People often wander what it might be like to cross eras in sports and see what it would be like if certain players had united and played as one. For me though, I want to see what all 30 NHL franchises would look like if they created a roster of that franchises greatest talent. If you missed the first edition of this 4 part series be sure to check out the Atlantic Division article from last week. Without further ado, let’s get into the Metropolitan Division, and then see what the Eastern Conference playoffs would look like.
1. Pittsburgh Penguins:
Mario Lemieux-Sidney Crosby-Jaromir Jagr
Evgeni Malkin-Ron Francis-Rick Kehoe
Kevin Stevens-Martin Straka-Mark Recchi
Chris Kunitz-Syl Apps Jr-Joseph Pronovost
Paul Coffey-Kris Letang
Randy Carlyle-Sergei Gonchar
Ronald Stackhouse-Larry Murphy
Oh my Lord. Mario, Sid, and Jags all on one line? Yes yes yes! This team puts the fear of God in me when I look at this all-time roster. Goals will be scored left and right and wins will be plentiful. The supporting cast is impressive too, Geno and Ron Francis on line two is just as dangerous. The bulk of the load with be carried by the first line though, and they are more than up to the task. Defense is also deadly with Coffey and Letang on the first unit, these two can score with the best of them. The question mark on this roster is Marc-Andre Fleury. He is without a doubt the greatest goaltender in Penguins history, but I do not see him as much of a threat in net as say Henrik Lundqvist or Martin Brodeur in this division. The Penguins will compete for the division crown for sure, and they might even be contending for even more.
2. New Jersey Devils:
Kirk Muller-Patrik Elias-John Maclean
Zach Parise-Scott Gomez-Jamie Langenbrunner
Aaron Broten-Bobby Holik-Petr Sykora
Jason Arnott-Claude Lemieux-Brian Gionta
Scott Niedermayer-Scott Stevens
Bruce Driver-Andy Greene
Brian Rafalski-Kenneth Daneyko
This is a very good all-time roster. From up front to the goal crease this team has some real firepower. I am slightly biased on this one cause I used to love the Devils back in the early 2000s, and I was really pulling for them to take home the cup in 2012, but I think this team would do really well in an all-time greatest season. The leader of this team, and best player, is Martin Brodeur. Martin Brodeur is the greatest goalie the NHL history. Period. He led the Devils to 3 Stanley Cups championships, and to 5 total Stanley Cup appearances. Brodeur also has 688 career victories, that’s nothing to take lightly, that is incredible. Now to the defense. Scott Stevens will kill you. Scott Stevens will wait for the perfect moment to take you head off as you cross his blue line, just ask Paul Kariya. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sR-hjR0sms) The defesne on this team will smother you, all three lines role deep and can lead a team to a Stanley Cup. Offensively I have no complaints either. Elias, Gomez, Holik, and Lemieux make up an incredible center core and the wingers are spectacular in their own rights as well. I look for the Devils all-time franchise to compete for the division title in the Metro.
3. Philadelphia Flyers:
Bill Barber-Bobby Clarke-Tim Kerr
John Leclair-Eric Lindros-Mark Recchi
Brian Propp-Richard Macleish-Reginald Leach
Simon Gagne-Claude Giroux-Mike Richards
Mark Howe-Eric Desjardins
Kimmo Timonen-Thomas Bladon
Behn Wilson-James Watson
Heres a team I really like on paper for an all-time greatest season. The Broad Street Bullies as some call them have quite a nice looking team put together here. The Flyers have a rich history, but also a history of not winning the big game, maybe with this roster they can compete for a cup. I think they can absolutely compete, and the number one reason to me is because of Ron Hextall. Hextall is machine in net, and he can take the boys of Philly to the promise land, maybe. The offense is stacked, Claude Giroux on the fourth line…that’s a lineup I would want to have. Bobby Clarke might be the greatest Flyer in history, so you know he will bring his A game nightly. Eric Lindros was one of those guys who was supposed to be the next Wayne Gretzky and because of this his legacy seems tainted, but Lindros can play. I like the way this roster feels, and I think that they can do some serious damage in an all-time greatest season.
4. New York Rangers:
Jean Ratelle-Mark Messier-Rod Gilbert
Steve Vickers-Walt Tkaczuk-Andy Bathgate
Adam Graves-Phil Esposito-Don Maloney
Dean Prentice-Vic Hadfield-Anders Hedberg
Brian Leetch-Brad Park
Ron Greschner-James Patrick
Reijo Ruotsalainen-Bill Gadsby
If you’re feeling left unsatisfied after viewing this roster, you’re not alone. The New York Rangers have a rich history, but with not so much winning. I wish I could have lived through the Rangers 1994 Stanley Cup run. Mark Messier making a promise to beat the Devils, and the city of New York going bananas at the Rangers victory parade. Mark Messier is by far the heart and soul of this all-time Rangers roster, but these other guys are great too. Many of the names on this list are from the 50s when the game was different. That’s what leaves me hungry for more, I want to see them in action and see what kind of damage they could do on the ice now. I think the Rangers all-time team will be in a dog fight for a playoff spot, but they are not a lock to get in by any means. Brian Leetch and Brad Park make up one of the best defensive duos in the league and of course you cannot go wrong with Hank in net. King Henrik has been one of the best goaltenders in the NHL for a few years now and has lead the Rangers to the top 5 of the league for several years running. This team has all the potential in the world, but can they get it done consistently on game day?
