TOP 50 WHL PLAYERS OF ALL-TIME
Calgary, AB – As part of the Western Hockey League’s 50th Season celebrations, a panel of historians selected the top 125 players in WHL history this past September. From this list, WHL fans voted at Top50.whl.ca to select the Top 50 WHL Players of All-Time.
This week, the fan and panel voting results revealed the following placements:
#8 Mike Modano (Prince Albert Raiders, 1986-89)
One of the greatest American-born hockey players in history, Modano spent three seasons with the Prince Albert Raiders from 1986 to 1989. As a 16-year-old rookie, Modano found the back of the net 32 times and had 62 points in 70 games. The following campaign, Modano broke through to finish 10th in League scoring with 127 points (47g-80a) in 65 games. In 1988-89, Modano was named to the WHL Eastern Conference First All-Star Team after notching a team-leading 105 points (39g-66a) in just 41 games. Modano also represented his country at the 1988 and 1989 IIHF World Junior Championships.
At the end of his WHL career, Modano had compiled 294 points (118g-176a) in 176 regular season games and 23 postseason points (8g-15a) in 17 contests. After the Minnesota North Stars selected Modano first overall in the 1988 NHL Draft, he played the majority of his 21-year NHL career with the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars organization. Modano became the second American-born player to be picked first overall in the NHL Draft and he is also one of only eight WHL players to achieve that honour.
The product of Livonia, MI hoisted the Stanley Cup in 1999 with the Dallas Stars. After retiring in 2011, Modano is the highest scoring American-born player in NHL history with 1374 regular season points (561g-813a) in 1499 games. He also amassed 146 points (58g-88a) in 176 playoff outings. His international resume with the United States includes a gold medal at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and silver medals at the 2002 Olympics and 1991 Canada Cup. For all his accomplishments throughout his distinguished hockey career, Modano was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the 2014 class. In addition, his jersey has been retired by the Prince Albert Raiders and Dallas Stars.
#7 Jarome Iginla (Kamloops Blazers, 1993-96)
The St. Albert, AB native played three seasons for the Kamloops Blazers from 1993 to 1996. During his first two seasons with the Blazers, the Club claimed back-to-back WHL and Memorial Cup titles. Iginla received the George Parsons Trophy for being the most sportsmanlike player in the 1995 Memorial Cup tournament. In his last season in junior hockey, Iginla tallied 136 points (63g-73a) in 63 regular season games to earn the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s Player of the Year. In addition, Iginla was selected as a CHL First Team All-Star and a WHL Western Conference First Team All-Star that year. The Blazers were unable to defend the WHL crown in 1996, but Iginla won a gold medal for Team Canada at the 1996 IIHF World Junior Championship.
In his WHL career, Iginla amassed 236 points (102g-134a) in 183 career regular season games and was also a point-per-game player in the postseason with 56 points (26g-30a) in 56 games. After going undrafted in the WHL Bantam Draft, Iginla made the most of his opportunity with the Blazers and was ultimately selected in the first round, 11th overall, by the Dallas Stars in the 1995 NHL draft.
Iginla is currently in his 19th season in the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche. The majority of Iginla’s NHL career was spent with the Calgary Flames. The 38-year-old forward has collected over 600 goals and 1200 regular season points so far in his NHL career. In 2001-02, Iginla had a magnificent season as he won his first of two Maurice Richard Trophies for leading the NHL in goals, the Art Ross Trophy for the leading the NHL in points and the Lester B. Pearson Award as the NHL’s most valuable player as selected by the National Hockey League Players’ Association. The long-time captain of the Flames was also recognized for his leadership abilities on the ice as well as his contributions in the community, receiving the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2003-04 and the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2008-09.
Iginla has also had a brilliant international career with gold medals for Team Canada at the 2002 and 2010 Olympics, the 1997 IIHF World Championship and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. In the fall of 2007, Iginla became a part-owner of the Kamloops Blazers along with Tom Gaglardi and a group of other Blazers Alumni.
#6 Lanny McDonald (Medicine Hat Tigers, 1971-73)
McDonald was a member of the Medicine Hat Tigers for two seasons from 1971 to 1973. In his first year with the Tigers, McDonald tallied 114 points (50g-64a) in 68 games to place eighth in League scoring. The following campaign, McDonald ranked third in the scoring race with 139 points (62g-77a) in 68 regular season games and was named to the WCHL First All-Star Team. The Tigers hoisted the WCHL Championship Trophy that season with McDonald potting a League-best 18 goals in the playoffs while his 37 points were second only to his linemate Tom Lysiak.
