Hockey is a physical game for tough men. However, size is not everything.
Since the lockout, an emphasis has been put on speed in the NHL. Naturally, this has increased the value of some of the smaller players in the league.
So, let's take a trip down memory lane and examine some of the greatest little guys in the history of the NHL.
Sergei Samsonov was not blessed with very much height. But he has used every bit of the 5'8'' that he was given. Samsonov's game is focused on speed and skill, and he has been a consistently effective player throughout his career.
Paul Kariya was 5'10'' tall and weighed in at just 180 pounds. He was fragile but an incredibly skilled skater and puck handler. Thus, despite various injuries due to his small frame, Kariya was able to average exactly one point per game in his NHL career.
Brian Gionta is tiny. 5'7'' tall and 173 pounds is far from an ideal NHL body type. However, Gionta manages to consistently put up 20 or more goals. He even had an 89 point season at one point in his career. The Canadiens' captain brings a lot to the table.
Darcy Tucker played much bigger than the program listed him. On paper, his 5'10'', 175 pound body was not very imposing. However, Tucker was a scrappy player throughout his career, willing to go into the corners with the biggest and baddest. Granted, Tucker also took a dive or two throughout his career. But, hey, who's counting?
OK, so Brett Hull isn't the smallest guy in the world, but he was listed at just 5'10'' tall. His 200 pound body could take a beating and he absolutely lit up the NHL during his playing days. He is not a traditional little guy, so he is a bit farther down this list.
Theo Fluery was an outstanding player to watch. He played at just 5'6'' tall, but he managed to get under the skin of so many opposing players. Not to mention, Fluery was a point per game player, piling up over 1,000 career points.
Twelve hundred points is not bad for any NHL player. But when that player stands at barely 5'10'' tall and weighs a generous 180 pounds, the accomplishment is all the more impressive. Dino Ciccarelli was one of the first successful little guys to grace the league.
Martin St. Louis is a bottle rocket of offensive ability for the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was dubbed too small and went undrafted. Since, the Vermont product has accumulated 778 career NHL points. I would say he proved his critics wrong.
Dominik Hasek was 6'1'' tall, so he was not a little guy in the traditional sense. However, Hasek was only 165 pounds and just looked tiny in the goal. His flexibility was off the charts. The Dominator didn't take up a ton of the net, but he amassed insane statistics during his career.
Marcel Dionne was truly the greatest little man to ever play the game. He was only 5'8'' tall but still dominated throughout his NHL career. The greatest player in Kings' history, Dionne racked up over 1,700 points during his career. At his height, or any height, that is astounding.