Top 50 Most Entertaining Hockey Players 2012

This Saturday, September 15th may very well become an ominous day for hockey fans as the NHL and NHLPA cannot get together to even meet and hash out a new CBA for the National Hockey League.  The impact on the hockey fan continues to get overlooked.  As a result many hockey fans like you and I will not get a chance this fall to watch our favorite players and favorite teams.  Even if the season starts in October, November, December or January the 2012-2012 NHL season will be one appended with an asterisks. A fourth work stoppage under the reign of Commissioner Gary Bettman a man who is not a hockey man, but a man working to ensure that NHL owners reap even more revenues from their business… their NHL franchises.

Don’t get us wrong, we understand the dynamic of the professional sports business.  We do think that professional athletes are overpaid based on the entertainment that they provide (or lack-there-of).  Having said that there are in fact hockey players that are very entertaining and worth the price of admission.  Players that exemplify a skill level above their peers.  Hockey players that are not all about seven figure salaries.  Hockey players that share a hockey fans’ love of the game.  We thought that readers of the Hockey Fanatic would be interested in seeing just which players they will be missing out on should an NHL lockout take place this Saturday.

Top 50 Most Entertaining Hockey Players 2012

  1. Steven Stamkos – center – Tampa Bay Lightning.  The man is an explosive player scoring 60 goals last season.  The man took over 300 shots last season with 20% of them finding the back of the net.  Steven Stamkos is only 22 years old and is bound to get even better.  With a lockout shortened season we expect Stamkos to lead the league in scoring again.  It is unfortunate that he won’t have a chance to put up back to back sixty goal seasons.
  2. Jordan Eberle – right wing – Edmonton Oilers.  Hockey fans (and hockey writers) don’t get much of a chance to see this dynamo.  Eberle has moves that mos only try in hockey practices.  He plays the game at high speed and put up great numbers on a sub-par Oilers team last season.  He is a human highlight reel and makes the game fun to watch.
  3. Evgeni Malkin – center – Pittsburgh Penguins.  The reigning MVP of the league has great skill and can do it all.  Malkin led the league with 109 points in 2011-2012 and could repeat in a shortened season.  He was 8/11 in shootouts and was featured in plays of the year on many sports shows.  Gino definitely has some entertainment value.
  4. Alex Ovechkin- left wing – Washington Capitals.  The Great “8” is still one of most entertaining players in the game.  Even after a couple of sub-par seasons.  Ovie has a true passion for the game and is one of our favorite and most entertaining players. 
  5. Henrik Lundqvist- goalie – New York Rangers.  King Henrik is a very athletic goaltender and carried  Ranger team on his shoulders at times last season.  A 1.97 GAA with 39 wins in 2011-2012 says a lot about how entertaining an athletic goalie can be. 
  6. P.K. Subban- defense – Montreal Canadiens.  We love PK, in fact the NHL needs more PK Subbans as this guy is skilled, opinionated and as passionate as anyone about the game of hockey.  His post-game interviews always make us crack a smile.  Well done PK.  Keep it up. 
  7. Drew Doughty - defense – Los Angeles Kings.  From his antics on the bench as he bobs to music from the arena to his play on the ice, Drew Doughty makes the game fun to watch.
  8. Sidney Crosby- center – Pittsburgh Penguins.  a health Sidney Crosby sells a lot of hockey jerseys.  Crosby showed an intensity in the playoffs last year that quite honestly was surprising. 
  9. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins- center – Edmonton Oilers.  The Nuge is the real deal.  This kid has hockey sense like, dare I say it, Wayne Gretzky.  He makes smart plays and is a treat to watch as a hockey fan.  He would have easily put up 65+ points had he not been injured for a spell last year. 
  10. Teemu Selanne – right wing – Anaheim Ducks.  At 41, the Finnish Flash still has well a lot of Flash.  He scored 26 goals in 2011-2012 and led the Ducks in scoring with 66 points.  The man is an amazing skater.  Unfortunately another lost season to a lockout could mean that we have seen the last of Mr. Selanne in the NHL as a player.
  11. Pavel Datsyuk- center – Detroit Red Wings.  This may makes some of the prettiest plays in all of hockey.  Good enough for us. 
  12. Claude Giroux- center – Philadelphia Flyers.  The Face pf NHL 2013.  ‘Nuff said. 
  13. Anze Kopitar- center – Los Angeles Kings.  Highly skilled forward who can do it all and light the lamp usually at will. 
  14. Erik Karlsson- defense – Ottawa Senators.  78 points in 81 games for a defenseman in this day and age?  That is pretty remarkable.  This guy is fun to watch and has been known to be a good interview. 
  15. Zdeno Chara – defense – Boston Bruins.  This guy is a monster and plays with a mean streak yet is apparently a true gentleman off the ice.  I remember watching Chara play in the WHL and he was a tower of power back then.
  16. Jamie Benn- center – Dallas Stars.  I was lucky enough to watch Jamie a lot in junior as he played for the Kelowna Rockets.  You could just tell that he was going to be a solid NHLer.  Another young entertaining hockey talent. 
