All Time Player

The Puck Stops Here offers there summary of the greatest All-Time players by team in the Southeast division and I want to be one to argue some of these selections --

Atlanta Thrashers - Ilya Kovalchuk. This club has a short history. Ray Ferraro was one of their initial stars. Afterward, Dany Heatley and Kovalchuk have emerged. Since Kovalchuk did not miss most of last year due to a car crash, I pick him.I don't believe injury should really be the defining factor on why one player is picked over another player, especially in a case like this with Kovalchuk - who is very one dimensional - and Heatly. Dany is by far and away the better player with the complete game. Just because someone puts up numbers does not make him a better player.

Carolina Hurricanes (includes Hartford and WHA Whalers) - Ron Francis. He's the all time team leader in any stat of note. WHA stars include Gordie and Mark Howe and Rick Ley. When they hit the NHL there was Mike Rogers and Blaine Stoughton. Kevin Dineen was a star along with Francis in the 80s. More recently Arturs Irbe and Jeff O'Neill have been some of the more successful players on this franchise.This is sort of a cop-out to include the Whaler franchise with the Hurricane teams because -- well, the Whalers weren't members fof the Southeast Division.... But seeing Ron had two tenures with thsi franchise and contributed to both - I can understand his selection.

Florida Panthers- Robert Svehla. He was an early star of the franchise along with John Vanbiesbrouck and Scott Mellanby. Pavel Bure was a star during his tenure with the club. More recently they have had Viktor Kozlov and Olli Jokinen as stars. Roberto Luongo could one day become their all time best player.Vanbiesbrouck was the face of the franchise during the teams glory years in the 1990's. I can't say the same for Robert Svebla. Scott Mellanby was also a key factor to the team but the all time best player sus far is the Beezer.... And Luongo will surely exceed him if the team improves around him.

Tampa Bay Lightning- Vincent LeCavalier. The early teams gave us Darren Puppa, Brian Bradley and Rob Zamuner as stars. The more recent Stanley Cup teams have Vinny along with Martin St Louis, Brad Richards and Nikolai Khabibulen. LeCavalier has the longest run with the team of that bunch.

This being Boltsmag -- this happens to be where I truly have to voice my opinion over the selection. Vincent is a good player, but would you categorize him as the best player the Lightning has ever had?

I'm of the sort that doesn't even think he is the best player currently on the roster.

If we are talking tenure and what someone has done in their tenure alone, Rob Zamnuer wins this contest because the gritty Zams didn't just perform on ice but he won over the hearts of Lightning fans and kept hope alive during the dimming days of the franchise during the late 1990's. Zamnuer wasn't all that flashy but he put his heart into his game.

The best player ios not decided by tenure though... Of course, they aren't decided by brief stints with the club either, or we could name how-many castoff Lightning players to this team?

The best player is a consistant performer for the franchise and he has made his teammates / linemates better, whoever they are. He also is consistant, resilent and motivated. Vincent Lecavalier has not been these things with the Bolts yet -- Yet. That's not saying he won't continue to improve as he has the last two seasons after mediocre play his first 3 years, that is saying he hasn't been the Tampa Bay Lightning's best player.

I won't name the backstops - that is too easy in my mind and overlooks accomplishments on ice. No hard feelings, Nikolai? Or Darren for that matter? You are both part of the reason this team ever rose from the ashes... Your contributions cannot be overlooked....

But honest to god, who is the best player the Lightning has had suit up?

When I say this name, it does feel like I am overlooking players -- Brian Bradley, Shawn Chambers, Brian Bellows, Mikael Anderson all from the older teams, but this fellow has improved yearly with the Lightning and has helped the team win the most coveted trophy in pro sports...

The name is Richards, Brad Richards.

One could easily make the case for Martin St. Louis and indeed, it's a tough arguement not to make for Martin. In fact I wanted to name Marty as Co-best player in team history but there was something holding me back... And that was the linemate that helped him get the numbers he was producing at even strength. Yes, Marty has also done wonders with Vincent Lecavalier but he has produced most with Freddie Modin and Brad Richards at his side.

Richards was taught as a youth that assists were mroe beneficial than goals... Though he has a knack for both. The soft spoke Prince Edward Island native has improved with every season he has played in the NHL - not to mention winning Conn Smythe last season during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Until the playoffs commenced, Richards was overlooked for this contribution to the Lightning in part due to his big name, big-hype buddy, Vincent, as well as Marty and Nikolai Khabibulin. The media hype surrounded these three players and the silent, consistant contribution by Richards was overlooked or downright ignored.

Brad Richards didn't have a bitter contract holdout, nor a war with his head coach and a trade demand because he wasn't getting pampered treatment. Richards may not be as great a two-way player as Martin St. Louis, nor a physically intimidating force as Lecavalier or Fredrick Modin, but he's good at what he does... He's consistant at what he does... He's been the backbone of this team the last 4 years and hopefully well into the future.

That is the best player on the Lightning - not the overhyped-in-Canada Lecavalier. The contribution is coming from Richards... The guy who is improving those around him and making his team stronger by his presence...

Washington Capitals- Rod Langway. He won two Norris trophies with this club. Early teams offered Yvon Labre, Ryan Wlater and Dennis Maruk. Bobby Carpentor and Mike Gartner were Langway contemporaries. More recently, Kevin Hatcher, Dale Hunter, Michal Pivonka were stars. Olaf Kolzig and Peter Bondra were stars of the most recent teams...and this one I happen to agree with.

Props for The Puck Stops Here for even venturing a "All time" list for the Southeast teams. In days gone by I've tried to get discussion going on this subject and have been ridiculed because "they all suck!" :roll: