In hockey, you generally have a forward who fills one role.
The first and second line guys are your scorers, they run the offense and their job is to get you the goals, the third and fourth line guys are your grinders, they're hardworking, aggressive and will flatten out players with bone-crushing hits, and then you have your enforcers, there are usually one or two of them on a team and their job is to protect their teammates and drop the gloves when need be.
Those are the three main player types, but there is that one special kind of player who fills each role by himself, a very rare breed in the NHL who combines size, skill and toughness to invent himself as one of the most exciting and complete players in the game. That man is a power forward.
There is much debate over what makes a genuine power forward. Many people believe that if you use your size and strength to power to the net to score goals, then that constitutes you as a power forward.
That is certainly part of the package, but to be a true power forward you have to be skilled, you have to finish your checks and you won't shy away from a fight if the situation presents itself.
Players like Alex Ovechkin, Rick Nash, Bobby Ryan and Johan Franzen, although tremendously skilled and will dish out a good amount of hits, they all lack that mean streak and will rarely or never fight to stick up for themselves or for their teammates.
In my opinion, to be a true power forward you have to toss the mitts at least a couple times a season; this is why you will not see players like the ones described above on this list.
That being said, here are the top 10 power forwards in the NHL today (Neely-esque not Forsberg-esque).
Note: preseason and playoff fights included in totals.
Definitely exemplifies the power forward position, but he is a bit undersized and slowed down slightly last year both in scoring and tenacity.
Great power forward, the only reason he didn't crack the top 10 is because of age and experience; after this season, he will make it for sure.
Two years ago, he would have easily made the top 10, has since redefined his style as more of a two-way forward rather than a power forward. Playing more like Datsyuk and less like Iginla.
Shane Doan, Andrew Ladd, James Neal, Brandon Dubinsky, Wayne Simmonds, Ryan Malone, Troy Brouwer, Ryan Callahan, Dustin Brown, Evander Kane, Steve Ott, Steve Downie, Brad Marchand, Vincent Lecavalier, Mike Fisher, Alex Burrows
6-2 229 lbs
2010-11 Season Statistics: 80GP 26G 27A 53PTS 85PIM 74Hits 8Fights
Last 3 Seasons: 212GP 68G 87A 155PTS 175PIM 203Hits 11Fights
Coming off a Stanley Cup-winning season with Boston, Horton has established himself as an impact player, and the Bruins fans are loving it.
He has become a lot more aggressive since leaving Florida, as nearly half of his career fighting majors came last season. Just needs to throw his body around a bit more and he will climb up the list.
6-3 206 lbs
2010-11 Season Statistics: 82GP 50G 48A 98PTS 104PIM 64Hits 6Fights
Last 3 Seasons: 242GP 109G 137A 246PTS 324PIM 266Hits 17Fights
Last season's Hart and Rocket Richard trophy winner may be considered more of an agitator then a power forward, but the fact is he is both.
He uses his big body to his advantage and racks up a decent amount of hits, and let's face it, it's pretty cool seeing a 50-goal scorer drop the gloves six times a year (even if his opponents are the likes of Datsyuk).
He doesn't have to fight, but yet he will assert himself if need be; for that, I applaud Perry.
6-0 205 lbs
2010-11 Season Statistics: 82GP 33G 23A 56PTS 76PIM 225Hits 2Fights
Last 3 Seasons: 176GP 58G 59A 117PTS 194PIM 508Hits 4Fights
One of the best power forwards of the decade, Morrow has made a name for himself as a leader, goal scorer and someone not to mess with.
He may be the smallest player on this list, but he makes up for it by dishing out a huge amount of hits and scrapping with much larger opponents.
He has slowed down a bit since his heyday, but he is by far still worthy of a nod.
6-2 210 lbs
2010-11 Season Statistics: 82GP 24G 25A 49PTS 142PIM 168Hits 8Fights
Last 3 Seasons: 245GP 68G 85A 153PTS 440PIM 410Hits 27Fights
Hartnell's the kind of player that unless he plays for your team, you despise him, but he likes it that way.
The truth is he does everything for his team. He will score goals, make excellent passes, deliver a big hit, participate in a fight and get under players' skins; whatever the situation calls for, Hartnell will do it and devote himself 100 percent to it.
