While players from years gone by – from Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull to Terry O’Reilly and Clark Gillies – have displayed the hard-nosed style that typifies the power forward position, this list is reserved for the men who skated during or after the label entered hockey’s vernacular:
And the definition of a power forward was born with Boston Bruins brawler-sniper Cam Neely. In the late 1980s and early ‘90s, the right winger ruled the NHL as a physical force who was a devastating bodychecker, feared fighter and skilled scorer. One of only nine NHLers to score 50 goals in 50 games – needing only 44 injury-plagued games in 1993-94 – Neely was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.
But what of ‘The Moose’? Mark Messier was a better overall player than Neely, but his days as a true power forward, while dominant, were limited to early in his career. Messier played some left wing on a line with Wayne Gretzky with the Oilers in the early ‘80s – power forwards have traditionally been defined as wingers, as opposed to centers, because wingers usually have more opportunity to bodycheck and be physical – but spent most of his career as a center.
10. Tim Kerr
Hard to believe this four-time 50-goal man went undrafted.
9. John LeClair
‘Legion of Doom’ member had back-to-back-to-back 50-goal campaigns.
8. Kevin Stevens
Two-time NHL all-star and U.S. Olympian also won two Cups.
7. Rick Tocchet
Known as much for his fisticuffs, Stanley Cup winner had 440 career goals.
6. Keith Tkachuk
First American to lead NHL in goals (52 in ’96-97).
5. Eric Lindros
Unstoppable force before concussions.
4. Brendan Shanahan
Should be celebrated for play and attempts to better game.
3. Jarome Iginla
Surname means ‘Big Tree’ in his father’s native African language.
2. Mark Messier
Six-time Cup winner second in all-time points.
1. Cam Neely
Bruins fans still curse Ulf Samuelsson’s name.
This Top 10 originally appeared in THN’s Ultimate Book of Hockey Lists.
The THN.com Top 10 appears Mondays only on TheHockeyNews.com.
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