Throughout the decades and decades that the NHL has been around, a ton of brilliant players have come and gone. The legendary players have legacies that stand the test of time and are remembered far after they retired. However, there are numerous great players that don’t get as much attention as they deserve, like these five men.
1. Dave Andreychuk
Andreychuk is a true legend of the sport that no one really talks about much anymore. The guy had an extremely lengthy career in the NHL and was very solid throughout and was a great leader. Andreychuk played in the NHL for 24 years from 1982-2006 and is actually sixth all time in games played with 1639. In addition to that, he is one of the best power play goal scorers of all time and actually holds the NHL record in that stat with 274 power play goals.
2. Mike Gartner
Gartner is one of the most physically gifted and skilled players in league history. He was largely seen as the fastest player in the league and actually won the “fastest skater” event at the all-star game on three different occasions. While he was indeed quick, his best skill was probably his ability to put the puck in the net. Gartner played 19 years in the NHL and in 17 of those, he put up 30 goals (which is an NHL record). He is also one of only seven men to score more than 700 goals in their career and he hardly gets mentioned among the greatest of all time like he should.
3. Mike Bossy
Mike Bossy truly is one of the greatest offensive players the league has ever seen as is likely the best New York Islanders player of all time. He played for the Islanders for his entire ten year career and was instrumental in their four year Stanley Cup champion reign in the 1980’s. He had over 50 goals in each and every year he played (except for his last) and would without a doubt be mentioned as a likely top 5 player if he would’ve had a longer career. He has the highest average of goals per game in league history, even beating out Wayne Gretzky on that stat.
4. Marcel Dionne
Marcel Dionne is without a doubt underrated by almost everyone in NHL circles. The guy overcame a relatively small stature (5’8) to go on to be one of the best scorers of all time. His best years came with the Los Angeles Kings where he had 6 50+ goal seasons. He is fifth all time in goals and sixth all time in points, making him one of the best offensive players of all time easily. Some feel he can’t be considered among the best because he didn’t win a cup, but his stats say otherwise.
5. Ron Francis
For my money, Francis is likely the most underrated player in NHL history. Francis played for a number of NHL teams but is definitely best known for his time with the Penguins and Hurricanes where he served as a captain for both teams. Francis won a few Stanley Cups, but his stats are what really shock people. Francis is second all-time in NHL assists and fifth all time in points ahead of guys like Mario Lemieux and Steve Yzerman, but yet gets very little recognition compared to guys like that and others who weren’t quite as good as him. He currently serves as the GM of the Hurricanes and is one of the most beloved figures in the history of that team.