Over his WHL career with the Tigers and a brief six-game stint with the Calgary Centennials in 1970-71, McDonald collected 255 points (112g-143a) in 142 regular season games. He also recorded 41 points (20g-21a) in 24 postseason contests. The Toronto Maple Leafs selected McDonald fourth overall in the 1973 NHL Draft while Lysiak was drafted two spots earlier.
McDonald played 16 seasons in the NHL with the Maple Leafs, Colorado Rockies and Calgary Flames. After winning the Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1989, McDonald hung up his skates. In 1987-88, McDonald was the inaugural recipient of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy which recognizes leadership abilities on and off the ice as well as contributions in the community. He was also awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in 1982-83 for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
McDonald reached two important milestones over his NHL career as he accumulated 500 goals and 1006 points in 1111 regular season games. It was an impressive feat as McDonald became the first WHL graduate to hit the 500-goal plateau in the NHL. In addition, he netted 84 playoff points (44g-40a) in 117 contests. The Hanna, AB product also captured the 1976 Canada Cup with Team Canada. For all his accomplishments throughout his decorated hockey career, McDonald was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the 1992 class. McDonald is also the lone Medicine Hat Tiger to have his jersey retired.
#5 Scott Niedermayer (Kamloops Blazers, 1989-92)
Niedermayer spent three seasons with the Kamloops Blazers from 1989 to 1992. Already making an impact as a 16-year-old rookie, Niedermayer put together over a point-per-game campaign from the backend with 69 points in 64 regular season games. Niedermayer then notched 16 points in the 1990 WHL Playoffs to help Kamloops win the League title. The Cranbrook, BC native was recognized for his work off the ice the following year as he was the recipient of the Canadian Hockey League and WHL Scholastic Player of the Year Award in 1990-91 after an 82-point campaign. During that season, Niedermayer also won a gold medal for Team Canada at the 1991 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Niedermayer finished off his WHL career by winning his second WHL title and capturing the first Memorial Cup in the Blazers’ franchise history in 1992. The defenceman capped off an outstanding Memorial Cup tournament by assisting on the game-winning goal by Zac Boyer with only 14.6 seconds left in the championship game. Subsequently, Niedermayer was awarded the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as the most valuable player in the tournament. In addition, Niedermayer was named a Memorial Cup All-Star and a CHL First Team All-Star that season as well as a WHL Western Conference First Team All-Star for the second year in a row.
At the conclusion of his WHL career, Niedermayer had accumulated 190 points (47g-143a) in 156 career regular season games and 39 points (11g-28a) in 34 playoff contests. Following his success in Kamloops, Niedermayer was selected third overall in the 1991 NHL Draft by the New Jersey Devils.
His NHL career lasted 17 years including 12 seasons with the Devils before ending with the Anaheim Ducks. When Niedermayer retired in 2010, he had registered 740 points (172g-574) in 1263 regular season games and recorded 98 points (25g-73a) in 202 playoff contests. Over his illustrious career, Niedermayer raised the Stanley Cup a total of four times including three with the Devils (1995, 2000 and 2003). In his 2007 Stanley Cup victory with the Ducks, Niedermayer was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Niedermayer also collected a James Norris Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s best defenceman in 2003-04.
Niedermayer is a member of the elite Triple Gold Club. In addition to winning the Stanley Cup, Niedermayer won two Olympic gold medals in 2002 and 2010 as well as a World Championship gold medal in 2004 with Team Canada. For all his accomplishments in his distinguished hockey career, Niedermayer was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the 2013 class. In addition, his jersey has been retired by the Kamloops Blazers and New Jersey Devils.
#4 Bryan Trottier (Swift Current/Lethbridge Broncos, 1972-75)
Trottier played in the WCHL for three seasons from 1972 to 1975. The first two campaigns were spent in Swift Current before the Broncos organization relocated to Lethbridge during his final year in junior hockey. As a sophomore, Trottier had a breakout campaign and finished 11th in League scoring with 112 points (41g-71a) in 68 games. In 1974-75, Trottier improved on his point totals and was named the WCHL’s Most Valuable Player. The WCHL First Team All-Star was a runner-up in the scoring race that season as he notched 144 points, including a WCHL-best 98 assists, in 67 games. Trottier was also a member of the WCHL All-Star Team that earned a silver medal for Canada at the 1975 World Junior Tournament.
Throughout his WCHL career, Trottier registered 301 points (103g-198a) in 202 regular season games and 22 points (9g-13a) in 19 postseason outings. A second round pick of the New York Islanders in the 1974 NHL Draft, Trottier made an immediate impact as a 19-year-old in the NHL, earning the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year in 1975-76.
