Top 5 Fantasy Hockey Players of All-Time
Fantasy sports, a new-age instrument designed to give the responsibilities of managing a professional sports team to any man, woman, or child with internet access. The very interesting thing I have always thought about fantasy sports is the question, “what if we could somehow draft players from different era’s to see how they could play together?”. Well lucky for the more hockey-minded reader, I have compiled a short list of the all-time best fantasy players.
Coming in at #5 is Capitals legend Dale Hunter. I know it looks quite biased coming from a Capitals fan but let me remind you that though Hunter has the second-most penalty minutes (His 3,565 career penalty minutes dwarf any other players on this list) in the history of the NHL, he also recorded over 1,000 points. Hunter was a valuable part of developing the team that went to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998. Though he was also on the Capitals when they went to the Finals, Hunter’s most valuable export was helping and protecting young Capitals players like Peter Bondra, Michal Pivonka, Richard Zednik, Andrew Brunette, and Sergei Gonchar, as well as handing down his enforcer-like qualities to Chris Simon and Brendan Witt during the early-mid 90’s. Hunter was one of those guys who could do it all, he could fight, hit, score, pass, and win. It is unfortunate that his greatest legacy is his infamous (albeit dirty) hit on Pierre Turgeon in 1993 when he was really a very unique player who was so versatile.
The only defenseman to make the list comes in at #4. Raymond Bourque was one of, if not the, best defensemen to ever play the game of hockey. He is the all-time leader in goals, assists, and points among defensemen. Among all skaters he is second on the all-time list for +/-, and holds the record for most shots on net by a remarkable margin of almost 1,000. Though much of his record-holding can be attributed to the fact that he played for such a long time (22 seasons) and does not have the skill that say, Bobby Orr had, the fact that he, for over two decades, was producing respectably, and shooting more than anyone had ever seen, places him as one of the best fantasy players ever.
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Though Brendan Shanahan is now policing the NHL as if it were the world of George Orwell’s 1984, once upon a time he was a bit of a rebel himself. With almost 2,500 penalty minutes, 1,354 points, and over 5,000 shots on net, Shanahan is perhaps the most well-balanced player in the list. His excellence in every aspect of the game makes him the ideal fantasy player. He is also excellent in the playoffs, on the power play, and was not afraid to dish out or take a hit.
Mark Messier is the NHL’s ideal example of what leadership in the game is. Messier was simply a monster at anything he attempted. His 1,887 points are second only to Wayne Gretzky, who was not too shabby of a player in his own right. Messier’s 1,910 penalty minutes seem unheard of for a player of his scoring caliber. With 4,219 shots on net, Messier seems to defy any negative definition as far as numbers go.
No one can argue with Gordie Howe’s dominance for his time, which, by the way, spanned across four decades. He played the most games ever in the NHL with 1,767, accumulated 1,600 penalty minutes, over 1,800 points and 801 goals (second ever in the NHL). We don’t know how many total shots he took since the NHL did not even keep track of that statistic until 1967. However, in the few years shots on net were kept track of he averaged 228.2 shots per season (keep in mind that’s not full seasons, just his season). Though some of his numbers are clearly not as good as other people on this list, the reason Howe gets #1 is that the numbers he did put up were unheard of for his time.
By: Jonathan Bloom
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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