September 04, 2009

Best of GHL: The Best Players of All Time

You can never be more controversial than to rank players in order of greatness. That's why this post continues to be my most popular post of all time:

The Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

Here is my final listing of the Top 36 hockey players of all time, and just to create some more controversy, I thought I'd put them in order. My list features strong emphasis on career accomplishments, awards and championships, and, perhaps most importantly, legacy. Ability takes a back seat to these other categories.

In total I have 11 centers, 10 defenseman, 6 RWs, 3 LWs and 6 goalies. I have 4 players from pre-1950, 11 from the Original Six days, 6 from 1967-1980, 10 from 1980-1994 and 4 from 1995 through present, 3 of which are still active. I'm really happy with that balance. I have 29 North Americans and 7 European trained players. Some say I've included too many International stars, some say not nearly enough.

Wayne Gretzky - Once an Oiler, always an Oiler. The Great One lived up to his nickname, and may be the greatest athlete ever.
Bobby Orr - "The perfect hockey player." Bobby Orr revolutionized the game so that players like Gretzky and Lemieux could raise the bar even higher.
Gordie Howe - Forget about Gretzky or Lemieux. Old time hockey fans will insist Gordie Howe is the greatest of all time, with great merit. Mr. Hockey could do it all
Mario Lemieux - Magnificent is the perfect word to describe Mario Lemieux. Number 66 is the most physically gifted player to ever play the game of hockey.
Maurice "Rocket" Richard - Montreal's incomparable Rocket Richard was far more than just a great hockey player - he represented all of Quebec.
Patrick Roy - The greatest goaltender of all time. The Montreal Forum was St. Patrick's cathedral for many years before moving on to Colorado.
Mark Messier - Edmonton's native son later became the brightest star on Broadway. Mark Messier truly became Manhattan's immortal "Messiah" in 1994.
Jean Beliveau - One of the top ten players of all time, few were more graceful on or off the ice than hockey's original gentle giant.
Bobby Hull - The Golden Jet might be better known nowadays as Brett's dad, but this Chicago and Winnipeg legend is one of the most important players in hockey history
Jacques Plante - Best known for literally changing the face of hockey, Jake The Snake may be the greatest goalie of all time if not the most important.
Doug Harvey - Considered by many to be the second greatest defenseman of all time, Harvey may have been the most important cog in the Habs 5 consecutive Stanley Cups in 1950s
Stan Mikita - While he may have been overshadowed a bit by the charismatic Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita was the better player of the two.
Terry Sawchuk - Though modern fans will likely choose Patrick Roy or Dominik Hasek, veteran fans will tell you Terry Sawchuk is the greatest goaltender of all time. His peak performance in the 1950s was amazing.
Red Kelly - A superstar defenseman with the Detroit Red Wings, Red Kelly would later effortlessly become one of the most cerebral centers in hockey history while with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Ray Bourque - He played in the shadows of Bobby Orr, yet Ray Bourque ranks as one of the game's greatest defensemen too.
Guy Lafleur - For six years in the 1970s Guy Lafleur redefined the words amazing and fantastique when used to describe a hockey player. Every goal was an event to witness.
Viacheslav Fetisov - Viacheslav Fetisov will always be remembered as a warrior - on the ice and off of it. His on ice performance on the international scene alone gets him on this list.
Eddie Shore - Despite finishing his NHL career back in the 1930s, he's the one old-timer who consistently ranks in all of top 10 greatest players lists.
Steve Yzerman - What more can be said about Stevie Wonder? He was one of hockey's greatest players and classiest people.
Bryan Trottier - The best two way player of his generation, Hall of Famer Trottier was slightly overshadowed by flashier teammates Bossy and Potvin, but will forever appreciated.
Mike Bossy - Arguably the greatest pure sniper of all time, this goal scoring machine helped the New York Islanders capture four consecutive Stanley Cup Championships.
Phil Esposito - One of hockey's greatest scorers led the Boston Bruins to two Stanley Cups and led Team Canada to their greatest victory.
Valeri Kharlamov - Though he never played in the NHL, the Soviet half-Spaniard easily ranks as one of the greatest LWs of all time.
Ted Lindsay - His legacy may forever spearheading the Player's Association movement, but "Terrible Ted" Lindsay was one mean and talented hockey player.
Denis Potvin - Perhaps one of the top 5 defensemen in the history of the game, Denis Potvin captained the New York Islanders dynasty while rewriting Bobby Orr's records.
Larry Robinson - "Big Bird" had the all the assets to be the ultimate prototypical NHL defenseman of any era.
"Mr Goalie" Glenn Hall - The grandfather of butterfly goaltending played a record 502 consecutive games without a mask.
Jari Kurri - "Gretzky to Kurri....scores!" was a call heard 429 times in Edmonton. The game hasn't seen quite as dynamic of a duo since.
Dit Clapper - Dit Clapper is the only player in NHL history to be named a All Star at both forward and defense.
Bobby Clarke - Depending on who you ask, Bobby Clarke is one of hockey's greatest players or one of hockey's greatest villains. The truth is he was both.
Vladislav Tretiak - Vladislav Tretiak is one of the greatest hockey heroes, not just in Russia but also in Canada and all around the world.
Dominik Hasek - As unorthodox as he is, his peak performance with Buffalo and the Czech national team from 1993 through 1992 is hard to match.
Jaromir Jagr - Someone will point to his reputation for being lazy defensively, but his resume is as impressive as anyone. Based on talent alone, he's a top 10, maybe top 5 player of all time.
Howie Morenz - The NHL's first superstar, Montreal Canadiens great Howie Morenz was dubbed "The Babe Ruth of Hockey."
Niklas Lidstrom - Quietly this Super Swede has had a career on par with that of Ray Bourque.
Milt Schmidt - Mr. Boston Bruin, time has forgotten just important Milt Schmidt was to Boston's storied sporting landscape..

1 comment:

JJ said...

Great blog. Here´s mine 30.
(J.Beliveau, R.Bourque, V.Fetisov, A.Firsov, W.Gretzky, D.Hasek, J.Holecek, G.Howe, Bo.Hull, J.Jagr, S.T.Johansson, V.Kharlamov, G.Lafleur, I.Larionov, M.Lemieux, N.Lidstrom, S.Makarov, A.Maltsev, S.Martin, V.Martinec, S.Mikita, B.Orr, S.Ovechkin, G.Perreault, J.Plante, D.Potvin, T.Sawchuk, N.Sologubov, P.Stastny, J.Suchy)