Everyone has their favourite players on their own team. When you watch a team over and over, you start to develop your own relationship with your team. You have your favourites and you have your scapegoats. You have the players that you trust and you have players that absolutely scare the shit out of you.
But if you start falling in love with hockey, you’ll find that you start enjoying players all over the league. That’s what happens when you have Center Ice and catch yourself watching a Canucks/Stars game. You start noticing players on other teams, appreciating what they bring to their team and THEIR fans.
Here are guys for all 30 teams that usually catch my eye when I see them play
Anaheim Ducks: Bobby Ryan—The fan part of me wants to leave this team blank, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t respect his talent.
Atlanta Thrashers: Ilya Kovalchuk—Watch the speed and skill and tell me that man isn’t amazing to watch.
Boston Bruins: Zdeno Chara—How is it that a man that big can be that skilled? And on HD he looks like he’s about 11 feet tall.
Buffalo Sabres: Ryan Miller—It seems like his “amazing save to average save” ratio is higher than anyone else in the league!
Carolina Hurricanes: Chad LaRose—He plays with all kinds of energy and has a tendency to score goals at the most opportune times.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Rick Nash—He’s on the short list for best captains in the NHL, seems like a genuinely good guy and can lead the league in scoring. Thank you.
Calgary Flames: Jarome Iginla—I have a man-crush. I’ve already admitted it, so we don’t need to dwell on it.
Chicago Blackhawks: Duncan Keith—Smooth and so good in both ends that he could be considered an offensive defenseman AND a defensive defenseman.
Colorado Avalanche: Matt Duchene—Makes me wish the Kings selected 3rd instead of 5th every time I see him.
Dallas Stars: James Neal—Something about his game that I really like watching. He’s not the typical flashy forward and he’s not the typical power-forward either. Maybe I like him because he’s a little bit of both.
Detroit Red Wings: Niklas Kronwall—When he’s playing, it seems like he has at least one devastating hit per game. Hence the term, “Kronwalled.”
Edmonton Oilers: Andrew Cogliano—Forget hockey, I could just watch him skate.
Florida Panthers: This was David Booth—but in lieu of the fact that he still cant count to 10, Michael Frolik is keeping the seat warm for him.
Los Angeles Kings: I will respectfully abstain from listing a player for this team. As anyone should know, each and every player (except Ivanans) should warrant consideration.
Minnesota Wild: Nick Schultz—I always wonder how much respect this guy would get if he played in a bigger market.
Montreal Canadiens: Tomas Plekanec—I can’t quite put my finger on why I like watching him play. He might not be great at anything, but he’s GOOD at everything.
Nashville Predators: Shea Weber—Bomb for a shot and can lay guys out. And isn’t necessarily a dick about it.
New York Islanders: Sean Bergenheim—Every single time I watch an Islanders game, Bergy seems like he’s all over the rink making things happen. A team with 12 forwards like that would be fun to watch. I’ll be honest though, Matt Moulson a close second.
New York Rangers: Ryan Callahan—Another of my favorite type of player. He plays great two way hockey, plays with energy and effort and seems like he could be a leader for any team in the league.
Ottawa Senators: Milan Michalek instantly took over this position on the Senators from Mike Fisher when he was traded from the Sharks. But I’ll be honest; I still like watching both of them play.
Philadelphia Flyers: Mike Richards—See Ryan Callahan and multiply by 2. However, if we’re talking about hair, then Scott Hartnell wins in a cakewalk.
Phoenix Coyotes: Shane Doan—This is what Mike Richards will look like when he grows up.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Sidney Crosby—I hate when he whines, I’m sick of his media attention and his interviews make me want to vomit. But when it’s just him on the rink, I’m in awe of his ice-vision every single time.
San Jose Sharks: Joe Pavelski—I’d trade for this guy in a heartbeat. He just SEEMS like the kind of guy that will win a Stanley Cup at some point in his career.
St. Louis Blues: TJ Oshie—The man hits anything that moves and can score. As long as he’s not playing against my team, I like watching him play.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Ryan Malone—He scores, hits, fights and does it all with a smartass smirk on his face.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Niklas Hagman—Watch him on the half-boards. Watch him on a breakaway. The man just has skill every time he has the puck with time and space.
Vancouver Canucks: Ryan Kesler—Waiting in the wings to replace Iginla as my man-crush when the Flames captain retires. I won’t lie… I may have considered cheating on him already.
Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin—Whether you’re a Caps fan or not, Ovechkin’s what hockey is all about. If you aren’t looking for #8 every time he’s on the ice, then you’re either a liar or a hater. Either way, that’s sad.