The NHL's 15 Best Power Forwards of All Time
The NHL is a league filled with skilled competitors and hard hitting enforcers. Every once in a while, however, a player comes along that possesses both the toughness and the scoring ability to be considered a true power forward.
Some of the best players in league history made their living using their hands for fighting as much as for putting the puck in the net.
The power forwards throughout history have been key contributors to their teams' successes, and that's why this list contains current players as well as those already in the Hall of Fame.
Let's see who was tough and skilled enough to make the list.
15. Eric Lindros
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The Big E had a shortened career due to injury but at one point in his career he used his enormous frame to score a serious number of goals.
Had Lindros not succumbed to several concussions in his career he would've put up tremendous numbers as well as been a major force for any team he played for.
14. Kevin Stevens
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Stevens was an integral part of the Penguins' back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in the early 1990s. He racked up significant point totals as well as a large number of penalty minutes.
His big frame—6'3", 230—allowed him to bully his way towards some big goals and help out his superstar teammates to raise the cup.
13. Johan Franzen
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You don't get a nickname like "Mule" for nothing.
Franzen bullies his way to goals and is a tough competitor. He is an integral part of Detroit's offense and due to his toughness and skill he will continue to be for a long time.
12. Keith Tkachuk
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Tkachuk is undoubtedly one of the best American-born players to ever play in the NHL.
He was the first American hockey player to lead the league in goals with 52 in 1997, the same year he totaled 228 penalty minutes.
Tkachuk was as gritty as they come and he could score just as well.
11. Rick Nash
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Nash is one of the most prolific scorers in the game today and the way he weaves his 6'4" frame through defenders is nothing short of spectacular.
He is always a threat to score with the puck on his stick and considering his size, that is definitely impressive.
10. John LeClair
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LeClair was part of the Legion of Doom, that pretty much sums it up right there.
LeClair was an incredible talent and always knew how to throw his weight around in front of the net. He was a fierce competitor who was as tough as any. Not only that, but he racked up nearly 100 points several times.
9. Wendel Clark
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Wendel is definitely one of the best power forwards in Maple Leafs history. I mean, come on, look at that mustache!
He was great at scoring big goals, as well as throwing his fists around. Wendel was one tough player and battled for points whenever he could.
8. Joe Thornton
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Jumbo Joe is one tough player. He's a big body who is always near the top of the league standings in points.
Known for his assist totals and broad shoulders, Thornton is one of the best definitions of power forwards in the league today.
7. Brendan Shanahan
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The new disciplinarian in the NHL used to be known for something else.
He racked up the points as well as the penalty minutes. Shanahan knows how intense some players could be on the ice, and uses that knowledge in his disciplinary hearings today. He was a major part in Detroit's Stanley Cup victories and used his big body to make positive things happen on the ice.
6. Clark Gillies
Just look at that beard. It's pretty fierce.
Gillies was part of the four consecutive Stanley Cup wins that the Islanders strung together in the 1980s. Someone had to step up and protect Bossy, Trottier and the other Islander stars on a nightly basis, right?
Close to 1,000 games, over 1,000 penalty minutes and nearly 700 total points. Sounds like a power forward to me.
5. Jarome Iginla
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Iginla is one of the most consistent scorers in the league today, and one of its fiercest competitors.
He scores with ease and throws menacing checks when necessary. With almost 800 penalty minutes in his career and over 1,000 points, Iginla could be a future Hall of Fame candidate, and is certainly an excellent power forward.
4. Phil Esposito
Espo was an unbelievable scorer and also as tough as any player in the league, then or now.
He was a hard checking, hard shooting player who scored with ease and bullied defenders in front of the net on every play.
3. Cam Neely
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For a guy that could score 50 goals in a season and pile up triple digit penalty minutes, Neely was an incredible talent.
He was an amazing player who scored almost without trying, and never backed down from a big check or a major fight. It's a shame his career was cut short by injuries or his numbers would have been even better.
2. Mark Messier
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Over 1,700 games, almost 2,000 penalty minutes. Oh, and over 1,800 total points too.
Messier was as tough as they come and could score with the best of them. He is one of the most skilled players in NHL history and also one of the toughest. Messier definitely put the "power" in power forward.
1. Gordie Howe
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Mr. Hockey played more than 30 years of professional hockey and finished as one of the best scorers the game has ever seen.
He was tough, very skilled and an incredible power forward. How else do you get a hat trick that involves a goal, assist and fight named after you?