One of the biggest selling points for NHL 20 was the addition of alumni rosters for every team. While they were a nice addition, there were a lot of big names missing from the game. NHL 21 dropped and they managed to snag a few more names to expand the rosters, but there is still some work to be done. Some of the biggest names missing in no particular order-
*Check out the updated NHL 22 list here*
Jaromir Jagr & Pavel Datsyuk– Let’s open with the subtractions first. It’s been a couple of years since either were featured in the main roster, but they’ve both been in the game somewhere until this year. Jagr was featured on the Pittsburgh Penguins alumni team last year, as well as being in the Czech league. Datsyuk could be found on the Russian National team. Both are still playing for the same clubs they were the year prior, so not entirely sure where they went this year.
Phil Esposito– Esposito’s trophy case is big enough to take up a city block. With two Stanley Cups, five Art Ross Trophies, two Hart Trophies, a Lester B. Pearson Award, and a Lester Patrick Trophy under his belt as well as being a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Esposito had memorable stints with the Blackhawks, Bruins and Rangers during his 19-year NHL career, which is plenty of options to add him to the game.
Bobby Hull- His son Brett is in NHL21, so let’s add the OG Hull to the series as well. His career spanned 16 seasons in the NHL, as well as seven years in the WHA. “The Golden Jet” was ahead of his time with his speed and shooting ability which helped him secure three Art Ross Trophies, two Hart Trophies, and a Stanley Cup.
Mike Bossy– The Islanders haven’t had many good things in their history but Mike Bossy is one of them, and he’s MIA from the game. Even though his career ended prematurely to back issues, he was still a key member of the Isles Cup teams from 1980 to 1983. Bossy still holds the goalscoring record for the Isles with 573 and is second in points with 1,126.
Sergei Fedorov– Sergei Fedorov was a player who could do it all. With 1,248 games and 1,179 points under his belt, it was his ability to score as well as playing defense that made him an elite player. The six-time all-star has one Hart Trophy, two Selke Trohpies, and three Stanley Cup’s to his name. How can a player the caliber of Sergei Fedorov not be on the Red Wings’ alumni team?
Vincent Lecavalier– In the history of the Tampa Bay Lightning there are two players everyone remembers: Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier. St. Louis has been in both editions of the alumni rosters, but Lecavalier is still MIA. Lecavalier is currently sitting first in games played, second in goals, second in assists, and second in points in Lightning history.
Daniel Alfredsson– The best players in Ottawa Senators history is still missing from the Senators alumni team. Daniel Alfredsson to this day still has a commanding lead on many of the Senators’ all-time records. He has 426 goals, which is 175 more than second place Jason Spezza. Alfredsson is also the one player in Sens history to break the 1,000 point plateau, finishing with 1,108, which is 421 more than Jason Spezza. He played just shy of 20 years with the organization, holding the role of captain for 13 seasons.
Patrik Elias– The New Jersey Devils got a huge boost to their alumni rosters this year with the addition on Martin Brodeur, but there is still one major name from their history missing, and that’s forward Patrik Elias. He suited up for the Devils for 20 years playing 1,240 games and scoring 1,025 points, more than 300 above second place John MacLean in Devils’ history.
Milan Hejduk– The big three of the Colorado Avalanche, being Patrick Roy, Peter Forsberg, and Joe Sakic are already in the game, but there’s still one big name missing. Milan Hejduk played in Colorado for 14 seasons and was apart of their 2001 Stanley Cup team. He also won the “Rocket” Richard Trophy in 2003 as well as serving as captain during the 2011-12 season. Hejduk’s jersey was retired by the organization in early 2018. With all those honors he needs to be in the game.
Ryan Smyth- “Captain Canada” is nowhere to be found in NHL 21. A veteran of 1,270 NHL games, Smyth was one of the best power forwards in recent NHL history. He’s best known for his 15 seasons with the Oilers as well as winning five gold medals with Team Canada during his career.
Rick Nash- There aren’t many stars in the history of the Columbus Blue Jackets, but there biggest is missing from the game. Even though Rick Nash spent the last six seasons of his career away from Columbus, he still holds practically every offensive record for the Blue Jackets including- games played (674), goals (289), assists (258), points (547), even strength goals (192), powerplay goals (83), short-handed goals (14), shots (2278), among others. Especially on a weak alumni team, the Blue Jackets need Rick Nash.
David Legwand- The Nashville Predators’ alumni team is probably the thinnest in the game and it’s also lacking the biggest player in their franchise’s history. Legwand made his debut in 1999 and played for them until the 2014 trade deadline. He still leads the Predators all-time records in games played, goals, assists, and points. He finished his career in 2016 with 1,136 games played and 618 points.
Peter Bondra- Bondra held a majority of the Washington Capitals scoring records until Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom showed up. With 472 goals, 353 assists, and 825 points, that’s good enough for second, ninth, and third in Caps history. The Capitals are relatively thin in their alumni pool, and missing one of the biggest stars in their history is a crime.
Cory Stillman- Stillman’s career spanned over 19 seasons with six different teams, most notably winning a Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004 and again with the Hurricanes in 2006. He played over a thousand games and finished his career with 727 points.
