I know hockey may not be America’s favorite sport, but if all the ignorant hockey naysayers would give it a chance, I am confident that hockey would eventually rule not only America, but the entire world. With that said, wouldn’t it be awesome to have a season played with all 30 NHL franchises having their best all-time teams take the ice?
If you could cross eras, having Sidney Crosby go top cheese on Patrick Roy or Wayne Gretzky receiving passes from Connor McDavid, that would be AMAZING! So why don’t we digest this a little bit more and turn this fantasy into a reality, and see the 12 forwards, 6 defensemen, and the 1 goalie that would dress for all 30 NHL franchises in the greatest of all-time season. Let us start with the Atlantic Division.
1. Montreal Canadiens:
Henri Richard-Jean Beliveau-Guy LaFleur
Stephen Shutt-Jacques Lemaire-Yvan Cournoyer
Mats Naslund-Saku Koivu-Mario Tremblay
Tomas Plekanec-Elmer Lach-Bernie Geoffrion
Guy LaPointe-Andrei Markov
Larry Robinson-Doug Harvey
PK Subban-Serge Savard
The Montreal Canadiens are without a doubt the greatest and most storied franchise in NHL history, so cracking their all-time roster would be an incredible honor for sure, eh? Forwards were pretty cut and paste, these guys are the all-time leaders for the Habs on offense, and a team with 24 Stanley Cups don’t need to change much. Defense was again pretty easy, but I couldn’t not put PK Subban on this roster. He may have just be kicked to the curb (us Predator fans thank you greatly) for Shea Weber, but the impact PK had for the Habs was incredible. He was shut down on the blue line and had a slap shot of a God. Bruins fans are beyond excited to see him leave. The hardest choice of all 30 franchises was definitely the Montreal goaltender. Jacques Plante, Ken Dryden, Carey Price, Jose Theodore and Georges Vezina were all wonderful tendies, but how can you not pick Patrick Roy? He was one of the best goalies of all-time, and just watch out, we may be seeing Roy on another team’s all-time roster later on.
2. Boston Bruins:
John Bucyk-Patrice Bergeron-Cam Neely
Ken Hodge-Phil Esposito-Rick Middleton
Wayne Cashman-Milt Schmidt-Terry O’Reilly
Brad Marchand-Peter McNab-Dit Clapper
Ray Bourque-Bobby Orr
Brad Park-Zdeno Chara
Eddie Shore-Don Sweeney
Numbers never lie folks, so that is why you may not recognize a handful of these names. There are a few factors to consider when picking the all-time greatest team, factors being the era in which they played and how the game has evolved. Would Dit Clapper have 228 goals in today’s game? Absolutely not, but he is an all-time Boston Bruins great for what he did in his era. New meets old on this roster, as I have Patrice Bergeron centering the first line of the all-time Bruins team. This is a testament to Bergy’s incredible way to control the game, his impeccable defensive effort, and his consistency in the faceoff circle. Defensively, this team is a juggernaut. Ray and Bobby as the first unit, they might score more than any forward line combined. My head hurts just thinking about the damage that duo could do. Goalie was a tough one for me, but a no brainer at the same time. Timmy T is only fourth on the Bruins all-time wins list, but he did not even play 400 games for the Bruins, like the top 3 all did. He had a 2.48 goals against average and of course, single handily won the Bruins the Stanley Cup in 2011. Thomas’ athleticism and competitiveness made it an easy choice for him the represent my Bruins as the goalie on their all-time roster. Look for the Bruins to finish in the top 2 of the Atlantic Division in an all-time greatest season.
3. Detroit Red Wings:
Henrik Zetterberg-Steve Yzerman-Gordie Howe
Alex Delvecchio-Sergei Federov-Brendan Shanahan
Ted Lindsay-Pavel Datsyuk-Norm Ullman
Gerard Gallant-Igor Larionov-Johan Franzen
Nicklas Lidstrom-Reed Larson
Red Kelly-Niklas Kronwall
Chris Chelios-Gary Bergman
WOW. What a team this is. They will be competing with Boston and Montreal for first place in the Atlantic Division with this team. Goals with be scored left and right, I can see this team averaging 4-5 goals a game with this forward unit. The ceneter core of this team features Yzerman, Federov, Datysuk, and Larionov…dear God that’s astounding. Defense is a force to be reckoned with as well, Lidstrom, Larson, Kronwall make up an extravagant defensive core. Goalie was a slam dunk for me with Chris Osgood, and he was very good. He had the funny helmet and all, and he was a great net minder for the Wings. I like the Wings to compete with the best of the best in an all-time league and to make it into the playoffs out of the Atlantic.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs:
Francis Mahovlich-Mats Sundin-Darryl Sittler
Doug Gilmour-Dave Keon-Ronald Ellis
George Armstrong-Ted Kennedy-Phil Kessel
Bob Pulford-Auston Matthews-Lanny McDonald
Borje Salming-Tim Horton
Tomas Kaberle-Ian Turnbull
Bryan McCabe-Red Kelly
This all-time roster will not be winning the Stanley Cup for the city of Toronto, but that’s expected when it comes to the Maple Leafs. The Leafs haven’t won a cup since 1967, that’s pretty embarrassing to say the least. There are some great players on this team, Mats Sundin and Doug Gilmour are two of the better players the NHL has ever seen, but no cups for either of you with the Maple Leafs. Phil Kessel gets to leave, and he wins a cup immediately in Pittsburgh, what a shocker there. The biggest surprise on this roster has to be Auston Matthews because the kid hasn’t even played an NHL game yet and he made their all-time roster. Why? Because he has so much potential, the Maple Leafs would be insane to not try him out for this team if this were reality. Goalie was tough, but Felix Potvin was my choice because I have seen him play, and he is a trustworthy option between the pipes. The Maple Leafs all-time team isn’t winning Lord Stanley anytime soon, but look for them to compete for a playoff spot.
