(737 points - 301 goals and 436 assists in REG; 62 points - 22 goals, 40 assists in playoffs)Awards: Two Art Ross trophies, two Lester B. Pearson trophies, four time All-Star, three time First-Team All-Star
If you read my treatise on Jagr you already know where I stand. Just to recap: he was a deadly goal scorer with sublime passing skills. Jagr had the strength to shed checkers and the speed to leave the best defensemen in the dust. Simply a Frankenstein monster of offense.
(677 points - 265 goals and 412 assists in REG; 61 points - 30 goals, 31 assists in playoffs)
Awards: two-time All-Star
There seems to be two camps regarding "Alf." On one side, there are the Alfredsson enthusiasts who point to his multi-dimensional and unselfish style of play. Yet on the other side of the fence, there are the people against him who criticize his playoff performances (not to mention the way he acted toward Scott Niedermayer in the SCF).
Whatever way you lean, it's hard to deny Alfredsson's impressive body of work. He might not sport the emotional leadership of Iginla or the offensive flashiness of Jagr, but Alfie is one of the best of his era.
(512 points - 240 goals and 272 assists in REG; 35 points - 10 goals, 25 assists in playoffs)
Awards: Calder trophy, First-team All-Star once, two time All-Star
Heatley went from tragedy in Atlanta to an impressive run to the Stanley Cup Finals in a short period of time. Over the last few seasons, he's established himself as one of the game's most devastating snipers alongside Alexander Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk.
(680 points - 330 goals and 350 assists in REG; 43 points - 24 goals, 19 assists in playoffs)
Awards: Four time All-Star, First team All-Star, two Rocket Richard trophies (one in a three-way tie with Rick Nash and Ilya Kovalchuk, one won outright) Lester B. Pearson trophy
There were a few years in which I advanced this argument: if J.S. Giguere gets a Conn Smythe in a losing effort, then why not Jarome Iginla a year later? Yes, Brad Richards had an amazing playoff run. But Richards was one of three stars in Tampa would could come up with big plays - Iginla carried the Flames offense by himself. All the way to game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Still, that Smythe trophy voting was acceptable ... but the way he was robbed of a Hart trophy was atrocious. Despite the fact that Iginla lead the league in scoring with 96 points on an awful Flames team, one voter left him off the ballot altogether. This move allowed one year wonder in Jose Theodore to win the MVP and raised legitimate questions of racism.
Beyond all that, Iginla's had a borderline HOF decade. Only Jaromir Jagr beats him in points among wingers. Plus, "Jarmoe" brought more to the table than a wicked wrister. He's been the ultimate leader: combining clutch scoring, toughness and a willingness to drop the gloves if need be.
Naturally, dropping the gloves forced him to miss some games and might hurt his standing with some voters.
Martin St. Louis
(547 points - 224 goals and 323 assists in REG; 48 points - 23 goals, 25 assists in playoffs)
Awards: four-time All-Star, first team All-Star once, one Art Ross, Pearson and Hart trophy
It doesn't get much more Disney than the story of Martin St. Louis. He went from being an unwanted, undrafted free agent to becoming the league's MVP and a Stanley Cup champion. If ESPN's bitter hatred had not been at an all-time high at that point, his would have been one of the sport stories of the year.
(662 points - 306 goals and 356 assists in REG; 59 points - 25 goals, 34 assists in playoffs)
Awards: four-time All-Star
Though they were unable to keep him in Atlanta, getting Hossa for Heatley might qualify as the only time "Thrashers GM Don Waddell" and "impressive job" could be mentioned in the same sentence without words like "completely un-" because Hossa might be Heater's equal. His defensive skills make up for a slight loss in pizazz.
Nearly half of Hossa's playoff output came last year during the Penguins run to the SCF. That performance showed what Hossa is capable of with a top-end center.
(640 points - 286 goals and 354 assists in REG; 30 points - 12 goals, 18 assists in playoffs)
Awards: four All-Star games, Pearson award, three time First-Team All-Star
Recent years haven't been too kind to the Swedish sniper, but Naslund was one of the true elite forwards in the NHL during his peak years in the early part of the decade.
(539 points - 256 goals and 283 assists in REG; 50 points - 22 goals, 28 assists in playoffs)
Awards: three All-Star games, one time First-Team All-Star
Most of Shanahan's best years came before the decade started, but he still put up some very nice power forward numbers. Being on three Stanley Cup winners with Detroit cannot hurt either (although two of those Cups came before the time period in question)
Not enough yet: Alex Ovechkin (if the lockout didn't happen he might be close enough), Ilya Kovalchuk and Rick Nash