Underrated is an interesting word. It obviously implies capability, even greatness in some instances. But due to the ever-changing nature of the world of sport, some players achievements are often lost to the sands of history. Only to be remembered by the fans that they helped to entertain.
Today, I’m going to give due respect to the five players, in my opinion, that are the most underrated in NHL history.
The Five Most Underrated NHL Players of All-Time
5. Peter Bondra
Banzai Bondra was quite the find for the Washington Capitals in the early 1990s. Possibly the most underrated sniper in NHL history, Peter the Great would become the 37th NHL player to score 500 goals. Quite the feat. However, the man nicknamed the secret weapon is often forgotten when people name some of the great snipers in NHL history. In this writer’s humble opinion, that is a crying shame.
4. Adam Oates
Considered by all who watched him be one of the finest playmakers to lace up a pair of skates, Oates fed three separate 50 goal scorers over his career. The aforementioned Bondra, Brett Hull, and Cam Neely. Oates wasn’t the most flashy offensive player, but he was excellent at setting people up and battling for pucks in corners. Every team needs a center that isn’t afraid of dirty work and he excelled at it.
What is it about NHL greats named Peter being massively underrated in the greater scheme of things? Stastny was a pioneer in the NHL. Born in former Czechoslovakia, he and his brother Anton would defect from a communist regime and play for the Quebec Nordiques throughout the 80s. The second most prolific scorer of the decade, he would go on to a well-deserved Hall of Fame career. However, due to the fact that he played second fiddle to one Wayne Gretzky, he can often be forgotten.
2. Mike Richter
The most famous New York Rangers goalie before Henrik Lundqvist, Richter, as far as great goalies in the 90s go, is often forgotten outside of the bright lights of New York. He also holds the distinction of being one of the few goalies that Mike Keenan didn’t run out of town after he took over as the team’s head coach. Richter had ice in his veins and it was perfectly displayed when he famously stopped Pavel Bure on a penalty shot in 1994.
How is Cujo fifth all-time in wins and not in the Hall of Fame? How?! I’m getting a bit more into personal taste but Joseph, aside from a rough tenure with the Detroit Red Wings was lights out wherever he went. Joseph went undrafted but finished in the top five in all-time wins. In a career that took him many places in the league, Cujo always seemed to play his best in the playoffs. White-hot goaltending can often mask a lot of talent inefficiencies, and Joseph played his best when his teams were usually flat-footed. To exemplify this, re-watch the 1997 playoff series between Edmonton and Dallas and look at this save in game 7.
The Final Horn
Underrated is a very odd word. Implying in some instances greatness, but forgotten or understated greatness. There are many more players that fall into that category throughout the wide world of sports but these five deserve more recognition throughout NHL circles.
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