NHL's Top 25 Best Hockey Players of All Time Under Six Feet Tall

Jason Sapunka@moreSapunkaCorrespondent IIDecember 8, 2011

NHL's Top 25 Best Hockey Players of All Time Under Six Feet Tall

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    One of hockey's greatest aspects is the diversity among player types. The dynamic methods of winning NHL games allows for players who are not only big and strong, but small and agile to be effective at the sport's highest level.

    This allows for 5' 8" forward Martin St. Louis to win the same Hart Trophy in 2004 that was awarded to 6' 6" defenseman Chris Pronger in 2000.

    Throughout the years, many players have shown that size really doesn't matter if the skill is there. Here are the NHL's top 25 best players with a height of 5' 11" or below.

25. Ted Lindsay

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    Ted Lindsay played in 11 consecutive All-Star games. During those years, Lindsay won four Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings and led the league in goals and points once.

    If this wasn't enough, Lindsay went on to establish the NHL Player's Association in 1957, leading to Detroit's general manager Jack Adams trading him to the Chicago Blackhawks.

24. Newsy Lalonde

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    Newsy Lalond spent time with the NHA's Montreal Canadiens before the franchise joined the newly-formed NHL in 1917.

    He won two NHA scoring titles and set a league record with nine goals in one game.

    He went on to lead the NHL in points twice.

    The 5' 9" center was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1950.

23. Bernie Parent

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    Bernie Parent took a while to become known as the Philadelphia Flyers' greatest goalie of all-time.

    Parent made his NHL debut in the 1965-66 season with the Boston Bruins, where he would play until the Flyers claimed him in the 1967 expansion draft.

    The Flyers traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1971. He played in the WHA for one season (with the Miami Screaming Eagles, then the Philadelphia Blazers) before returning to the NHL.

    He forced Toronto, who had his rights in the NHL, to trade him to the Flyers.

    In the next two seasons, he became a legend, winning back-to-back Vezina Trophies, Conn Smythe Trophies, and Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975.

    His 47 wins in the 1973-74 season was an NHL record that stood for 33 years until Martin Brodeur won 48 in the 2006-07 season.

    Parent also tied 12 games that season. Had Parent's games gone to shootouts like Brodeur's, it is likely Brodeur would not own that record.

22. Dickie Moore

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    When Gordie Howe scored 86 points in the 1950-51 season, he broke the NHL record of 82 previously held by Herb Cain. Howe matched that total the next season before scoring 95 in the 1952-53 season.

    That record stood for just six years before Dickie Moore beat it by one in the 1958-59 season.

    Moore's 96 points earned him his second consecutive Art Ross Trophy; he'd won it the year before with 84 points while also leading the NHL in goals, with 36.

    The 1974 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee totaled 608 points over 719 games, spending most of his career with the Montreal Canadiens.

21. Henri Richard

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    The 5' 7" Richard was a member of an unbelievable 11 different Stanley Cup-winning Montreal Canadiens teams.

    Richard twice led the NHL in assists, playing alongside other greats such as Dickie Moore, Jean Beliveau and Bernie Geoffrion.

20. Bernie Geoffrion

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    Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion was the second player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a season. During that 1960-61 season, Geoffrion added 45 assists for a 95-point Hart Trophy-winning season.

    Geoffrion scored a total of 822 points in 883 career games.

19. Tony Esposito

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    Tony Esposito made his NHL debut with the Montreal Canadiens during the 1968-69 season, playing in 13 games.

    He was traded to Chicago before the next season and recorded what is arguably the greatest rookie season by a goalie in NHL history.

    Esposito won the Calder and Vezina Trophies by winning 38 of 63 games played. His 15 shutouts that season is the most since 1929.

    The closest anyone has come to that since is Dominik Hasek, who shut out 13 games in the 1997-98 season.

    Esposito won two more Vezina Trophies during his career and is seventh among the NHL's career wins and shutouts leaders.

18. Brett Hull

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    Brett Hull's 741 goals is third all time in goals scored, behind only The Great One and Mr. Hockey.

