The 2010’s are in the books and the NHL has used this weekend’s All-Star festivities to announce the selections to the All-Decade First and Second Teams. The games best players of the past ten years, as decided by a panel of general managers, hockey operations executives, NHL.com writers, and on-air talent from NBC, Sportsnet, and TVA Sports, are listed below:
The one obvious thing that many of these players have in common are Stanley Cups. The Chicago Blackhawks won three titles this decade, more than any other team, and first-team stars Kane and Keith played key roles in each. The Pittsburgh Penguins took home two Stanley Cups while making the playoffs every year in the 2010’s and franchise icons Crosby and Malkin continue to lead their team. Meanwhile, Fleury appeared in three straight championships, leaving the Penguins to carry the Vegas Golden Knights to the Cup final in their inaugural season. The Los Angeles Kings also won a pair of titles in the decade, just one year apart, with dominant defenseman Doughty leading the way. In fact, much of the 2010’s were taken up by a six-year span from 2012 to 2017 wherein only Chicago, Pittsburgh, and L.A. took home the Cup. Yet, few would discount Boston’s prevalence during these past ten years as well, as they won a Stanley Cup title and made three final appearances overall, with the ageless Chara and Bergeron playing key roles in runs on either end of the decade. Ovechkin finally got his Cup in 2018 after a decade of consistency unlike any other player in the league.
While few would argue that the likes of Crosby, Ovechkin, Kane, and Bergeron are some of the best NHLers of all time, it speaks measures that Stamkos, Karlsson, and Lundqvist were elected to the all-decade team with just two Stanley Cup Final appearances between them and no Cup wins. All three have played on teams that were both true contenders and bottom dwellers at times during the decade, but have continued to maintain a constant level of elite play.
Each of these dozen players have plenty of accolades to warrant their selection as an All-Decade team member. That’s not to say that many other players don’t also have strong cases. Who were the biggest snubs from the All-Decade roster? Let your opinion be known in the comments below.