Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A tribute to Markus Naslund

Pure class.
Lost in all the playoff hoopla is the quiet retirement of Markus Naslund, one of the league's truly underrated players.

Where does Naslund rank among his peers? Check out the top LW scorers over the past 10 seasons:

Markus Naslund - 724
Paul Kariya - 669
Patrik Elias - 664
Ray Whitney - 625
Brendan Shanahan - 611
Alex Tanguay - 580
Andrew Brunette - 559
Ilya Kovalchuk - 557
Ryan Smyth - 555
Dany Heatley - 543

Or First-Team All-Star nominations over the same time frame:

Markus Naslund & Alex Ovechkin - 3 each
Kariya, Shanahan & Elias - 1 each

There's really not much debate about it -- Naslund was THE left winger of the past decade, challenged only by Ovechkin's domination of the past 4 seasons. He'll be remembered in Vancouver, where he was captain and the franchise leader in almost everything. He'll be remembered by gamers as the face of NHL '05. He might even be remembered by Rangers fans for saving them several million dollars in cap space, rather than mailing in a "farewell" season and killing their chances of another playoff berth.

But there's little chance he'll be remembered by the Hall of Fame voters when his turn comes up. So let's take a moment out of our playoff adrenaline rush and recognize one of the quiet heroes of the 2000s.

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Anonymous said...

Naslund was one of those guys you'd love to have on your team. Class act-type, especially the way he chose to leave. He could have stayed drawn the paycheck and screwed over the Rangers (which many of us would have loved), but it's not his way. Unlike another Swede who is coincidently now playing in Markus' former stomping grounds of Vancouver. But we don't need to name names, do we?

Anonymous said...

I always loved wathcing Naslund play until a few years ago. I lived in Vancouver in 2000-2001 and wathching him, Morrison and Bert play that season was awesome. We'll miss ya Nazzy!

Anonymous said...

As a fan from Vancouver, all I wanted to say was:

Thank you for the post!