    His career goals-per-game ratio of 0.58 is nearly identical to Wayne Gretzky's 0.60. (Using this ratio to judge, Hull would have scored 862 goals, just 32 less than Gretzky.)

    Only Gretzky has scored more goals in a single season than Hull's 86 in the 1990-91 season. Mario Lemieux is the only other player to score more than 80 points in a season.

    The three-time NHL goal-scoring leader also won a Hart Trophy in 1991 and scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Dallas Stars in 1999 (much to the dismay of Buffalo Sabres fans).

17. George Hainsworth

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    George Hainsworth did not have a bad rookie season, winning 28 of 44 games in the 1926-27 NHL season. Half of the wins were shutouts.

    However, he showed up himself—and the rest of goaltenders in the history of the NHL—by posting a record Goals Against Average of 1.055. He also won a league-high 26 games.

    The next year, the 5' 6" goaltender came up big yet again. He recorded an NHL record 22 shutouts in 44 games played, breaking his own GAA record with a new mark of 0.921.

    Those three seasons, he was awarded the NHL's first three annual Vezina Trophies, given to the league's best goaltender, named after the man who Hainsworth replaced.

    He won two Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens in his fourth and fifth seasons. After that, he led the NHL in wins three more times, locking up a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

    He was inducted in 1961.

16. Joe Malone

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    Joe Malone played several seasons with the NHA's Quebec Bulldogs before making his mark in the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens.

    That mark, however, was a noticeable and historic one.

    Malone scored 44 goals in the NHL's inaugural 1917-18 season. He played in just 20 games. (Comparatively, last season's leader in goals scored, Corey Perry, took 82 games to score just six more goals.)

    Malone's goals per game was an incredible 2.2; over the course of an 82-game season, that pace equates to 180 goals!

    Malone's 44 goal season was a record that stood for 25 years. The next season Malone scored seven goals in a single game, which is still an NHL record.

15. Bryan Trottier

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    The six-time Stanley Cup champion Bryan Trottier won a Hart and Art Ross Trophy in 1979.

    He led the league with 87 assists and 134 assists. He scored over 100 points six seasons and averaged above a point per each game played, totaling 1425 points in 1279 games played.

    He was sixth in career points at the time of his retirement and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997.

14. Glenn Hall

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    Glenn Hall was a 13-time all star and three-time Vezina Trophhy winner. He led the NHL in wins four times, led in shutouts six times.

    At a point in his career, he played in 502 consecutive games.

    His 84 career shutouts ranks fourth all-time.

13. Marcel Dionne

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    At just 5' 9" Marcel Dionne managed to score 1771 career points, placing him fifth on the NHL's all-time scoring list. No player on this list scored more than Dionne.

    Dionne led the NHL in scoring in the 1979-80 season with his career-high of 137 points.

12. Joe Sakic

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    Joe Sakic spent his entire 21-season career with the franchise that drafted him. He helped lift the Colorado Avalanche to the Stanley Cup with a 34-point playoff performance in 1996 after scoring a career-high 120 points in the regular season.

    The effort earned him a Conn Smythe trophy.

    Sakic's league-leading plus/minus of 45 in 2001, in addition to his 118 points, helped him win the Hart Trophy in 2001 on the way to another Stanley Cup.

11. Steve Yzerman

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    Steve Yzerman never led the league in goals, assists, or points. He never won a Hart Trophy.

    What "Stevie Y" did was lead the Detroit Red Wings back to the Stanley Cup after a 42-year drought. Yzerman was captain of the team for twenty years from 1986 to 2006, hoisting three cups before his retirement.

    When the Red Wings won the cup in 1998, Yzerman led the playoffs with 24 points in 22 games, earning him a Conn Smythe trophy.

    Yzerman was a talented player in all areas of the ice. He scored at least 50 goals in a season five times and recorded 100 points or more in a season six times. He won the Frank Selke trophy in 2000 as the NHL's best defensive forward.

    He totaled 1755 points in 1514 games.

