Selection of the best in any sport is always subjective. Some people choose solely on stats or standings, others on personality, goals scored, the accolades they achieve, and so on.
These are our top ten, in no particular order as they have, or still are, playing their part in promoting the great sport of NHL.
Mats Sundin – Centerman
Mats Sundin started his professional NHL career with four seasons for Quebec Nordiques. Moving to Toronto Maple Leafs in 1994, he spent 11 seasons as team captain and retired in 2014, following a season with the Vancouver Canucks. He left with a record of 420 goals, 987 points and 124 power play goals during his career. Mats is still a regular supporter of the league and in 2019 held a VIP Hockey Experience in Toronto. This he organized with LeoVegas, for whom he acts as an ambassador, raising funds for the Sundin Fellowship Foundation.
Henrik Zetterberg – Centerman
Drafted to the Detroit Red Wings in 1991, his retirement due to a bad back occurred in 2018. ‘Zaeta’ as he is known, captained the team from 2013 until his retirement, playing 1,082 games with a record of 337 goals and 960 points. He is also a member of the Triple Gold Club, taking gold medals in the 2006 Ice Hockey World Championships and 2006 Winter Olympics, plus Winner of the MVP Conn Smythe Trophy. Since retirement, Henrik is focusing on his family while keeping his close ties with the team.
Henrik Lundqvist – Goaltender
This butterfly style goalie has played for the New York Rangers since 2005. His aggressive style and track-record speak for itself, including 11 30-win seasons in 12, earning him the nickname of ‘The King.’ He is also the brand ambassador for Unibet, launching their 30/30 fund which supports young Swedish players and amateur sports.
Komarov – Center/Forward/Right-Wing
Born in Estonia, Kamarov was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2006 and moved to the New York Islanders in 2018. This popular player was the first active player to become a global ambassador for Nordicbet in 2017. His record to 2019 stands at 409 games played, 58 goals and 90 assists.
Gary Roberts – Left Wing
This versatile Canadian player has played 21 seasons throughout his career with a two-year break for a serious neck injury. In 1999, he was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance and dedication to the game. His stats when he retired in 2009 were 1,224 games played, 438 goals and 910 points. Unsurprisingly, the man known for his physical fitness now shares his knowledge as a high-performance trainer for players at all levels.
Peter Forsberg – Centerman
Our list would not be complete without mentioning ‘Foppa,’ who for some, was one of the greatest NHL players. His career started in 1994 with the Québec Nordiques, moving in ‘95 to Colorado Avalanche, with a two-year stint with the Philadelphia Flyers before returning to Colorado Avalanche for 2008/09 when he retired. This Hall of Fame member of the Triple Gold Club joined 4Sport Hockey AG as a part owner in 2019. After his hockey career Peter Forsberg became involved with many business endeavors. He was an early investor in Crocs and is a partial owner in the airline NextJet.
Wayne Gretzky – Centerman
Any list of the top NHL players would be incomplete without mentioning this player. Wayne played for 21 years with Edmonton Oilers then traded to the Los Angeles Kings in ‘88. His record is impressive with 1,487 games played, 894 goals and 1,963 assists. He also hoisted the Stanley Cup 4 times, 10 Art Ross Trophies, 9 Hart Trophies, 5 Pearson Trophies and 2 Conn Smythe Trophies. His number ‘99’ has been retired league-wide – the only player accorded this accolade. The ‘Great One’ returned to the Oilers in 2016 as a partner and vice-chairman of Oilers Entertainment Group.
Mark Messier – Centerman/Wing
Another amazing player with 25 years playing in the NHL, from 1979-2004, with an outstanding record of 1,756 games played, 694 goals and 1,194 assists. The duo of Messier and Gretzky was unstoppable while both played 9 seasons with the Edmonton Oilers. ‘The Messiah’ or ‘Moose’ is now a popular guest speaker and is involved with a project to bring ice hockey to the youth of New York City.
Martin Brodeur – Netkeeper Extraordinaire
In his 21 year career, ‘Satan’s Wallpaper’ played 7 for the St Louis Blues, but mostly he defended the net for the New Jersey Devils, his brilliant defence bringing the team to 3 Stanley Cups. His own record was 1,295 games played, with a 0.912 save percentage. After retirement in 2015, he went into hockey management with the St Louis Blues, but in 2018 he returned to the Devils as executive VP of business development.
Sidney Crosby – Center/Captain
This impressive young player, ‘Sid the Kid,’ has an outstanding record for the 13 seasons he has played for the Pittsburgh Penguins since 2005. To the 2018/19 season, he has 943 games under his belt, 446 goals and 770 assists. He has held the Sidney Cup 3 times and the Hart, Richard and Conn Smythe trophies twice. When 48% of your peers, in 2019, name you the ‘best all-around player in NHL today’, the future looks exciting for Sid and his fans.
Do you agree with our choice, or have we missed out one of your favourites?