Hardest Hitters in the NHL

Matthew Wolfe@@DatDudeMKWCorrespondent IIIJuly 21, 2011

Hardest Hitters in the NHL

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    In a sport that doesn't have much scoring, it's the other things that excite the crowd.

    Besides a goal, there is nothing a hockey fan loves more than a nice hard hit.

    The NHL is full of huge guys who aren't afraid to hit their opponent with a full speed body-check.

    Here is a list of the hardest hitters in the NHL today.

10. Chris Pronger

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    The No. 2 overall pick by the Hartford Whalers in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft has been known as one of the most physical players in hockey for his whole career.

    Pronger has put up some of the best defensive numbers in NHL history, but that doesn't mean he hasn't served his fair share of time in the penalty box.

    To this day, opponents skate with caution when playing Pronger because of the possibility he may lay them out.

9. Anton Volchenkov

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    Volchenkov spent most of his career with the Ottawa Senators until signing a contract with the New Jersey Devils in the summer of 2010.

    He was always known as a hard hitter, but he solidified his spot on this list after he was suspended in February of 2011 after throwing an elbow at Carolina Hurricanes forward Zach Boychuk, which resulted in a three game suspension.

    The Devils defenseman is known as one of the toughest players in the NHL.

8. Dustin Byfuglien

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    Byfuglien, or "Big Buff" as his teammates call him, has been crushing players since he came into the league in 2005.

    He really came into his own in 2011, making his first career All-Star game.

    He was originally a defenseman, but the Chicago Blackhawks moved him to right wing at the start of the 2007-2008 season.  The Atlanta Thrashers, now the Winnipeg Jets, moved him back to his natural position this past season, where he can get more physical with his opponents.

7. Milan Lucic

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    The newly crowned NHL champion has been known as one of the leagues hardest hitters since he came into the league in 2007.

    Lucic lead the Boston Bruins in scoring and logged 121 penalty minutes.

    When Lucic lays down a hit, it's a hard one. 

    Just ask Mike Van Ryn.

6. Cal Clutterbuck

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    The right wing for the Minnesota Wild has been a fan favorite since he was called up by the team in 2007.

    He broke Dustin Brown's record for most hits in a season when he recorded 356 in the 2008-2009 season.

    Clutterbuck is a very exciting player and one of the league's top hitters.

5. Niklas Kronwall

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    The Detroit Red Wings defenseman is an extremely physical player who is one of eight players to win Olympic and World Cup gold in the same year.

    He has been a regular on the Detroit team since the 2006-2007 season and was a Stanley Cup champion in 2008.

    Kronwall is one of the hardest hitters in the league and earns the number five spot on this list.

4. Dustin Brown

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    The captain of the Los Angeles Kings came into the league as a forward that was only capable of checking.

    He has expanded his game and has become a threat as a scorer as well, but he will always have that physical mentality. 

    The video of him laying out fellow checking-specalist Dion Phaneuf should be enough evidence to show why he is number four on this list.

3. Alexander Ovechkin

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    One of the leagues shining stars and arguably the best player around, Alexander Ovechkin isn't just a goal scorer.

    Most know Ovechkin as a guy that just scores goals and gets assists, but what people don't know is that he can lay down a fierce hit.

    Ovechkin is one of the most feared players on the ice, not only for his offense, but for his physical play as well.

2. Dion Phaneuf

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    The two time All-Star is a great guy off the ice, winning the Ralph T. Scurfield Humanitarian Award in 2008, an award given to a Calgary Flames player who "best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, determination and leadership on the ice, combined with dedication to community service."

    On the ice, Phaneuf has been rated one of the NHL's top hitters by his peers, and has even been accused of trying to injure a few opponents.

    He has also been accused of playing "dirty" and "stupid" by opponents, which earns him a spot on this list.

1. Zdeno Chara

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    This shouldn't come as a surprise to many.

    The 6' 9" defenseman is the most feared hitter in hockey and anchored a defensive unit that won the Stanley Cup this season.

    Chara was already known as a fierce hitter, but solidified that with this dirty hit on Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens. 

    Zdeno Chara is the hardest hitter in the NHL today.


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