Ranking the NHL's 100 Greatest Players: Nos. 100-81
Throughout the month of September, James Bisson and a cast of editors from theScore will share their rankings of the greatest players, teams, and moments in the 100-year history of the National Hockey League. Our final list focuses on the greatest players (Note: "All-Star" refers to end-of-season All-Star team voting and not to appearances in the All-Star Game):
100-81 | 80-61 | 60-41 | 40-21 | 20-1
- James Bisson, National Sports Editor
- Joe Ross, Vice-President, Content
- Josh Wegman, NHL News Editor
- Sean O'Leary, NHL News Editor
- Esten McLaren, NHL News Editor
- Craig Hagerman, NHL News Editor
- Lanny Foster, Senior Social Media Editor
- Michael Amato, Senior News Editor
- Arun Srinivasan, News Editor
- Adam Sarson, Operations Lead
100. Johnny Bower
Bower is one of the most beloved players in Toronto Maple Leafs history, racking up 219 of his 250 career wins in the blue and white. His best year came in 1960-61, when the Saskatchewan native led the league in wins (33) en route to his first of two Vezina Trophies - he also finished second in Hart Trophy voting to Montreal's Bernie Geoffrion that season.
99. Max Bentley
Shown above with brothers Doug and Reg, Max Bentley was the most talented of the three. The skilled center won a pair of scoring titles, was a two-time All-Star, and captured the Hart Trophy in 1946 after recording 61 points in 47 games. He would later feature on a talented Maple Leafs team that won three Stanley Cup titles in a four-year span from 1948-51.
98. Ted Kennedy
Kennedy was a young stud on a star-laden Maple Leafs team that dominated the late 1940s and early 1950s, twice leading the postseason in goals and finishing with a league-best 14 playoff points during Toronto's run to the '48 Stanley Cup. Kennedy won five championships in total, while taking home the Hart Trophy with a 52-point campaign in 1955.
97. Red Kelly
Kelly was a consummate professional during his 21-year NHL career, earning All-Star nods in eight straight seasons while winning four Lady Byng Awards and the Norris Trophy in 1954. There's also the eight Stanley Cups - four with the Red Wings and four with the Maple Leafs. And sure, it was a different time, but just 327 penalty minutes in 21 seasons? Incredible.
96. Paul Kariya
Kariya peaked at an early age - finishing top 10 in Hart Trophy voting three times between ages 21 and 24 - then overcame injuries and a number of address changes to average exactly a point per game over his terrific 14-season career. One fact you might not know: The diminutive winger twice led the league in shots (1996-97, 1998-99).
95. Sid Abel
Before they had Gord, the Red Wings had Sid - and he was one of the most talented forwards of his generation, earning back-to-back first-team All-Star honors while capturing the Hart Trophy in 1949 on the strength of a league-best 28 goals. He helped guide the Red Wings to three Stanley Cups, the last coming in Abel's final season with Detroit in 1952.
94. Rod Gilbert
Consistency was Gilbert's calling card. He scored 25 or more goals 11 times in his career, while recording at least 75 points on eight occasions. He didn't have that one big season, and he didn't win a Cup - but as a rare player who spent his entire career on Broadway, you would have a hard time finding any Rangers fan who wouldn't rank him among the best in franchise history.
93. Patrick Kane
He won't turn 30 until November 2018, but Kane already has one of the most diverse trophy cases in league history. With a Calder Trophy, a Conn Smythe, a Hart, an Art Ross, a Ted Lindsay, and a Lester B. Pearson Award on his mantel, Kane has had a sensational start to his career. And let's not forget: He's also a three-time Stanley Cup champion.
92. Erik Karlsson
Karlsson's inclusion on the list might rankle some traditionalists, but it's hard to argue with the 27-year-old's credentials to date: Two Norris Trophies, four first-team All-Star nods and four top ten finishes in Hart Trophy voting. His current trajectory puts him on pace to finish with well over 1,000 points, which could make him a top-30 all-time player.
91. Marian Hossa
Hossa didn't dominate like the players listed ahead of him, but he was a consistently good player for the majority of his career. There's also the three Stanley Cup titles he won with Chicago - and it could easily have been five, as he wound up on the wrong end of Cup runs in 2008 with Pittsburgh and 2009 with Detroit.
90. Chris Pronger
With Pronger out of hockey for five years and counting, it might be hard to remember just how dominant he was. It all came together in 1999-00 when he won the Hart and Norris Trophies, but he was pretty good the rest of the time, too - earning seven top-five Norris showings before concussions eventually ended his career.
89. Scott Stevens
Stevens will forever be known as one of the hardest hitters in the history of the game - but he was so much more than that. Stevens was a five-time All-Star, three-time Stanley Cup champion, and the 1999-2000 Conn Smythe Award winner. He's also the answer to the trivia question, "Who was awarded to the Devils as compensation for St. Louis signing Brendan Shanahan in 1991?"
88. Ed Belfour
From undrafted free agent to the Hockey Hall of Fame, Belfour's career trajectory is one of the most inspiring in NHL history, and the accolades are many. Belfour won the Vezina Trophy twice, the Jennings Trophy three times, and was a three-time All-Star. He was the top rookie in 1991 - finishing third in Hart voting in the process - and won a Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999.
87. Norm Ullman
Ullman split his 20 NHL seasons between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs. While he didn't win a Stanley Cup with either team, he still forged a really good career, finishing top five in Hart Trophy voting twice while making a pair of All-Star teams. He was also one of the most durable players in the league in his prime, not missing a game from 1959-60 to 1962-63.
86. Borje Salming
It's no stretch to label Salming as the best defenseman never to win the Norris Trophy. Boy, did he come close though, finishing top five in voting each of his first seven NHL seasons. Salming's achievements were overshadowed by just how bad the Maple Leafs were in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and he just wasn't the same player after age 31. But in his prime, he was an all-timer.
85. Newsy Lalonde
Lalonde's NHL playing career didn't last long, but it was spectacular. He won a pair of scoring titles in five seasons with Montreal, and led the league in goals in its second season in existence. An accomplished lacrosse player prior to his time in hockey, Lalonde served as player-coach with the Canadiens and led the team to the 1919 NHL championship.
84. Michel Goulet
A handful of players who excelled in the 1980s - including Goulet - were ultimately overshadowed by Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. The 1979 first-round pick posted four 100-point seasons that decade, earning five All-Star nods but cracking the top 10 in Hart Trophy voting just once. Goulet led the NHL in game-winning goals (16) in 1983-84.
83. Pierre Turgeon
Turgeon was a truly gifted forward, and one of the most sportsmanlike of his era, finishing top 10 in Lady Byng voting 11 times - winning in 1993. He placed fifth in Hart Trophy balloting that season, racking up a career-high 132 points in a sublime effort that would have generated more attention were it not overshadowed by career years from several other players.
82. Syl Apps
Apps arrived in the NHL with much fanfare after dominating the OHA and didn't disappoint, leading the league in assists as a 22-year-old, and repeating the feat the following season. Apps went on to earn five All-Star nods while saving his best for last, leading the Maple Leafs to consecutive Stanley Cup titles in 1947 and 1948 before hanging up his skates.
81. Joe Nieuwendyk
Nieuwendyk's NHL debut was a memorable one, as he racked up 51 goals en route to the Calder Trophy. He wasn't done there, scoring 45 or more goals in each of his first four seasons. He picked up King Clancy and Conn Smythe trophies along the way, while winning Stanley Cups with three different teams. His 158 playoff games rank 73rd all-time among skaters.
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)
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