With the past decade coming to a close, I thought I’d take a look back at the top players over the last decade in the National Hockey League.
Highlighted by dynasties, dynamic plays and goals galore, the 2010-19 seasons were ones to remember. So here it is, my picks for the NHL All-Decade squad.
Forward – Alexander Ovechkin (Washington)
777 games, 447 goals, 791 points
The 2012-13 Hart Memorial Trophy winner (MVP) and six-time recipient of the “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal scorer (2013-16, ‘18-19), Ovechkin lit up scoreboards and racked up the individual honors during the 2010s.
The winner of the 2009-10 Ted Lindsay Award (NHLPA MVP), Ovechkin added seven All-Star selections (2011-12, ‘15-19) and eight NHL First/Second All-Star nods during the decade, as well as two World Championship gold medals with Team Russia in 2012 and 2014.
His crowning moment came during the 2017-18 season when after years of playoff failures, he led the Capitals to the Stanley Cup title, being chosen as the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as MVP of the playoffs.
Forward – Patrick Kane (Chicago)
752 games, 318 goals, 814 points
A seven-time All-Star (2011-12, ‘15-19) and four-time NHL First/Second Team All-Star member, Kane was the engine of the offensive end of the 2010s Blackhawks dynasty. During a career-best 2015-16 campaign, Kane was chosen as the winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP) and Ted Lindsay Award (NHLPA MVP), while adding the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s points leader.
Kane’s game reached a whole different level in the postseason, where he led Chicago to three Stanley Cup titles (2010, 2013, 2015) and was named the 2013 Conn Smythe Trophy winner (playoffs MVP). Add an Olympic silver medal for the United States in 2010 and it’s easy to see why he’s one of the NHL’s best players of the past decade.
Forward – Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh)
635 games, 299 goals, 796 points
Known as “Sid the Kid”, Crosby left his mark on the decade despite having his issues with injuries. Crosby received multiple accolades, highlighted by two Conn Smythe Trophies (playoffs MVP), two “Rocket” Richard Trophies (leading goal scorer), two Ted Lindsay Awards (NHLPA MVP) and the 2019 NHL All-Star Game MVP Award during the 2010s.
Along with both the 2013-14 Art Ross Trophy (points leader) and Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP), Crosby added five All-Star selections (2011, 2015, ‘17-19) and was chosen to seven NHL First/Second All-Star teams during the decade and ranks second in Penguins history in goals scored.
Even more important than individual accomplishments, Crosby made an impact on his teams during the decade, winning two Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh, as well as a 2015 World Championship and two Olympic gold medals with Team Canada.
Defenseman – Duncan Keith (Chicago)
757 games, 62 goals, 434 points
The anchor of the best team of the decade, Keith was named to three All-Star teams (2011, 2015, 2017) and was chosen as the 2015 Conn Smythe Trophy winner (playoffs MVP) along with winning three Stanley Cup titles with the Blackhawks in 2010, 2013 and 2015.
A two-time NHL First Team All-Star pick and Second Team pick in 2017, Keith was named the Norris Trophy winner (best defender) for both the 2010 and 2014 seasons and was a member of Team Canada at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics, winning gold on both occasions.
Defenseman – Erik Karlsson (Ottawa, San Jose)
705 games, 133 goals, 593 points
Playing in Ottawa through the 2017-18 campaign, Karlsson made his mark as one of the top defensemen in the game, notching five All-Star selections (2011-12, ‘15-17) and taking home the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman for both the 2012 and 2015 seasons.
A four-time NHL First Team All-Star (2012, ‘15-17), Karlsson headed west to San Jose in 2018, making the All-Star team for the sixth time while guiding the Sharks to the Western Conference Final in 2019.
Goalie – Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh, Vegas)
325 wins, .916 save %, 2.45 GAA, 43 shutouts
A two-time All-Star selection during the decade with Pittsburgh (2011, 2015), Fleury guided the Penguins to back-to-back Stanley Cup titles in 2016 and 2017 before heading off to Vegas to suit up for the expansion Golden Knights.
Now in his third year in Sin City, “Flower” was named an All-Star the last two years of the decade while leading an expansion side to a Western Conference title and trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2018.
The 2014-15 NHL season shutouts leader, Fleury currently ranks 17th in league history in the category, as well as 13th in games played, 10th in saves and fifth in wins. On top of NHL accolades, he helped Team Canada win gold at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.