In 1978-79, Trottier had a spectacular season as he received the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player and the Art Ross Trophy for leading the NHL in points during the regular season. A six-time Stanley Cup Champion, Trottier was an integral member of the Islanders dynasty that won four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983 before winning back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and 1992. During the Islanders’ first Stanley Cup victory in 1980, Trottier led the way in the playoffs to earn the Conn Smythe Trophy. His trophy case also includes the 1988-89 King Clancy Memorial Trophy which recognized his leadership abilities on and off the ice, as well as his contributions in the community.
At the end of his 18-year NHL career, Trottier had recorded 1425 points (524g-901a) in 1279 regular season games which sits 16th all-time in NHL scoring. His 184 playoff points (71g-113a) in 221 contests are ranked 11th all-time. The native of Val Marie, SK also won a silver medal for Team Canada at the 1981 Canada Cup. For all his accomplishments throughout his illustrious hockey career, Trottier was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the 1997 class. Recently, Trottier was inducted into the Canada Sports Hall of Fame.
WHL Top 50 Players of All-Time (as of April 28th)
#4 – Bryan Trottier (Swift Current/Lethbridge Broncos, 1972-75)
#5 – Scott Niedermayer (Kamloops Blazers, 1989-92)
#6 – Lanny McDonald (Medicine Hat Tigers, 1971-73)
#7 – Jarome Iginla (Kamloops Blazers, 1993-96)
#8 – Mike Modano (Prince Albert Raiders, 1986-89)
#9 – Grant Fuhr (Victoria Cougars, 1979-81)
#10 – Cam Neely (Portland Winter Hawks, 1982-84)
#11 – Ray Ferraro (Portland Winter Hawks and Brandon Wheat Kings, 1982-84)
#12 – Bernie Federko (Saskatoon Blades, 1973-76)
#13 – Shea Weber (Kelowna Rockets, 2002-05)
#14 – Brian Propp (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1976-79)
#15 – Wendel Clark (Saskatoon Blades, 1983-85)
#16 – Jordan Eberle (Regina Pats, 2006-10)
#17 – Theoren Fleury (Moose Jaw Warriors, 1984-88)
#18 – Bill Derlago (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1974-78)
#19 – Dale Derkatch (Regina Pats, 1981-85)
#20 – Trevor Linden (Medicine Hat Tigers, 1986-88)
#21 – Rob Brown (Kamloops Junior Oilers/Blazers, 1983-87)
#22 – Brad McCrimmon (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1976-79)
#23 – Mark Recchi (New Westminster Bruins and Kamloops Blazers, 1985-88)
#24 – Clark Gillies (Regina Pats, 1971-74)
#25 – Ryan Getzlaf (Calgary Hitmen, 2001-05)
#26 – Barry Beck (New Westminster Bruins, 1974-77)
#27 – Dan Hodgson (Prince Albert Raiders, 1982-85)
#28 – Ray Allison (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1975-79)
#29 – Reggie Leach (Flin Flon Bombers, 1967-70)
#30 – Doug Wickenheiser (Regina Pats, 1977-80)
#31 – Mike Vernon (Calgary Wranglers, 1980-83)
#32 – Dennis Sobchuk (Regina Pats, 1971-74)
#33 – Jamie Benn (Kelowna Rockets, 2007-09)
#34 – Patrick Marleau (Seattle Thunderbirds, 1995-97)
#35 – Ron Chipperfield (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1970-74)
#36 – Brendan Gallagher (Vancouver Giants, 2008-12)
#37 – Shane Doan (Kamloops Blazers, 1992-95)
#38 – Brad Moran (Calgary Hitmen, 1995-2000)
#39 – Tom Lysiak (Medicine Hat Tigers, 1970-73)
#40 – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Red Deer Rebels, 2009-11)
#41 – Marian Hossa (Portland Winter Hawks, 1997-98)
#42 – John Davidson (Calgary Centennials, 1971-73)
#43 – Sam Reinhart (Kootenay ICE, 2011-15)
#44 – Brent Sutter (Lethbridge Broncos, 1980-82)
#45 – Pavel Brendl (Calgary Hitmen, 1998-2001)
#46 – Cliff Ronning (New Westminster Bruins, 1983-85)
#47 – Duncan Keith (Kelowna Rockets, 2002-03)
#48 – Darcy Tucker (Kamloops Blazers, 1991-95)
#49 – Ray Whitney (Spokane Chiefs, 1988-91)
#50 – Stu Barnes (New Westminster Bruins and Tri-City Americans, 1987-90)