5. Buffalo Sabres:
Richard Martin-Gilbert Perreault-Miroslav Satan
Dave Andreychuk-Don Luce-Rene Robert
Thomas Vanek-Derek Roy-Craig Ramsey
Dale Hawerchuk-Pat LaFontaine-Alexander Mogilny
Phil Housley-Alexei Zhitnik
Doug Bodger-Gerald Korab
Michael Ramsey-James Schoenfeld
Buffalo is a franchise still searching for its first Stanley Cup but this team has potential to compete for a playoff spot in an all-time greatest season. The first player off this roster is Jack Eichel, I wanted to put him on this team so badly, but just couldn’t replace Pat LaFontaine with him just yet. I love the offense for the Sabres all-time team, but the defense is the grey area for me. Phil Housley is the best defender the Sabres have ever had, so he would be relied on heavily to hold down the blue line. There was a two goalie battle for the starting job for this team, Dominik Hasek and Ryan Miller were the two options, but come on, it is Dom’s net every time. And as a man named Kelley once told me “You better watch out for them Sabres, they are like sneaky average a lot.”
6. Tampa Bay Lightning:
Vincent Lecavalier-Steven Stamkos-Martin St. Louis
Vinny Prospal-Tyler Johnson-Brad Richards
Freddy Modin-Chris Gratton-Nikita Kucherov
Ruslan Fedotenko-Alex Killorn-Dave Andreychuk
Dan Boyle-Pavel Kubina
Victor Hedman-Roman Hamrlik
Anton Stralman-Paul Ranger
Another young team here in Tampa Bay, but loads of talent up front. This first line is great but I don’t know how the other three lines will stack up with the other teams with more history in this division. The defense is week for the fire power that some of these teams have but I can see them surprising a few people with their offensive group. Goalie was a close one as Ben Bishop and Nikolai Khabibulin are both phenomenal goaltenders, but Bishop gets the nod cause of his size, he’s a giant standing at 6’7”. Some of these guys like Bobby Orr and Jean Beliveau have never seen a goalie of this size so that may make it difficult for them to find the twine. This team goes as Bishop goes, if he can fluster the all-time greatest scorers then there is a chance, and I mean slight chance that this team backs its way into the postseason.
7. Ottawa Senators:
Dany Heatley-Jason Spezza-Daniel Alfredsson
Radek Bonk-Alexi Yashin-Chris Neil
Milan Michalek-Mike Fisher-Marian Hossa
Nick Foligno-Kyle Turris-Martin Havlat
Wade Redden-Erik Karlsson
Chris Phillips-Zdeno Chara
Filip Kuba-Jason York
Ottawa joined the NHL in 1992 through expansion, so they have no chance of winning the big one in an all-time greatest league. But nonetheless, could you imagine this roster in its prime? Some great stuff from that first line for sure. We see Zdeno Chara making his second appearance on this list, and I think a few more of these guys will be revisited later as well. Patrick Lalime is my choice at goalie because he is the franchise leader in games played, wins, etc. Ray Emery was so close to getting the nod for me because of his cup run he took Ottawa on back in 2007. Speaking of 2007, Dany Heatley. “50 in ‘07” is now a lifestyle for hockey players, and that’s an incredible impact to leave on such a beautiful game. This Ottawa all-time team might be my favorite to watch of any team in this division, but that does not mean they will be winning a lot, just too young of a franchise to have a chance against the Bruins, Canadiens, and Red Wings.
8. Florida Panthers:
Nathan Horton-Olli Jokinen-Scott Mellanby
Pavel Bure-Stephen Weiss-Radek Dvorak
Jonathan Huberdeau-Viktor Kozlov-Ray Whitney
David Booth-Rob Niedermayer-Bill Lindsay
Jay Bouwmeester-Ed Jovanovski
Robert Svehla-Brian Campbell
Aaron Ekblad-Dmitry Kulikov
This is a rough all-time roster to say the least. Some of these guys should never appear on a list like this, but when on the Panthers anything is possible. All these picks were obvious because of the lack of time and winning that has gone on in Florida. Maybe as time moves forward Aaron Ekblad will become a household NHL name and he will skyrocket to the first defensive unit, but for now line three is where he is at. Roberto Luongo is a great guy to have in net for your franchise but he definitely is not the best goalie of all-time. Olli Jokinen wins best name in NHL history, but this team will finish at the bottom of the barrel in the Atlantic Division.