LOS ANGELES – The 100 Greatest NHL Players were announced on Friday at a gala event hosted by Jon Hamm in Los Angeles.
There were some names we expected, like Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr. There were some names we were happy to see, like Pavel Datsyuk. There were some surprises, like Billy Smith and Pat LaFontaine. There were some shockers, like Joe Nieuwendyk.
And also Jonathan Toews made the list.
Here are a few of the most notable snubs from the “NHL 100” list, including a few modern era guys who were absolutely robbed. Tell us your biggest snubs in the comments.
The San Jose Sharks center is 24th all-time in points with 1,372 and 13th in NHL history in assists. He’s second among active players in points behind Jaromir Jagr and won a Hart Trophy. Outside of Sidney Crosby, Thornton is the best playmaker of his era.
To have Adam Oates on and Thornton off is criminal. To leave him off this list is the best example of its slavish commitment to Stanley Cup dynasties and American-born players, because there’s no good reason he’s been left off the list.
The Boston Bruins’ man mountain only one a single Norris (thanks, Nicklas Lidstrom) but was a finalist six times. Without question, one of the most dominating defensive forces in recent NHL history. But just like there were always a few guys in front of him for awards, there were Lidstrom, Pronger and others in front of him here.
Another unquestionable snub. For 12 straight full NHL seasons, Iginla had 30 goals – only Jaromir Jagr can claim to have accomplished something similar during the Dead Puck Era. That included 52 goals in 2001-02, when the average goals-per-game was 2.62, which at the time was the lowest average since 1956. His consistency, as arguably the NHL’s premiere power winger until Alex Ovechkin arrived. He’s in that exclusive club for players with 600 goals and 1,200 points. Ask any Calgary Flames fan if Iginla or Nieuwendyk belong on this list, and we imagine the answer is Iggy.
Since coming into the League in 2006, Malkin has collected a Hart, a Calder, a Conn Smythe and two scoring titles. He has 814 points in 691 games, which is second among active players in points per game average (1.18) and 14th all-time – again, higher than that of LaFontaine, Eric Lindros and Dennis Savard who are all on the list. If he’s too new to make the cut, explain how Kane did when Malkin has him beat in every category on average.
Third in wins for goalies in the NHL at 484, he won the Calder, the Vezina twice and the Jennings four times. One imagines the addition of Billy Smith from the New York Islanders dynasty bumped him.
Hawerchuk had an incredible run to begin his career, including a 53-goal, 130-point season in 1984-85 that was one Wayne Gretzky away from earning him the Hart Trophy. He had a higher points-per-game average (1.186) than Pat LaFontaine, who made the list. An odd omission that, again, seems like some small-Canadian-market-not-named-Edmonton bias.
Arguably the best defenseman not to make the list. He won three straight Norris trophies and then finished second in the voting the next two seasons. A dominant player from 1959 to 1967, playing for the Chicago Black Hawks.
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