  17. Jeff Skinner – left wing – Carolina Hurricanes.  A great young talent who can entertain fans with strong play and smart hockey sense.
  18. Johnathan Quick- goalie – Los Angeles Kings.  This guy carried the Kings all year culminating in the franchise’s first Stanley Cup championship. 
  19. Shea Weber- defense – Nashville Predators.  This guy coms to play every night and is as intense and as passionate as anyone.  Another ex-Kelowna Rocket Weber was sought by a number of teams including the Flyers who attempted to sign Weber to an offer-sheet in the off season only to have it matched by the Preds.  Why?  Entertainment value baby. 
  20. Ilya Kovalchuk- left wing – New Jersey Devils.  Not one of our favorite players but the main can be an entertaining player.  He scored 11 goals in 15 shoot out attempts in 2011-2012. 
  21. Taylor Hall – left wing – Edmonton Oilers.  This guy is a cross between Mark Messier and Glenn Anderson.  ‘Nuff said.
  22. Gabriel Landeskog – left winger – Colorado Avalanche.  Rookie of the year last year (we felt it should have been Ryan Nugent Hopkins), Landeskog looks to be a well rounded player and was named the youngest captain of an NHL tean ever.
  23. Johnathan Toews- center – Chicago Blackhawks.  Captain Serious is fun to watch and is a point per game player who may be a quiet leader but is a tremendous hockey talent. 
  24. Zach Parise- left wing – Minnesota Wild.  Very entertaining although not sure he’s worth $98 million over 13 years. 
  25. John Tavares – center – New York Islanders.  81 points in 82 games last season.  A young, dynamic player.
  26. Patrick Kane- center – Chicago Blackhawks.  Entertaining both on and off the ice. 
  27. Pekka Rinne- goalie – Nashville Predators.  The last line of defense in Smashville. This guy makes spectacular saves. 
  28. Martin Brodeur- goalie – New Jersey Devils.  The winningest goalie in history had a tremendous playoff run last Spring.  Some of his saves were simply amazing. 
  29. Daniel Sedin- left wing – Vancouver Canucks.  You cannot argue the skills of the Sedins.  Daniel scored 30 goals last year.  It’s just too bad they turn invisible in the playoffs. 
  30. Joe Thornton- center – San Jose Sharks.  Jumbo Joe contiues to perform at an elite level.  He has a couple of Gordie How hat-tricks last season in games where he just dominated. 
  31. Martin St. Louis- left wing – Tampa Bay Lightning.  Small, feisty and shifty. 
  32. Dion Phaneuf- defense – Toronto Maple Leafs.  Big hits as Phaneuf was one of the NHL’s leaders in hits last season. 
  33. Henrik Sedin- center – Vancouver Canucks.  Again great skill.  It would be interesting to see the Sedins play on different team. 
  34. Daniel Carcillo- left wing – Chicago Blackhawks.  Love him or hate him, this guy pulls fans out of their seats. 
  35. Patrick Elias – left wing – New Jersey Devils.  An ageless wonder who still scores some pretty goals.
  36. Nail Yakupov – right wing – Edmonton Oilers.  A man who gets comparisons to Pavel Bure must be on a list of the top entertaining hockey players.
  37. Ilya Bryzgalov – goalie – Philadelphia Flyers.  If his interviews are not one of the most entertaining things in hockey, we don’t know what is.
  38. Scott Hartnell – left wing – Philadelphia Flyers.  The hair, the wipeouts, the interviews.
  39. Sheldon Souray – defense – Anaheim Ducks.  That huge slapshot is entertaining especially when he hits the post and the net moves.  Crazy.
  40. Ales Hemsky- right wing – Edmonton Oilers.  When this fellow is healthy he plays at an elite pace and is a solid skater and playmaker.  He makes moves that show brilliance. 
  41. Alex Pietrangelo- defense – St. Louis Blues.   A breath of fresh air with this offensively gifted defenseman from the Blues. 
  42. Carey Price- goalie – Montreal Canadiens.  The country and western fan is one of the bright lights in hockey-mad Montrwal.  Price is an excellent goalie who would shine even further on a better team. 
  43. Dustin Brown- left wing – Los Angeles Kings.  This man was excellent in the playoffs.  I pick him in my hockey pools every year.  He can score, hit and is a great leader. 
  44. George Parros – right wing – Florida Panthers.  The stache makes us laugh.
  45. Logan Couture- center – San Jose Sharks.  Dynamic young forward for the Sharks who continues to grow as a well rounded player. 
  46. Chris Neil- right wing – Ottawa Senators.  This guy does his job well and his toothless smile is entertaining in itself. 
  47. Henrik Zetterberg- center – Detroit Red Wings.  highly skilled Swede who continues to produce. 
  48. Dustin Penner – left wing – Los Angeles Kings.  Injuries himself while making pancakes?  Watch a Dustin Penner interview, he’ll crack you up.  When he’s on his game, this man is a beast.
  49. Sven Baertschi – left wing – Calgary Flames.  This kid is highly entertaining and posted three goals in five games as a late season call up for the Flames.  Again watched this guy play junior in Portland.  The Swiss born product definitely has some skills.
  50. Tyler Seguin – right wing – Boston Bruins.  A Stanley Cup as a rookie, 67 points last season.  A future league leader we are predicting.  A great hockey player who is fun to watch.

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