As the home of hockey, it is not surprising that Canada has produced some of the finest players in the world. But who are the very best Canadian NHL players? Names like Gordie Howe, Patrick Roy, and Joe Sakic certainly spring to mind, but here is our selection of the three greatest Canadian NHL players ever seen on the rink
Known as “The Captain”, Steve Yzerman was the longest-serving captain of any North American major league sports team in history. He was captain of the Detroit Red Wings for an incredible twenty-one seasons. Throughout his career, Yzerman played more than 1,300 games and he led the Red Wings to five first-place season finishes. Most memorably, the British Columbia-born player led Detroit to three Stanley Cup titles, in the two consecutive years of 1997 and 1998 and later in 2002.
Throughout his career, Yzerman won numerous awards. These include the Conn Smythe Trophy, the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, and the Lester B. Pearson Award for Most Outstanding Player. Yzerman was also a ten-time NHL All-Star. When he retired in 2006, Yzerman ranked as the sixth greatest all-time leading scorer in the history of the NHL, with a career-high of 155 points, consisting of 65 goals and 90 assists, in the 1988-89 season. Only Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky have beaten that.
While the likes of Yzerman, Lemieux, and Gretzky may no longer be playing in the NHL, there are still a number of exciting players to keep your eyes on, like Nathan MacKinnon and Connor McDavid. And with the 104th season of play due to start in October, it is not too early to check out the latest NHL odds and news. Whether any player can achieve the feats that Yzerman accomplished in his career is a different matter, though.
Born in Montreal in 1965, Mario Lemieux went on to become one of the greatest hockey players on the planet. Known as “The Magnificent One”, Lemieux’s magnificence was incredible indeed. He played his whole career with the Pittsburgh Penguins, over seventeen NHL seasons, from 1984 to 2006. In 1999, Lemieux assumed ownership of the team.
Lemieux’s vast amount of accomplishments includes leading the Penguins to the two consecutive Stanley Cups of 1991 and 1992 and winning additional titles as the owner in 2009, 2016, and 2017. In fact, Lemieux is the only person to have his name on the Stanley Cup as both a player and an owner. Another memorable moment in Lemieux’s career was when he led Team Canada at the 2002 Olympics to a gold medal win. Rather than waiting the usual three years to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Lemieux was inducted straight after his first retirement in 1997.
Wayne Gretzky is not only the greatest Canadian NHL player ever seen on the rink. He is also quite simply the greatest hockey player the game has ever seen.
During his twenty seasons playing in the NHL, with four teams between 1979 and 1999, Gretzky accomplished a ridiculous number of achievements, which led to him being known as “The Great One”. He is the leading scorer, assist producer, and point scorer in the history of the NHL. He also collected more assists than any other NHL player who scored total points. Other notable feats include being the only NHL player to ever total more than 200 points in one season. Not only did Gretzky accomplish that feat. He also achieved it four times. He also racked up 100 points in sixteen seasons, fourteen of which were consecutive. By the time Ontario-born Gretzky retired, he had clocked up an incredible sixty-one NHL records. Upon his retirement, Wayne Gretzky was immediately inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Rightly so.