Best Small Players

Being a under-average sized player myself, I’ve always looked up (err, sorta) to the other small players that have made an impact in a so-called big mans game, hopefully in the future there wont be such a prejudice against under-sized players, and an emphasis on lumberjacks like Zdeno Chara who have no real skill other than their massive size.12. 5’8 Clifford Ronning- The Burnaby native is having a great season so far playing alongside Marion Gaborik and Andrew Brunette, and at 37 he’s showing no signs of slowing down. Hopefully he can convince the Wild brass that small players can play and maybe meaning they’ll actually dress Pierre-Marc Bouchard.

11. 5’9 Martin St. Louis- I was a big fan of Martin when he had his hot streak near the end of last year until a broken leg sidelined him for the rest of the season. Being near the top of the scoring race is no fluke for Marty, and I’m sure he’ll be there at the end of the season too.

10. 5’6 Theoren Fleury- Being the League’s smallest player at 5’6 180 pounds, Theo is a prime example of how size doesn’t matter. He would be higher on this list but you can guess why not, I hope Theo the best.

9. 5’9 Steve Sullivan- Wow, another great move by the Leafs; let the little guy go, he’s too small, he’ll never amount to anything, except maybe the Hawks leading scorer if they claim him off waivers.

8. 5’10 Ray Whitney- A small veteran playing on crappy team after crappy team, I’m glad Ray becomes a UFA at the end of this season, whatever contract Ray signs he deserves it, he’s paid his dues in this league.

7. 5’9 Daniel Briere- After clearing waivers 2 seasons ago, Daniel decided to take a different training approach. He asked his World Strongman friend (also from Gatineau) to help him work on his strengths, shooting and skating, instead of just bulking up like most players do. The training was needless to say successful, as he went on led the ‘Yotes in scoring w/ 32 goals last season.

6. 5’10 Chris Drury- I used to think of Drury as Forsberg’s little lacky, but now that hes stepped out of his shadow, he has people in Calgary asking Jarome who? and I’m starting to like the tiny American more with everygame he plays in cowtown.

5. 5’10 Ziggy Palffy- The Slovakian Sniper tore it up against the Avs in the playoffs and was a top 10 scorer 2 seasons ago, when Ziggy and Allison are healthy at the same time they are one of the leagues most dangerous duos.

4. 5’9 Brian Rafalski- The NJ Devils diminutive defenseman is one of the leagues best offensive blue liners and one of the smallest too, in a position where phyisicality is absolutely necessary, Brian seems to get by just fine.

3. 5’9 Mike Comrie- A little guy who plays like hes a lot bigger than he actually is, not only can he score big goals (fancy ones at that) but he can hit and if the opponent isn’t too big, fight as well. While the Oilers are currently struggling, it shouldn’t be long before Comrie is once again scoring at a prolific rate.

2. 5’8 Sergei Samsonov- Man, I could watch Sergei dipsy-doodle around for a whole period and not get bored, make that a whole game. Easily one of the best anti-power forwards in the game, Sergei strikes me as a more talented version of Pavel Bure.

1. 5’10 Saku Koivu- A little guy with a big heart, Saku made a miracle comeback last year to help play the Bruins in a David vs Goliath match-up (literally) and lead his fellow munchkins to victory in which he was tied for the Habs scoring lead.

5’11 Honourable Mentions-Brendan Morrison, Joe Sakic, Mike Peca, Darcy Tucker, Steve Yzerman, Sami Kapanen, and Pavel Bure


36 Responses to Best Small Players

  1. Leaf_Expert says:

    Ray Whitney is defenetly one of the best smaller player in the game today, maybe the most underated aswell….

  2. Leaf_Expert says:

    OH WAIT!!!!

    WHAT ABOUT TIE??????

    Hes 5″9 and can still knock guys who are over 6″5……

  3. mebeda says:

    I’ld put Don Sweeney on that list too. I stood next to him the other day while waiting to cross a street and he looked like my kid brother.

  4. Rico71 says:

    Oleg Petrov…

    Add him to the list. 5’8 with blazing speed and good stick-handling skills.

  5. flyerfanatic says:

    I think Mark Recchi should have made this list. Also I think Marty Murray should get an honorable mention.

  6. saiklo says:

    Once again, the a posted item of pure opinion that completely shows lack of research or understanding of the game.

    Martin Straka is arguably the games best small player, he has averaged 70 points over the past four seasons and is the only player in NHL history to score two postseason overtime goals in game 6.

    Let’s try a little harder to do the homework next time.

  7. amok says:

    You said it best with the terms “arguably” and “pure opinion”. That’s what this article is, his opinion. I would have listed Paul Kariya, but I wouldn’t bash the guy over it.

  8. BabyLeaf says:

    What about Paul Kariya? Isn’t he like 5’9 or 5’10…

    he’s got my vote!

  9. Rushing says:

    Brendon Morrow who is 5’11” with 8 points so far and Rob Dimaio who is 5’10 with 6 points. Both of these two will not take anything from anybody. Morrow is known for penalties. Now tonight I could strangle the dude since each of the two times he was in the box Detroit scored on the PP and the game ended up a 3-3 tie.

