The Top 100 Hockey Players of All Time: No. 60-51
I consider myself a student of the game of hockey. I learn something new about it every day, whether it be through the hockey history books I read, the websites I go to, or the discussions that I have with other people.
I like to think that I am very knowledgeable about the game and I have decided to put my knowledge to the test. Over the course of the next month or two, I am going to rank the top 100 players in hockey history.
It will be very challenging and a lot of research will be done in order to get the best rankings possible. This list will include more than just NHL players, as I will be also focusing on international, pre-NHL, and WHA stars.
I hope this will spark a lot of discussion among hockey experts at this wonderful site. Any opinions are welcome. Don't be afraid to speak up!
No. 60 Nels Stewart
Career Regular Season Stats: 650 GP 324 G 191 A 515 P
Career Playoff Stats: 50 GP 9 G 12 A 21 P
Teams: Montreal Maroons (1925-32), Boston Bruins (1932-35, 1935-36), New York Americans (1935-36, 1937-40)
Art Ross Trophy (1926)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1926, 1930)
When Stewart retired in 1940, he was the NHL's all-time leading goal scorer and remained that way until 1952. Stewart's nickname was "Old Poison" due to his deadly accurate shot.
Not only was Stewart a prolific goal scorer, but he also possessed a mean streak. He did not think twice when using his stick to harm the opposition players. Stewart was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962.
No. 59 Aurel Joliat
Career Regular Season Stats: 655 GP 270 G 190 A 460 P
Career Playoff Stats: 45 GP 9 G 13 A 22 P
Teams: Montreal Canadiens (1922-38)
First All-Star Team Left Wing (1931)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1934)
Second All-Star Team Left Wing (1932, 1934, 1935)
Joliat formed one of the best duos in NHL history with speedster Howie Morenz. Joliat's great speed helped him become one of the greatest two-way players of his generation.
Despite his very small stature, Joliat earned the respect of many NHL tough guys because of his determination and tendency never to back down when the game started to get rough.
Joliat was never the same after his good friend Howie Morenz died, and he retired just one year later in 1938.
No. 58 Charlie Conacher
Career Regular Season Stats: 459 GP 225 G 173 A 398 P
Career Playoff Stats: 49 GP 17 G 18 A 35 P
Teams: Toronto Maple Leafs (1929-38), Detroit Red Wings (1938-39), New York Americans (1939-41)
Art Ross Trophy (1934, 1935)
First All-Star Team Right Wing (1934, 1935, 1936)
Second All-Star Team Right Wing (1932, 1933)
A member of the legendary kid line with Harvey Jackson and Joe Primeau, Conacher complemented the line with the hardest shot in hockey during his playing days. Conacher also has two brothers in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Conacher was huge and used his size to his advantage, bowling over anybody who came between him and the puck.
His style of play led to many injuries throughout his career and Conacher retired in 1940 due to various ailments.
No. 57 Jari Kurri
Career Regular Season Stats: 1251 GP 601 G 797 A 1398 P
Career Playoff Stats: 200 GP 106 G 127 A 233 P
Teams: Edmonton Oilers (1980-90), Los Angeles Kings (1991-96), New York Rangers (1996), Anaheim Ducks (1996-97), Colorado Avalanche (1997-98)
First All-Star Team Right Wing (1985, 1987)
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (1985)
Second Team All-Star Right Wing (1984, 1986, 1989)
Best known as Wayne Gretzky's wing man during the Edmonton Oilers' dynasty, Kurri finished his career with 11 30-plus goal seasons, including a career high of 71 in 1984-85.
Kurri also proved to be quite the playoff performer as well, tying the record for most goals in one playoff after scoring 19 in the 1985 playoffs.
Kurri finished his career as the highest scoring European-born NHL player of all time.
No. 56 Clint Benedict
Career Regular Season Stats: 190-143-28, 57 SO, 2.32 GAA
Career Playoff Stats: 11-12-5, 9 SO, 1.86 GAA
Teams: Ottawa Senators (1912-24), Montreal Maroons (1924-30)
Benedict's strategy of "accidentally" falling to the ice to make a save or smother loose pucks led the NHL to change the rule that had required goalies to remain standing throughout the game. He was the NHL's first true superstar goalie.