Paul Kariya- Paul Kariya was an elite small man in a time when the league was filled with giants. While he never won a scoring title or Stanley Cup, he was a seven-time 30-goal scorer, and even hit the 50-goal plateau during his sophomore season.
Alexander Mogilny- Mogilny holds the distinction of being the first player to defect from the Soviet Union to play in North America. The six-time all-star has a Stanley Cup, a scoring title, and a Lady Byng Trophy under his belt. He was also the 68th player in NHL history to break the 1,000-point plateau, and he finished his career with 1,032 points in 990 games.
Simon Gagne- The Flyers may have one of the most complete rosters in the game, but there are three big missing names, one of them being forward Simon Gagne. One of the longest tenured Flyers of all time sits top-10 in goals and 12th overall in points.
Bobby Orr– One of the best to ever do it is not in the game. Orr has more records, achievement, and Awards than can be listed here, which is going to leave his entry kinda bare, but what is there to say? Put Orr in the game.
Eric Desjardins- The second of three big missing names from the Flyers is defenseman Eric Desjardins. He spent a decade patrolling the Flyers’ blueline and still sits in ninth place in the franchise’s history in games played.
Kimmo Timonen- Timonen will be remembered for the fairytale ending to his NHL career, winning the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks after returning from blood clots. Before that, Timonen was the Flyers top defenseman for seven seasons and was leading the blueline well into his 30’s. He is a member of the NHL’s 1,000 game club, with 1,108 games to his resume. Timonen may not hold many records, but he was a pillar defenseman for two different organizations in his career and should be enshrined in NHL 21 lore.
Sandis Ozolinsh- Ozolinsh was a top defenseman in the NHL for 875 games with six different clubs. He won a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche and was a Norris Trophy finalist in 1997. Today, Ozolinsh holds the goals, assists, points, and games played leader for a Latvian-born NHLer. He held the Avalanche record for goals and points by a defenseman until being supplanted by Tyson Barrie.
Andrei Markov- When you can etch your name into the Canadien’s history books, you know you’re a special player. Markov sits second in game played for a defenseman, and sixth overall in Habs history. He’s tied for second in points for a defenseman with 572, numbers that another defenseman may never hit, as on P.K. Subban recently came close with 278.
Adam Foote- Foote patrolled the Avalanche blueline for 17 seasons, and three more with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He quietly played 1,154 games in his career which is good enough for third place in Avs history. Now that both of his sons are in the game as well, it’s only right their father gets to be in as well.
Scott Stevens- Let’s be honest, nobody likes Scott Stevens, but that doesn’t mean his 22 NHL season and should go unnoticed. He played 1,635 games which is good enough for 10th place in NHL history and scored 908 points. Wouldn’t it be great to play as Eric Lindros and just wreck Stevens at any given opportunity?
Dominik Hasek- If you ask 100 fans around the league who the best goaltender of all-time is, chances are you’ll get one of three answers, Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, or Dominik Hasek. Brodeur made his debut in the game this season, so now it’s time for the Dominator to enter virtual glory.
Roberto Luongo- Even though Roberto Luongo just retired in the summer of 2019, he’s been in the league since 1999 and is missing from NHL 21. He currently sits third in NHL history in wins, ninth in shutouts, and second in games played behind only Martin Brodeur. Luongo is a legend and needs to be back in the NHL series after a short hiatus.
Nikolai Khabibulin- The Bulin Wall is an 18-year NHL veteran and hold various NHL playoff records. He was the first Russian goaltender to win a Stanley Cup. Khabibulin sits 25th all-time in games played and 17th in games played.
Olaf Kolzig- We already talked about the Caps missing Bondra, and they’re also missing their longtime franchise goalie as well. He played 711 games over 16 seasons with the Caps and still holds their records for wins, games played, saves, and shutouts.
Miikka Kiprusoff- The Flames got a big boost to their alumni team with the addition of Jarome Iginla, but they’re still missing a big piece in goalie Miikka Kiprusoff. He holds essentially every single record as the Flames’ goaltender including games played, wins, losses, save percentage, goals against average, shutouts, and minutes played.
Cam Ward- The Hurricanes have a relatively thin alumni roster and one of their mount rushmore players are not in the game. Ward spent 13 seasons in Carolina where he hold virtually every goaltending record for the club, most by an obscenely wide margin. He carried the Hurricanes to their first and, so far, only Stanley Cup as a rookie in 2006, where he won the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Jose Theodore- Theodore was a force to be reckoned with early in his 17-year career. He captured the Vezina and Hart trophies in 2002, as well as the “Saving Grace” award for the highest save percentage in the league. He sits top five in most of the Canadien’s team records as well as sitting 42nd in NHL history in wins.
Tomas Vokoun- The Nashville Predators are one of the teams that don’t have an expansive alumni roster, so leaving one of the top players in their franchise’s history off their roster. He is second in Predators’ history in quite literally every goaltending record behind Pekka Rinne.
Chris Osgood- When you’re talking about the top goaltenders in the history of the NHL, Chris Osgood’s name should be in the conversation. He sits 13th all-time in wins, 23rd all-time in games played, and 32nd in shutouts. He sits second in wins in Red Wings history as well as second in games played.
Do you think I missed somebody? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: news.yahoo.com