Wednesday, June 01, 2005

NHL Top 50 List

Of the four major sports in North America, hockey is by far the odd sport out in terms of fan knowledge of history. Some of the greatest players in NHL history are virtually unknown to even the cities in which they played in. Ranking the top 50 players in NHL history proved to be difficult for a number of reasons. First, it’s almost impossible to know how many players from the great Montreal Canadiens should be among the top 50. There are a slew of players from that franchise carrying around five or more Stanley Cup rings. To say how many were actually among the 50 best and how many were just good players on great teams is almost impossible. Another difficult aspect was comparing players from different eras. Hockey has changed significantly over time. I took it upon myself to read up on 150 of the greatest hockey players of all-time. Based on the information I was able to gather, I was able to narrow it down to the top 50. Rating players 40-50 was as frustrating as any other endeavor I have taken on with respect to the top 50 lists. I did my best to ignore public perception and reputation to include only the most deserving.

1) Wayne Gretzky
2) Bobby Orr
3) Gordie Howe
4) Patrick Roy
5) Mario Lemieux
6) Jean Beliveau
7) Doug Harvey
8) Terry Sawchuk
9) Bobby Hull
10) Guy Lafleur
11) Dominik Hasek
12) Maurice Richard
13) Phil Esposito
14) Eddie Shore
15) Jacques Plante
16) Mark Messier
17) Mike Bossy
18) Jaromir Jagr
19) Ray Bourque
20) Martin Brodeur
21) Stan Mikita
22) Howie Morenz
23) Newsy Lalonde
24) Steve Yzerman
25) Denis Potvin
26) Larry Robinson
27) Bobby Clarke
28) Ken Dryden
29)Henri Richard
30) Milt Schmidt
31) Nicklas Lidstrom
32) Ted Lindsay
33) Brett Hull
34) Joe Malone
35) Red Kelly
36) Bryan Trottier
37) Paul Coffey
38) Joe Sakic
39) Chris Chelios
40) Glenn Hall
41) Bill Durnan
42) Marcel Dionne
43) Sergei Fedorov
44) Brendan Shanahan
45) Al Macinnis
46) Frank Mahovlich
47) Jari Kurri
48) Ed Belfour
49) Scott Stevens
50) Gilbert Perrault

Instead of listing the next ten or twenty players on the list which would essentially create a Top 60 or 70 list, I would like to identify the players that I had the hardest time keeping off. These are in no particular order; Dit Clapper, Dickie Moore, Tiny Thompson, Tony Esposito, Luc Robitaille, Dino Ciccarelli, Mike Gartner, Ron Francis, Charlie Conacher, Max Bentley, Grant Fuhr, Sid Abel, Mats Sundin, Mike Modano, George Hainsworth, Syl Apps, Bernie Geoffrion, Pierre Pilote, Peter Stastny, and Jeremy Roenick.

Barrying injury, Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and Evgeni Malkin will probably be on this list some day.


Anonymous said...

What about Tim Horton... most repected player ever... and i think red kelly should be higher up... he prstcally made hockey what it is!

Anonymous said...

Peter Forsberg! Peter Forsberg! Peter Forsberg! Peter Forsberg! Peter Forsberg! He may be injured a lot but in terms of all out effort, talent, and class he's gotta be up there.

Anonymous said...

Saku koivu should be on there he is one of the best players ever a captain won a silver medal in the olympics almost got his eye tooken out came back and played hard survived cancer everyonne should look up to him if u agree make ur own list and put him 1st

Unknown said...

Well, you've put together a good list, but I would have put Steve Yzerman ahead of Jagr for a few reasons. His leadership as "The Captain" was among the best the sport has ever known, as there were countless times he seemed to will his team to victory in those inexplicable games when his Hall of Fame teammates couldn't score. As far as points, Yzerman scored 100+ in six straight seasons, 1 more season than Jagr overall. 50+ goals? Yzerman 5, Jagr 4. 60+ goals? Yzerman 2, Jagr 1. Yzerman also won the Selke as outstanding defensive player. Sure Jagr has more Pearson awards, but when he won them, he wasn't competing with Gretzky and Lemieux at their peaks, as Yzerman did the only time he won. Same goes for the Art Ross (Highest Scoring) trophies, which Yzerman never won, while Jagr has 4.
Yzerman was the heart of 3 Stanley Cup Champions. Jagr was an outstanding contributor to 2 champions. Maybe he'll end up with more points than Yzerman, but in terms of guts, there are few better than The Captain--witness his playing through the playoffs in 2003 with a right knee that was bone grinding bone, in so much pain that he couldn't push himself up from the ice with that leg, and what you see is a player for all time.
But, hey, it's just a list, right? A good list for a very hard topic. Final prediction: Brodeur will be ahead of Roy on all of our lists.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I understand most of your choices, but Peter Forsberg was incredible, undisputed, the most dominant player in his prime. His points per game matches and even exceeds Howe, Richard, Beliveau etc. Peter might be the best playoff performer of all time. He is in the top twenty for sure, and I'm not to sure Fedorov should be on there.

Anonymous said...

good list, but Maurice Richard should definately be in at least the top 5, seriously he only played a couple of seasons compared to the others above. Also i think Mats Sundin and of course Forsberg should be on this list somewhere. And Koivu lover, keep dreaming.

Anonymous said...

Yzerman should definately be ahead of Jagr. Rob Blake, Chris pronger and Curtis Joseph should also be on this list, although i know how hard it must be to chose players, but Joseph is better than

Anonymous said...

i think the rocket should be #2, orr 3, and lemieux 4.

Ps. This is defanately not anything against patrick Roy because he is my favourite goalie ever and Gordie Howe doesnt seem to be as good as lemieux or richard.


Powered by Blogger