career with 1,006 points in 1,106 games. He is only 16 goals away from joining the exclusive 500 Club and has been a terrific playoff performer throughout his career.
Last season, at the ripe age of 34, Iginla was one of the league's leading scorers with 86 points (43 goals and 43 assists) in 82 games on a mediocre Flames squad. A two-time 50 goal scorer and ten-time 30 goal scorer, Jarome Iginla is unquestionably the best power forward in today's NHL and could be the top power forward to ever play the game.