It’s clear that the wrong crowd voted on the top six Stanley Cup-winning captains since 1980. Did the world forget about Denis Potvin?
Recently, on HockeyAchievements.com, Lee and Travis asked fans to vote on aforementioned poll. Here’s the original question and how it was worded:
Pretty straight forward, right? Apparently not.
The votes have been tabulated and the Hockey Achievements crew released the top six answers from the community in the below video:
(note: the crew also wrote a post to go along with the video here)
So here’s that list again (voted by the Hockey Achievements community):
6. Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks)
5. Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)
4. Mark Messier (Edmonton Oilers & New York Rangers)
3. Steve Yzerman (Detroit Red Wings)
2. Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh Penguins)
1. Wayne Gretzky (Edmonton Oilers)
For those of you wondering who qualifies for this list, here are your nominees:
1980: Denis Potvin (New York Islanders)
1981: Denis Potvin (New York Islanders)
1982: Denis Potvin (New York Islanders)
1983: Denis Potvin (New York Islanders)
1984: Wayne Gretzky (Edmonton Oilers)
1985: Wayne Gretzky (Edmonton Oilers)
1986: Bob Gainey (Montreal Canadiens)
1987: Wayne Gretzky (Edmonton Oilers)
1988: Wayne Gretzky (Edmonton Oilers)
1989: Lanny McDonald (Calgary Flames)
1990: Mark Messier (Edmonton Oilers)
1991: Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh Penguins)
1992: Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh Penguins)
1993: Guy Carbonneau (Montreal Canadiens)
1994: Mark Messier (New York Rangers)
1995: Scott Stevens (New Jersey Devils)
1996: Joe Sakic (Colorado Avalanche)
1997: Steve Yzerman (Detroit Red Wings)
1998: Steve Yzerman (Detroit Red Wings)
1999: Derian Hatcher (Dallas Stars)
2000: Scott Stevens (New Jersey Devils)
2001: Joe Sakic (Colorado Avalanche)
2002: Steve Yzerman (Detroit Red Wings)
2003: Scott Stevens (New Jersey Devils)
2004: Dave Andreychuk (Tampa Bay Lightning)
2006: Rod Brind’Amour (Carolina Hurricanes)
2007: Scott Niedermayer (Anaheim Ducks)
2008: Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit Red Wings)
2009: Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)
2010: Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks)
2011: Zdeno Chara (Boston Bruins)
2012: Dustin Brown (Los Angeles Kings)
2013: Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks)
2014: Dustin Brown (Los Angeles Kings)
2015: Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks)
2016: Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)
2017: Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)
That is one star-studded list. Narrowing this list down to six players, and then ranking each of those six, is an extremely difficult task. So, really, depending on your opinion of leadership, you could have a completely different list from the above and include names like Dustin Brown, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Rod Brind’Amour. However, as Lee states in the video, how is Denis Potvin not on this list?
The guy was a four-time champ that did something that will likely never be done in NHL history; win all four Cups consecutively. The Penguins’ recent back-to-back defense is something we may only see 1-2 more times in our lifetimes! Imagine the Penguins doubling these achievements.
Potvin, a member of the NHL 100, was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991, after playing 15 seasons with the Islanders. He ranks in every Islanders historical category, including games played (second, 1,060), goals (third, 310), assists (second, 742) and points (third, 1,052). He was the Islanders’ captain for eight consecutive seasons (1979-80 through 1986-87) and accumulated 164 points in 185 career postseason games.
Taking all of this into account (including a lot of the beliefs shared by Lee and Travis in the video), here are my top six.
6. Jonathan Toews
5. Wayne Gretzky
4. Scott Stevens
3. Steve Yzerman
2. Mark Messier
1. Denis Potvin
Another addition you’ll notice is former Devils captain Scott Stevens, who led the Devils to the only three Stanley Cups in the franchise’s history. Not only that, but the heaviest-hitting defenseman of his era won a Conn Smythe Trophy (2000), despite only scoring 11 points in 23 games. He was that good defensively. Stevens is one of the elite Hall of Famers who didn’t need statistics to prove his worth to his team.
Candidates who just barely didn’t make the cut for my list include Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby, Nicklas Lidstrom and Joe Sakic.
What do you think? Who makes your list? Go to Facebook and comment on the post below to join the discussion and make your case!
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