NHL Power Rankings: 20 Best Forechecking Forwards in the NHL

LaToya WilsonContributor IDecember 3, 2010

NHL Power Rankings: 20 Best Forechecking Forwards in the NHL

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    BOSTON - APRIL 13:  Milan Lucic #17 of the Boston Bruins skates on the forecheck against the Montreal Canadiens during game three of the 2008 NHL Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on April 13, 2008 at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The B
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Without a doubt, this is something every team needs. 

    A really solid forechecker.

    These guys know how to wreak havoc down low, creating turnovers and setting up the play. They're the guys you love or love to hate.

    This list best exemplifies those who are beyond good at puck control, and if they're not on your favourite team, they're ridiculously annoying.

20. Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks

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    SAN JOSE, CA - NOVEMBER 24:  Patrick Marleau #12 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates after he scored a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks at HP Pavilion on November 24, 2010 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Somewhat unrecognized for everything he does, Patrick Marleau is a great playmaker with great hands. 

    Marleau is always willing to put in the extra effort, and this makes him a great forechecker. 

19. Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes

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    Canadian favourite Shane Doan is not only known for his class but for his ability to always go the extra mile for his team.

    When he isn't busy being awesome and humble by paying for the Coyotes' training staff's health insurancehe's busy searching for the puck, always seeking to make a play.

    Just look at the video. It's all Doan.

18. Brenden Morrow, Dallas Stars

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 27:  Brenden Morrow #10 of the Dallas Stars skates against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on March 27, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Between Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Jarome Iginla, etc, it was hard for Brenden Morrow to get some recognition at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

    It only took a few games, however, to realize just why Morrow was so valuable to the team. 

    The silent hero, Morrow was out there working hard every night and quickly became a favourite for Canadian fans.

    It's no question that he's also a favourite in Dallas.

17. Rene Bourque, Calgary Flames

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    PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 26:   Rene Bourque #17 of the Calgary Flames raises his stick in front of the dejected Flyers fans after scoring the winning goal in the shootout of a hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on Novembe
    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    Say what you will about the Calgary Flames' play so far this year (abysmal has been my word), but if there's one thing Darryl Sutter has gotten right recently, it's Rene Bourque.

    Not well-known around the league, though popular in Calgary, Bourque is a vital component of the Flames with great hands, big hits and solid forechecking. 

    I can only imagine just how much better the Chicago Blackhawks would have been last year if they still had Bourque on their team.

16. Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    It's incredibly unfortunate that this guy has the worst luck with injuries. Jordan Staal is rarely nothing less than an absolute pleasure to watch.

    Amongst one of my favourite players, Staal is a beast on the ice.

    Though it would be easy to be shadowed when you're surrounded by the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, Staal has held his own and routinely shines with the Penguins.

    As seen here, Staal controls the puck, gets it deep, positions himself and scores. Great stuff.

15. Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings

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    Captain of the L.A. Kings, Dustin Brown is fantastic on the forecheck.

    A solid hitter, Brown wreaks havoc in the offensive end. Just watch the video of the mini-battle between Brown and Marc Staal. Unreal!

14. Ryan Malone, Tampa Bay Lightning

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    PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 18:  Ryan Malone #6 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on November 18, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Lightning defeated the Flyers 8-7.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Get
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    A strong power forward, Ryan Malone is a big guy who is hard and tenacious on the puck.

13. Curtis Glencross, Calgary Flames

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    EDMONTON, AB - NOVEMBER 29:  Curtis Glencross #20 congratulates Miikka Kiprusoff #34 of the Calgary Flames after his shut-out performance against the Minnesota Wild at Scotiabank Saddledome on November 29, 2010 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Flames beat
    Dylan Lynch/Getty Images

    Another big-hitter for the Flames, Curtis Glencross has been one of the few consistent forwards on the team. Melding well with any line he's placed on, Glencross is always seeking to make a big play, often also creating short-handed chances. 

    A fast skater and aggressive player, Glencross is one of my favourites on the Flames.

12. Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 17:  Rick Nash #61 of the Columbus Blue Jackets celebrates his goal to take a 4-3 lead over the Los Angeles Kings during the third period at the Staples Center on November 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry Ho
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Speaking of those who are a joy to watch, there are few greater pleasures in hockey than watching Rick Nash. 

    A combination of being big, fast, aggressive, relentless and incredibly skilled, Columbus is lucky to have this guy locked in for years to come.

11. Chris Stewart, Colorado Avalanche

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    DENVER - NOVEMBER 17:  Chris Stewart #25 of the Colorado Avalanche battles for the puck between Marc-Edouad Vlasic #44 and Patrick Marleau #12 of the San Jose Sharks at the Pepsi Center on November 17, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    A young, hard-working guy, Chris Stewart has a promising career in front of him. 

    With the deadly combination of being fast, skilled, and incredibly strong, Stewart regularly creates turnovers with his speed and strength.

10. Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks

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    GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 27:  Corey Perry #10 of the Anaheim Ducks skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on November 27, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.   The Ducks defeated the Coyotes 6-4.  (Photo by Christia
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    An agitator known around the league, love him or hate him, Corey Perry is great on the forecheck. 

9. Mike Richards, Philadelphia Flyers

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    Though occasionally somewhat whiney, Mike Richards is an overall fearless player. His aggressiveness combined with his skill means he often comes up with the puck. As you can see here, it resulted in a goal.

8. Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - NOVEMBER 21: Henrik Sedin #33 of the Vancouver Canucks skates out from behind the net with the puck while Mikael Samuelsson #26 looks on during the second period in NHL action against the Phoenix Coyotes on November 21, 2010 at Rogers
    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    Newly anointed captain of the Canucks, Henrik Sedin is unquestionably their best player. 

    Though it's true that he and his brother Daniel are often a combined effort, Henrik is the one in the corner creating marvelous plays. He has his eyes all over the ice and is able to create chances from anywhere. 

    Seeing how I'm a Flames fan, I find him incredibly infuriating. 

7. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks takes a shot in front of Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on November 27, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    There is no question as to why Jonathan Toews was awarded the MVP title in the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs. He proves night after night what it's like to be a great all-around player.

    Though often overshadowed by Sidney Crosby's gold-winning goal, Toews was also the best forward on Canada's Olympic roster. 

    Already with an Olympic Gold and Stanley Cup, Toews is going to have a promising career for many years.

6. Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings

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    SAN JOSE, CA - NOVEMBER 30:  Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings in action against the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion on November 30, 2010 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Enough can't be said about the Detroit Red Wings in general. Tons of talent, among which there is Henrik Zetterberg, usually scoring on your favourite team.

    He and linemate Pavel Datsyuk are all over the ice, forechecking, back-checking, everything. Those two have chemistry beyond words.

5. Cal Clutterbuck, Minnesota Wild

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    DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 19:  Cal Clutterbuck #22 of the Minnesota Wild gets set for a faceoff in a game against the Detroit Red Wings on November 19, 2010 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The Wild defeated the Wings 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by C
    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    There is no person this guy won't hit. Always making the big hits at the right time and usually leading the league in hits, he is key to the Wild's forecheck and is often the source of many scoring chances.

    I'm convinced that the power is in the mustache. He should really keep that thing.

4. Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 01: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates a goal against the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center on December 1, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Capitals beat the Blues 4-1.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty I
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Oh the things I would do to get Ovechkin on my team. Enough praise can't be given to this guy, an absolute pleasure to watch.

    He's big. He's fast. He has a lethal shot. He's ridiculously strong. He has amazing hands. Of course he's great on the forecheck, he's everywhere. 

3. Milan Lucic, Boston Bruins

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    BOSTON - NOVEMBER 26:  Milan Lucic #17 of the Boston Bruins tries to get the puck past Cam Ward #30 of the Carolina Hurricanes on November 26, 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Devastating is the best way to describe him. 

    A brutal hitter and quick for his size, Milan Lucic is a powerful and strong component of the Boston Bruins.

2. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings

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    SAN JOSE, CA - NOVEMBER 30:  Pavel Datsyuk #13 of the Detroit Red Wings and Logan Couture #39 of the San Jose Sharks go for the puck at HP Pavilion on November 30, 2010 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    It's almost unfair how good Pavel Datsyuk is at puck-handling.

    How many times does one see him lose the puck? It's not often, I'll tell you that much. If he goes in on the forecheck, he usually emerges with the puck. Then passes it to Zetterberg. Then they score.

    Life can be so unfair sometimes. 

    Whether it's that amazing triangle-head of his that gives incredible balance, or it's that he's just that good, expect Datsyuk to provide a clip for the highlight reel nearly every game he plays.

1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 29:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins attacks against the New York Rangers during their game on November 29, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    Cue the mob! Yes, Sidney Crosby is No. 1, who the hell else would it be!? 

    No, it's not because he dives, and the refs give him and his team power-play opportunities.

    It's also not because the league, especially his co-conspirator Gary Bettman, seeks to give Crosby every opportunity possible because he's their poster-boy.

    It's because Crosby, simply put, is damn unreal. Of all the games I've watched the Flames play this season, few were more horrifying than the one played against the Penguins in November. 

    Why? Because playing Crosby is horrifying. He's all over the puck. He's everywhere. One could be convinced there are five of him. Oh and the best part? If he has no one to pass it to on the forecheck, he'll just pass it to himself. And score.

    Say what you will, haters, but if I had a choice, I'd solely have him in my top five. 1. Sidney Crosby, 2. Sidney Crosby...and so on.

    And if I could, I'd steal him and put him on the Flames. Sigh. One can only dream.


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