10. Bobby Clarke

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    Bobby Clarke was hit in the face with a puck, blood on his jersey.

    Later that night, the Philadelphia Flyers' captain scored his 1000th career point.

    That's Clarke in a nutshell: he would do whatever it took to help his team win. He played hard, and he played good. His relentless playing style and leadership helped the Flyers win back-to-back Stanley Cups.

    Clarke won three Hart Trophies and one Frank Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward.

    He led the NHL in assists twice. His 1210 career points in 1144 games is a franchise record.

9. Red Kelly

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    Red Kelly won eight Stanley Cups as a player. The twelve-time All-Star began his career as a defenseman, finishing as a forward.

    On the blue line with the Detroit Red Wings, he delivered seven consecutive seasons of more than 40 points, a very good amount for a defenseman in that era.

    Later, when Kelly played with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he switched to playing forward, continuing to excel. He totalled 70 points in his first season as a forward.

8. Stan Mikita

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    The 5' 9" Chicago Blackhawks legend led the league in scoring four times, winning two Hart Trophies in the process.

    Mikita holds the franchise records for games played, assists, points and game-winning goals. He was a member of the 1961 Stanley Cup-winning team, the most-recent until the team won again in 2010.

    The next season, Mikita scored 21 points in 12 playoff games, but Chicago lost in the finals to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    His 1467 career points is 14th all-time.

7. Howie Morenz

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    Yet another member of the successful Montreal Canadiens teams of the 1920s and 1930s, Morenz won three Stanley Cups along with three Hart Trophies.

    He led the NHL in points twice, including the 1927-28 season, when he led the league in both goals and assists.

6. Ray Bourque

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    After playing most of his 22-year career with the Boston Bruins, Bourque joined the Colorado Avalanche in March 2000 with hopes of winning a Stanley Cup.

    Bourque announced his retirement in the summer following the success of 2001. His 1,579 career points is an NHL record for defensemen.

    Nineteen All-Star Games, five Norris Trophies and one Stanley Cup make him one of the NHL's best blueliners ever.

5. Eddie Shore

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    Old Time Hockey? Like Eddie Shore.

    The tough, legendary defenseman's name became synonymous with physical play thanks to the popular hockey movie Slapshot.

    Shore won four Hart Trophies as a defenseman (an NHL record) for the Boston Bruins in the 1930s.

4. Terry Sawchuk

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    Terry Sawchuk is one of the greatest NHL goalies of all-time. Some even consider him to be the best.

    He led the league in wins five times, won four Vezina Trophies and retired with a record 103 career shutouts.

3. Doug Harvey

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    Doug Harvey's seven Norris Trophies is the second-highest total only to Bobby Orr's eight.

    Harvey is arguably the greatest defensive defenseman to play the game. Players like Orr, Bourque and Niklas Lidstrom were defenseman who contributed offensively as well.

    Though Harvey was able to contribute offensively, his focus on stopping the other team helped the Montreal Canadiens win six Stanley Cups while he was with the team.

2. Maurice Richard

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    Not only was Maurice "Rocket" Richard the first player to score 50 goals in a single season, he was a five time goal-scoring leader and held the all-time goals scoring record of 544 when he retired in 1960.

    Richard 13 All-Star games, won eight Stanley Cups and one Hart Trophy.

    The Rocket Richard Trophy is now awarded annually to the NHL's regular season leader in goals scored.

1. Bobby Hull

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    Bobby Hull led the NHL in goals scored eight different times in his career.

    When he left the NHL in 1972 to play in the WHA at the age of 33, his 604 career goals was second all-time, only to Gordie Howe.

    He went on to score an additional 303 goals in the WHA before making a brief return to the NHL. Had he stayed in the NHL, he may have finished with more career goals than Howe's 801.

    Gretzky would have been breaking The Golden Jet's record instead of Mr Hockey's.


    Jason Sapunka is a Bleacher Report Featured Columnist who has won several "Top Writer" awards.

    He is available on Follow moreyumbo on Twitter