5. New York Islanders:
Clark Gillies-Bryan Trottier-Mike Bossy
John Tonelli-Pat Lafontaine-Bobby Nystrom
John Tavares-Brent Sutter-Kyle Okposo
Derek King-Robert Bourne-Frans Nielsen
Denis Potvin-Tomas Jonsson
Stefan Person-Kenny Jonsson
Mark Streit-Jean Potvin
This team is crawling with talent from the 1979-1983 era of the New York Islanders, and how could it not? 4 Stanley Cups in 4 seasons during that time is remarkable, and a feat that will never be duplicated again in any sport. Mike Bossy is the Islander hockey, look for him to lead them offensively. I also see John Tavares being a force on the ice as well. Yes, Tavares is still young, but he is an amazing athlete who has lead the Islanders back to relevancy since he was drafted number 1 overall in 2009. Defense is a little weaker than most teams. Denis Potvin leads the way for this unit, but outside of him it’s a little rough looking to say the least. Potvin has over 300 career goals to his name so look for him to light the lamp frequently. Billy Smith was the only goalie who even deserved consideration for this job. He was the goalie back in the Islanders hay day, so he is getting the nod from me in an all-time greatest season as the Islanders starter. Contending for a playoff spot with this roster if you ask me.
6. Washington Capitals:
Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Peter Bondra
Michal Pivonka-Dale Hunter-Mike Gartner
Bengt Ake Gustafsson-Mike Ridley-Alexander Semin
Steve Konowalchuk-Dennis Maruk-Dave Christian
Calle Johansson-Sergei Gonchar
Mike Green-Kevin Hatcher
John Carlson-Larry Murphy
The Washington Capitals have never hoisted the Stanley Cup, and they will not be anytime soon in an all-time greatest season either. Alex Ovechkin is the best player the Caps have ever had, and to be completely honest, I had him. Ovi is a self-centered, non-back checking, Russian missle launcher who cannot win the big game. Ovechkin has all the talent in the world, but he just does not use it all. He puts up a crazy amount of goals, but does not play defense and doesn’t know how to win. This team is by no means bad, but they will definetly not be winning the ultimate prize. The defense is cute to say the least. Mike Green and John Carlson are on the all-time roster, that’s pretty soft if you ask me, but I put them here cause that’s all Washington had to offer. In net is Olie the Goalie, and what a net minder he was. Kolzig is one of my favorite goalies of all-time due to the fight that he and Byron DaFoe engaged in way back when I was just a little tike. I rooted for DaFoe but that is my first memory of an all-out donnybrook, and I have Kolzig to thank for that.
7. Carolina Hurricanes:
Rod Brind’Amour-Ron Francis-Kevin Dineen
Ray Whitney-Eric Staal-Pat Verbeek
Erik Cole-Ray Ferraro-Sami Kapanen
Blaine Stoughton-Jeff O’Neill-Geoff Sanderson
David Babych-Glen Wesley
Mark Howe-Ulf Samuelsson
Justin Faulk-Zarley Zalapski
The Carolina Hurricanes franchise is in a downward spiral these days. Management is a mess, the owners want little part in the team, and relocation discussions are in the air. First off, as a hockey fan, send the Hurricanes to Quebec, they deserve a team. But, this franchise has already relocated once in its history, having moved from Hartford, Connecticut down to Raleigh, North Carolina. With that being said, the Hurricanes and Hartford Whalers franchise makes up a pretty solid all-time greatest roster. When I see this lineup I think blue collar, chip and chase hockey. The Hurricanes peaked in ’06 like most of us, and ever since they really haven’t done too much, except crush Bruins fans hearts in game 7 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals. The top two lines on this team stack up very nicely in my opinion, having Ron Francis and Eric Staal up the middle is huge for any teams’ success. I do not see the ‘Canes all-time team lighting the lamp at will like some teams, but they have a great defense and an outstanding goalie. Cam Ward was a slam dunk for net for this team, so long as it’s 2006 Cam Ward. As a rookie Cam Ward led the Hurricanes on an absolute thrill ride to the top of the hockey mountain, beating the then good Edmonton Oilers in seven games to capture the crown. Glen Wesley is a household name for any real hockey fan and Justin Faulk is still growing into his own, give this roster a few more years and he would be on the first D unit next to Wesley.
8. Columbus Blue Jackets:
Rick Nash-RJ Umberger-David Vyborny
Nick Foligno-Ryan Johansen-Nikolay Zherdev
Sergei Federov-Derick Brassard-Cam Atkinson
Kristian Huselius-Brandon Dubinsky-Antoine Vermette
Fedor Tyutin-James Wisniewski
Rostislav Klesla-Jack Johnson
David Savard-Ron Hainsey
The first word that comes to mind after reading that roster is bad. All-time rosters are supposed to be great, with players who you recognize, there’s only one name on here that stands out to me, and that’s Rick Nash. Rick Nash is the Columbus Blue Jackets. He is the only player worth mentioning in their abbreviated history. This all-time greatest roster would not even come close to winning the Stanley Cup even in a normal regular season, let alone an all-time greatest roster one. The greatest all-time Columbus Blue Jackets team may not even break the 15 win mark in an 82 game season, this is an incredibly rough roster. I hate to abuse a team this badly, but I am speaking the truth. Sergei Bobrovsky is the all-time winningest goalie in Columbus history, and he is basically a nobody. Basically this is the team that won’t fill its seats on any night and your team can always guarantee a win against.
That wraps up the regular season rankings for the Eastern Conference, but what are the playoff matchup’s and who gets the wild card spots in an all-time greatest season?
In the Atlantic side of the bracket we have:
1. Montreal Canadiens vs. WC2. New York Rangers
2. Boston Bruins vs. 3.Detroit Red Wings
In the Metropolitan Division we have:
1. Pittsburgh Penguins vs. WC1. Toronto Maple Leafs
2. New Jersey Devils vs. 3. Philadelphia Flyers