Players worthy of a place in the Top 100 in NHL history

At the end of 2016, the National Hockey League unveiled its list of the Top 100 players in its history. There is no random hockey player on it. Each of them is a legend and a symbol of a particular era in hockey history. However, some were not included because of the high competition. And sometimes, by the list’s authors’ bizarre choice. 

The “no Stanley Cup, not worthy” argument doesn’t work here; there are enough players in the top 100 who have never reached the coveted trophy. Besides, many players performed at top teams, odds and news on which you can go now and check quite easily on liontips.com. Also, we won’t suggest crossing anyone off the original list, since everyone there is worthy of their place also.

Dale Hawerchuck

Playing career:

Winnipeg Jets (1981-1990); Buffalo Sabres (1990-1995);

St. Louis Blues (1995-1996); Philadelphia Flyers (1996-1997)

Regular season stats: 1188 games, 1409 (518+891) points. Average of 1.19 points per game

In playoffs: 97 games, 99 (30+69) points. Average of 1.02 points per game

Hawerchuck is 20th in points among all NHL players. In the 80’s he has scored 100 points in a season 6 times. The only argument against Dale is a final utility rating of -95. Still, you have to consider here that early in his career, and then in the 90s in Buffalo, he was one of the few players on his team who truly made a difference rather than serving up a number. He was a leader on any team, always playing on the power play and at critical moments.

The reactive Canadian burst into the league, scoring 103 points in his debut season and winning the Calder Trophy. According to a 1990 poll, general managers of NHL clubs ranked Hawerchuck as the 3rd most desirable player in the league (around whom they wanted to build a franchise) after Gretzky and Coffey. Like so many greats who didn’t make it to the cup, he played in the final (with Philadelphia in 1997), but the trophy passed him by.

Hawerchuck hit his first hundred points at 20 years, 1000 at 27 (both times 4th all-time). The highlights of his career show that Winnipeg’s perennial captain deserves a place in more than just the Hall of Fame (where he entered in 2001).

Ed Belfour

Playing career:

Chicago Blackhawks (1988-1997); San Jose Sharks (1997); Dallas Stars (1997-2002);

Toronto Maple Leafs (2002-2006); Florida Panthers (2006-2007).

Regular season stats: 963 games, 484 wins. Conceded an average of 2.5 goals per game; 90.6% of shots deflected.

In playoffs: 161 games, 88 wins. Conceded an average of 2.17 goals per game; 92% of shots deflected.

Looking at the above, one might get the impression that Belfour is far from a clear candidate for the top 100, but specifically, in this case, the stats don’t entirely make the point. Ed was one of those goaltenders who gained form for the playoffs, showing his best game in the away games. He won a Stanley Cup (1999), Calder Trophy (1991), two Vezins (1991, 1993), 4 William Jennings Trophies – for the goaltender on the team with the fewest goals against (1991, 1993, 1995, 1999). He is 3rd all-time in regular-season wins and 10th all-time in shots on goal (76). His name was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.

Belfour helped Chicago reach the Finals in 1992, then won a bowl with Dallas 7 years later. He is remembered by opposing offences as one of the most skilful goalkeepers in the league, making him a challenging target to beat. In addition, Eddie belonged to the group of “old-school” goalkeepers, always ready to stand up for themselves during scuffles on the backline.

Pierre Pilote

Playing career:

Chicago Blackhawks (1955-1968); Toronto Maple Leafs (1968-1969).

Regular season stats: 890 games, 498 (80+418) points. Average of 0.56 points per game

In playoffs: 86 games, 61 (8+53) points. Average of 0.7 points per game

In the ’60s era, before Bobby Orr came to the NHL, there was no more formidable defenseman than Pierre Pilote. His stats are unbelievable for a time when there was no offensive defenseman position. It never occurred to anyone that a defensive player could fulfil several offensive roles without compromising his main job. He won a Stanley Cup (1961), 3 Norris Trophies (1963, 1964, 1965), was 2nd in the voting three times, and was constantly selected for the All-Star Game and the season’s national team. His duo with Elmer Vasco essentially created a new type of defenseman, the “blueliner” (defensemen positioned on the opponent’s blue line, participating in puck movement throughout the offensive zone). He made a decisive contribution to the development of hockey. Pilote was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975. His #3 is taken out of circulation by the Hawks.