Gretzky. Lemieux. Ovechkin. Crosby. Zalapski. You can tick them off, one by one. Superstars.
Not everyone is so blessed to land that role. Some are role players. Others are two way forwards. Goaltenders, don’t forget about them.
As the game changes, the agitator is becoming harder to spot on an NHL roster. Not long ago, you could pick him out of the line card well before the game began. John Wensink. Tiger. Dave Semenko. Stu Grimson, and Bob Probert. Dale Hunter was always a disturbance in anyone’s garage, but he also had 300 goals to go with his 3,000 PIMs. If you had a star player, chances were good that you also had someone who’d have his back during the game.
There are some pests that still exist today – maybe not in the traditional “goon” role, but Sean Avery still eats pretty well. The Rangers also threw some coin at Derek Boogaard, who’s quite good at his trade. Guys like George Parros has been known to throw the knuckles every now and then – there are a few left, but none like twenty or thirty years ago.
Steve MacIntyre was brought back on a one-way deal that will pay him $500K, and I’m totally fine with this. JF Jacques was brought back on a one-way deal that will pay him a little bit more…again, fine.
Zach Stortini (who is the most offensively gifted of them all) will easily eat up line 4 minutes .
The big question is – Where do all of these guys go? Stortini has made himself a home on the fourth line, and barring something crazy I’d venture to believe he’ll be there on opening night. There are two one-way contracts between Jacques and MacIntyre.
Will we see them on opening night?