He has a few cheap shots to his name, but there's still no denying his importance to his team and his place among the league's best power forwards.
6-2 228 lbs
2010-11 Season Statistics: 62GP 28G 25A 53PTS 53PIM 56Hits 4Fights
Last 3 Seasons: 192GP 67G 69A 136PTS 180PIM 236Hits 21Fights
You won't see many near-point per game players fighting with the likes of Arron Asham, Colton Orr, Zenon Konopka or Derek Dorsett, well...except for Chris Stewart.
Stewart is one of the toughest guys in the league who just happens to put up high-quality numbers that some of the other power forwards can only dream about.
If an injury hadn't stopped him last year, he might have had a 40-goal season under his belt. At 24 years old, he will only keep getting better, and his strength and toughness will help him along the way.
6-4 220 lbs
2010-11 Season Statistics: 67GP 19G 57A 76PTS 35PIM 189Hits 2Fights
Last 3 Seasons: 214GP 63G 173A 236PTS 235PIM 501Hits 11Fights
Even rarer than a power forward is a power forward who's also a playmaker, and Ryan Getzlaf fits that description.
He puts up incredible point totals while delivering a huge amount of hits and dropping the gloves when necessary.
He uses his large frame to protect the puck and power towards the net in order to set up prime scoring opportunities for himself and his linemates.
Getzlaf is simply one of the best.
6-1 207 lbs
2010-11 Season Statistics: 82GP 43G 43A 86PTS 40PIM 103Hits 2Fights
Last 3 Seasons: 246GP 110G 134A 244PTS 135PIM 271Hits 11Fights
What more can you say about Jarome Iginla? Easily one of the top ten greatest power forwards of all time. He does it all for Calgary and has been the teams' backbone for more then a decade.
He's 34-years-old and still puts up amazing numbers. The only reason he is not higher on the list is because he's not as physical as he once was.
I'm not saying he isn't physical, but he isn't going to put up 200 hits and 10 fights a season anymore, although he can still throw down with anybody (Iginla vs. Benn was one of the best fights of last year).
6-3 228 lbs
2010-11 Season Statistics: 79GP 30G 32A 62PTS 121PIM 167Hits 9Fights
Last 3 Seasons: 201GP 56G 68A 124PTS 301PIM 570Hits 27Fights
After a breakout season, Milan Lucic has established himself as one of the best power forwards in the league today.
He's been called the new Cam Neely of Boston, and that title isn't too far from the truth, as last years numbers clearly show.
Lucic's combination of scoring, hitting and fighting is unmatched by nearly every player in the NHL, with the next two being the only exceptions.
6-3 225 lbs
2010-11 Season Statistics: 82GP 31G 31A 62PTS 93PIM 213Hits 5Fights
Last 3 Seasons: 243GP 79G 85A 164PTS 364PIM 683Hits 17Fights
Being the least publicized great player in the NHL, many people will disagree with this pick, but the St. Louis Blues captain is everything a power forward should be and then some.
Backes plays every game like it’s his last, he is extremely skilled, tough, hardworking and probably the best defensively oriented power forward in the league today, as he led all forwards and nearly all defensemen in plus/minus last season (Chara was +1 ahead of him).
He may be the most complete player in the NHL, but because he is not on a powerhouse team, not too many people realize this. The only reason he is not No. 1 is because the number of fights he participates in pales in comparison to the No. 1 pick.
6-2 225 lbs
2010-11 Season Statistics: 75GP 24G 38A 62PTS 100PIM 153Hits 14Fights
Last 3 Seasons: 228GP 65G 106A 171PTS 282PIM 445Hits 33Fights
People might be surprised with this pick also, but they really shouldn't be, I mean look at those stats. The way Clowe plays and how he can do so much all by himself is almost superhuman.
Because he plays for San Jose, he is often overshadowed by the superstars that grace that team and it's a crying shame that he's not more recognized. I don't think any player on San Jose or in the league for that matter contributes as much as Clowe contributes to his team, day in and day out.
He is the closest thing to an old-time power forward that we have in the NHL today, he's a modern day Wendel Clark, Rick Tocchet or even Eric Lindros which makes him one of the most exciting players to watch.
He is a player that any team in the league would love to have. Clowe puts up the points of a first liner, the hits of a grinder and the fights of an enforcer, that is the reason why he is No. 1.