Who is the all-time most valuable player in the NHL to a single team?
The NHL is like a star-filled sky when you look through its past and present but there are those which people always point to as having been brighter than the others. However, my question is, who would you point as being the most valuable to a single club in contributing to its overall success? Note that this could be in any capacity but for a single franchise.
That's a good question. Edmonton proved they could win without Gretzky. This year's Kings were a team effort. All the Montreal dynasties were attributed to one player. The 1980's Islanders were a team with a bunch of stars but they could have won with any one out of the lineup.
I would have to say Mario Lemieux. He made the Penguins Stanley Cup champions in the 1990's. Without him, the team was mediocre at best.
He is certainly a great example, no doubt. Not only did he do it all as a player (and through major adversity) but he ended up saving the Pittsburgh franchise later in the front office and eventually as the owner. Mario is certainly "Mr Penguin".
My son has been playing hockey since he was 4. Last year he made his first travel team by the Grace of God. In my opinion, the single most valuable player/entity on any hockey team is the coach. It was through excellent coaching that my son excelled and was able to go up from a B level Team to a A level team.
Mark Messier. He completely backed up his words and carried his team through the regular season, playoffs, and stanley cup after promising to do just that for New York before the season started.
I think the most valuable player to his team and to the league itself was Bobby Orr. His style and talent changed the game of hockey. It opened the doors for the young offensive players like Gretzky and Lemieux. There were and are many great players in the NHL but, for me, Orr has had the greatest impact on the modern game.
For me it's Martin Brodeur. I usually like to go with older, changed-the-sport-forever types of guys when it comes to all-time great questions, but no one has meant more to his team's success than Brodeur. And, more importantly, he has changed the sport forever with the "Brodeur Rule" preventing goalie's from playing the puck behind the net other than from within the trapezoidal area designated for goalies. Although the goal scorers get all the attention, flash, and recognition, the only position that truly affects the outcome of games is goalie. Nobody can debate that if you take Brodeur off the Devils, they don't win their 3 Stanley Cups and probably aren't even a winning team. The only person who comes close to Brodeur is Mario Lemieux, but you could argue that those Penguin teams might not have won the cup without Jaromir Jagr.
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