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June 28, 2017

The Top 150 Canadian NHLers of All Time





2017 may be the 100th anniversary year of the National Hockey League, but it is also the 150th anniversary for Canada as a nation. 


So let's celebrate both anniversaries in the most Canadian way possible - by remembering the top 150 Canadian NHL players of all time.



Below you will see my personal selections as to Canada's Top 150. I have ranked the top ten, and in what should be no surprise they are consistent with my previous selections of the top 100 players in hockey history.

Beyond the top ten I have ranked my top 150 Canadian selections simply by position.

Let's begin:

1. Wayne Gretzky (C)  - "The Great One" wanted to be the best every day. He was not the most physically gifted, but with unmatchable passion and intelligence he did more with less. More than anyone else, by leaps and bounds.


2. Bobby Orr (D) - The perfect hockey player. I would concede he had the greatest career if he lasted longer. Unfortunately that if always enters that conversation, making it impossible for me to grant him top billing.


3. Gordie Howe (RW) - Hockey is a man's game. "Mr. Hockey" is the man. Both Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky will tell you Gordie was the greatest player ever.


4. Mario Lemieux (C) -  Super Mario was the most gifted player ever, even more talented than Bobby Orr. The same if enters the conversations regarding Lemieux.


5. Rocket Richard (RW) - More than a hockey player: Rocket's incomparable legacy transcended the game to reach religious levels in Quebec and beyond. Simply amazing.


6. Jean Beliveau (C) - Head of the Class: Hockey's original gentle giant set the standard of class and excellence in Montreal that lasts to this day.


7. Bobby Hull (LW) - The Golden Jet reached amazing heights. He one of the rare true superstars in a sporting world that overuses that term far too liberally.


8. Guy Lafleur (RW) - Every goal was an event for The Flower


9. Eddie Shore (D) - Old Time Hockey! Eddie Shore was the main event in the hockey world in the early days of the NHL's existence. He dominated and entertained like few others all from the blue line. Only Orr joins Shore as defensemen who were the best player in the world.


10. Patrick Roy (G) - St. Patrick saved the day. I figure each block of 10 in my ranking of 100 should have at least one goaltender. Patrick Roy is universally considered to be the greatest goalie of all time.


Centers

Stan Mikita (C) - Overshadowed by Hull, Mikita may have been better
Howie Morenz (C) - The NHL's first superstar
Mark Messier (C) - Edmonton's native son became Manhattan's messiah
Sidney Crosby (C) - Player of Destiny
Phil Esposito (C) - The Most Underrated Superstar?
Steve Yzerman (C) - Stevie Wonder did it all
Bryan Trottier (C) - The most complete player of his day
Joe Sakic (C) - No Ordinary Joe
Henri Richard (C) - Overshadowed, but little brother was more complete player
Marcel Dionne (C) - Scoring King
Bobby Clarke (C) - Great Villain, Great Hero
Ron Francis (C) - Quiet Excellence
Milt Schmidt (C) - Mr. Boston Bruins
Syl Apps (C) - The Perfect Gentleman
Ted Kennedy (C) - Heart of the Leafs Dynasty

Max Bentley (C) - Dipsy Doodle Dandy

Newsy Lalonde (C) - Extra! Extra!
Bill Cowley (C) - Early Day Gretzky
Gilbert Perreault (C) - Gil The Thrill
Joe Malone (C) - NHL's First Scoring Star
Elmer Lach (C) - Centre of Attention
Dave Keon (C) - Beloved Maple Leaf
Jonathan Toews (C) - Captain Serious
Eric Lindros (C) - Reviled But Dominant

Frank Boucher (C) - A Beautiful Mind
Frank Nighbor (C) - Early Genius
Sid Abel (C) - Enabling The Production Line
Denis Savard (C) - The most electrifying player ever?
Doug Gilmour (C) - Heart of a lion
Dale Hawerchuk (C) - High Flying Jet
Joe Nieuwendyk (C) - The complete package
Alex Delvecchio (C) - Center of Attention
Jean Ratelle (C) - Classy and Classic
Darryl Sittler (C) - Maple Leafs Hero
Norm Ullman (C) - Underrated Hall of Famer
Adam Oates (C) - Passing Fancy
Pierre Turgeon (C) - Quiet Greatness
Bernie Federko (C) - Marching Saint
Guy Carbonneau (C) - Defensive Greatness
Rod Brind'Amour (C) - Complete Player
Vincent Lecavalier (C) - Jean Beliveau-lite
Joe Thornton (C) - Jumbo Joe
Butch Goring (C) - Last Piece of Islanders' Dynasty

Wingers

Mike Bossy (RW) - The best pure goal scorer of all time?
Ted Lindsay (LW) - Anything but terrible
Boom Boom Geoffrion (RW) - Loud And Proud
Frank Mahovlich (LW) - The Big M
Dickie Moore (LW) - The Man Who Would Make The Fans Forget About The Rocket
Bill Cook (RW) - Greatest Right Winger Before Howe, Richard
Charlie Conacher (RW) - The Big Bomber
Luc Robitaille (LW) - Cool Hand Luc

Johnny Bucyk (LW) - Boston's Chief

Andy Bathgate (RW) - Sharp Shooter

Busher Jackson (LW) - Controversial Superstar

Toe Blake (LW) - Great Player Turned Great Coach

Doug Bentley (LW) - No One Trick Pony
Aurel Joliat (LW) - The Little Giant
Bob Gainey (LW) - Admired By Russians
Yvan Cournoyer (RW) - The Roadrunner
Brendan Shanahan (LW) - Shanny's the man
Michel Goulet (LW) - Terribly Underrated
Mike Gartner (RW) - 700 Goal Man
Glenn Anderson (RW) - Mr. Playoffs
Jarome Iginla (RW) - Canadian Hero
Lanny McDonald (RW) - Alberta's Top Cowboy
Cam Neely (RW) - Bashin' and Crashin'
Bert Olmstead (LW) - Imposing and Skilled
Mark Recchi (RW) - Three Time Champ
Steve Shutt (LW) - Sharp Shooter
Dave Andreychuk (LW) - Big Man on Power Play
Theo Fleury (RW) - Good Things Come In Small Packages
Vincent Damphousse (LW) - Total Package
Martin St. Louis (RW) - Speed And Passion
Rod Gilbert (RW) - The Greatest Ranger
Bill Barber (LW) - High Flyer
Claude Lemieux (RW) - Clutch Scorer
Dino Ciccarelli (RW) - Dino The Dinosaur
Patrick Marleau (LW) - Shark Shooter
George Armstrong  (RW) - Captain Maple Leaf
Cy Denenny (LW) - One of NHL's Earliest Scoring Stars
Wendel Clark (LW) - Heart of the Maple Leafs
Trevor Linden (RW) - Captain Canuck
Reggie Leach (RW) - The Riverton Rifle
Steve Larmer (RW) - Iron Man
Kirk Muller (LW) - Captain Kirk
Clark Gillies (LW) - Imposing Islander
John Tonelli (LW) - Ultimate Role Player
John Ferguson (LW) - The Toughest of Tough
Tim Kerr (RW) - Power Play Specialist
Rick Tocchet (RW) - Rough and Tumble
Paul Henderson (LW) - Canadian Hero


Defense

Doug Harvey (D) - Firewagon Hockey
Ray Bourque (D) - Out of the shadows of Orr
Denis Potvin (D) - Captain of the Isles dynasty
Larry Robinson (D) - The prototypical NHL defenseman for any era
Paul Coffey (D) - Greatest skater rivalled Orr's heights
Red Kelly (D) - Superstar at two positions
King Clancy (D) - Heart of the Maple Leafs
Cyclone Taylor (D) - Hockey's First Legend
Brad Park (D) - In Bobby's Shadow
Chris Pronger (D) - Dastardly Good
Scott Stevens (D) - Captain Crunch
Pierre Pilote (D) - Last Of His Kind
Dit Clapper (D) - Star Forward, Superstar Defenseman
Tim Horton (D) - Blue Line Stud to Coffee Legend
Serge Savard (D) - Minister of Defense
Scott Niedermayer (D) - Hockey's Winningest Man
Earl Siebert (D) - Rearguard Roughian 
Al MacInnis (D) - Big Shot
Guy Lapointe (D) - Montreal's Big Three
Rob Blake (D) - Big Man On D
Larry Murphy (D) - Cerebral Defender
Kevin Lowe (D) - Oilers Defensive Conscience
JC Tremblay (D) - Playmaking Defender
Jacques Laperriere (D) - Cerebral defender
Shea Weber (D) - Big Shot
Duncan Keith (D) - High Flying Hawk
Drew Doughty (D) - King of the Blue Liners
Brent Burns (D) - Beard Power
Bill Gadsby (D) - Hall of Fame Defender
Eric Desjardins (D) - Versatile Defender

Goaltenders

Jacques Plante (G) - Plante changed the face of hockey
Terry Sawchuk (G) - Perfect Goalie, Imperfect World
Martin Brodeur (G) - Hockey's Winningest Goalie
Glenn Hall (G) - Mr. Goalie
Ken Dryden (G) - The Thinker
Bill Durnan (G) - Ambidextrous Puck Stopper
Bernie Parent (G) - Philly's Playoff MVP
Charlie Gardiner (G) - The Smiling Scotsman
Johnny Bower (G) - The China Wall
Grant Fuhr (G) - Spectacular
Billy Smith (G) - Battling Billy
Tony Esposito (G) - Tony O Shutout King
Gump Worsley (G) - The Most Colourful Goalie
Roberto Luongo (G) - Louuuuuu!
Ed Belfour (G) - Eddie the Eagle
George Hainsworth (G) - Early Goaltending Great
Mike Vernon (G) - Saving Grace
Rogie Vachon (G) - Hall of Fame Goalie
Clint Benedict (G) - Praying Bennie

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