Benedict was the first goalie ever to wear a mask after getting hit in the nose by a puck, but it was not a permanent thing for him. He retired in 1931 and was inducted into the HHOF in 1965.
No. 55 Pierre Pilote
Career Regular Season Stats: 890 GP 80 G 418 A 498 P
Career Playoff Stats: 86 GP 8 G 53 A 61 P
Teams: Chicago Black Hawks (1955-68), Toronto Maple Leafs (1968-69)
First All-Star Team Defense (1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967)
James Norris Memorial Trophy (1963, 1964, 1965)
Second All-Star Team Defense (1960, 1961, 1962)
Pilote was best known for being a punishing defenseman who was best to avoid when on the ice. He was an excellent two-way defenseman and blocked shots all the time despite the inferior equipment.
Pilote was also a great outlet passer and didn't hesitate when it came time to join the rush. Pilote was inducted into the HHOF in 1975, six years after his retirement.
No. 54 Cy Denneny
Career Regular Season Stats: 328 GP 248 G 85 A 333 P
Career Playoff Stats: 25 GP 16 G 2 A 18 P
Teams: Ottawa Senators (1916-28), Boston Bruins (1928-29)
Art Ross Trophy (1924)
Another prolific goal scorer, Denneny retired in third place on the NHL all-time goal scoring list. While not an extremely fast skater, Denneny used his deadly accurate shot to score a lot of goals.
Denneny was one of the first players to experiment with a curved stick. He also retired as the NHL's leading point scorer and was inducted into the HHOF in 1959.
No. 53 Milt Schmidt
Career Regular Season Stats: 746 GP 229 G 346 A 575 P
Career Playoff Stats: 86 GP 24 G 25 A 49 P
Teams: Boston Bruins (1937-42, 1945-55)
Art Ross Trophy (1940)
First All-Star Team Centre (1940, 1947, 1951)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1951)
Second All-Star Team Centre (1952)
A member of the very famous Kraut line along with Woody Dumart and Bobby Bauer on the Boston Bruins, Schmidt was the physical one who would go into the corners and always come out with the puck.
The Kraut line became the first line to finish one-two-three in scoring in 1939-40, with Schmidt leading the way.
Not only was Schmidt tough, but his ability to avoid high-traffic areas made him one of the greatest goal scorers of his era. He was inducted into the HHOF in 1961.
No. 52 Boris Mikhailov
Career Regular Season Stats: Did not play in the NHL
Career Playoff Stats: Did not play in the NHL
Two World Championship All-star Selections (1973, 1979)
Eight World Championship Gold Medals
Two Olympic Gold Medals
Mikhailov was the primary captain of the Soviet National Team from 1969 until 1980, named best forward at the World Championships, and voted to the WC All-Star team in 1973 and '79.
Mikhailov was also a member of one of Russia's greatest forward lines along with Vladimir Petrov and Valeri Kharlamov.
No. 51 Andy Bathgate
Career Regular Season Stats: 1069 GP 349 G 624 A 973 P
Career Playoff Stats: 54 GP 21 G 14 A 35 P
Teams: New York Rangers (1954-64), Toronto Maple Leafs (1964-65), Detroit Red Wings (1965-67), Pittsburgh Penguins (1967-68, 1970-71)
First All-Star Team Right Wing (1959, 1962)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1959)
Second All-Star Team Right Wing (1958, 1963)
Best known for his blistering slap shot, Bathgate was the player who struck goalie Jacques Plante in the face, causing him to put on a mask and wear it for the rest of his career.
Not only did Bathgate have one of the best shots in the game, but he was a wonderful skater and one of the best puck handlers of his era.
Throw in the fact that Bathgate was physical and fought to protect his teammates, he was the complete package. He was inducted into the HHOF in 1978.