  10. Rushing says:

    Great point and well stated.

  11. mikster says:

    Kariya w/o a doubt, the guy is small and short.

    Fleury is short, but stocky. Kariya is small in height and shulder width.

    Fleury gave a lot of hope to the young guys though. Kids who think they are too small need to watch Fleury.

  12. freshprince says:

    How can you forget one of the best players in the league.

    Kariya gets my vote all the way

  13. freshprince says:

    How can you forget one of the best players in the league.

    Kariya gets my vote all the way

  14. freshprince says:

    How can you forget one of the best players in the league.

    Kariya gets my vote all the way

  15. SabresFanB says:

    Thank God you didn’t mention Doug Gilmour. For that I’ll overlook the fact that you missed Paul Kariya.

  16. MossRocks says:

    Good post, so what if you missed a couple, you still got 12 of the top 15 small guys at the very least. Too many smaller players are overlooked because of their size. Besides the trap, the trend towards bigger players regardless of skill has been the biggest contributor to the deterioration of the NHL and the overall skill level of North American players.

    These guys had to really gut it out to make the NHL. Imagine all the top notch talent that finally gave in to the ‘small-talk’ and quit junior to play CIAU or quit the game altogether. I bet there are quite a few NHL-calibre players that decided to quit before or around their draft age in the past ten years. This is one reason why we are watching an inferior product. We sure do get to watch guys like Hatcher, Gill, and Chara stumble around the ice though. Even a guy like Handzus isn’t a great player – just a big player.

    One thing you forgot about Comrie – he has a very creepy knack of being around the puck when the game is on the line. It is weird – he scored a lot of clutch goals last year but had even more chances to get them. He was 13th in the league last year in combined GWG and GTG’s. Pretty good for a rookie/sophomore campaign. He will score a lot of goals in this league because he always seems to be in the right place at the right time.

  17. MossRocks says:

    Too bad he’s made of glass and there is no argument because Kariya is a far better ‘small’ player. Does this ‘average’ of 70 points per year include last year’s stellar totals of 9 points in 13 games, or did you kindly pro-rate that for those of us with no research skills or understanding of the game?

    By the way, where are your posts? Let’s see you put yourself out on the line before you start to rip other people.

  18. -Swizz- says:

    mark recchi..okay..

    marty murray?? lol…i dunno about that…

  19. MossRocks says:

    Sorry, saiklo. I just checked your user info and see that you have made several posts. However, what made your “3-line league” post any more valid than this one? That was an opinion article, as is this one.

  20. titans says:

    Samsonov should be #1 on that list!

  21. ClarkeRules says:

    Recchi definitely should be mentioned somewhere in there at 5’10, 185. You would only know of Marty Murray’s value if you’re a Flyer’s fan. He’s 5’9, 180 and has done nothing but play mistake free, outstanding hockey. He’s been a solid addition to the team.

  22. Bossy22 says:

    Koivu Koivu. This guy is one of the best stickhandlers in the game. Give him a scoring winger and you might see him be one of the premier set up men in the league.

  23. jofa says:

    In defense of Chara, who has “no real skill other than [his] massive size”, the guy has really come along as an Ottawa Senator, and is developing into a top defenseman in the league. He’s really stepped up his defensive game by focusing on his strengths (size and reach), and has also been able to develop his offensive game, scoring 10 goals last year and ending up with a +30 rating. He’s been pretty amazing to watch lately, as he’s gotten damn good at tying up players, breaking up plays, etc, and is a good compliment to more offensive d-men like redden.

    The lumberjacks you described will always be important in the NHL, but mostly on defense. All of the players you mentioned were forwards, as it would be rare to find a top “little guy” on the blue line. But the fast, small forwards will always have a place in the game. One of my favorite players has always been Fleury, who has never backed down to anyone and was one of the best players in his prime.

    Before this season, I’d also say Arturs Irbe could be a honorable mention to the list – The guy looks absolutely dwarfed by players when he’s on the ice, but still manages to be a pretty decent goaltender. A throwback nomination to the best of the little guys list would be Denis Savard. Pure skill, but he was about 150 pounds soaking wet.

    One point against the small players, how many times have some of these guys been injured? Guys like Koivu (even before cancer), Ronning, Whitney and St.Louis have had a hard time putting in full seasons. It’s not always the case, but typically smaller guys are going to be a little more injury prone.

  24. saiklo says:

    You must be a democrat with all that nice spin you spew.

  25. Lint07 says:

    … And you had to be a B!TCH about it.

    Calm down, dude.

  26. Lint07 says:

    Could you just say it one more time? I’m still confused…

  27. Tradedude says:

    Czercawski should be in there. and St. Louis should be in top 5 atleast. good article / idea though

  28. MossRocks says:

    Couldn’t bring yourself to reply to my criticism of your comment could you? Did I hurt your feelings by ripping little Marty Straka? That’s too bad.

    You rip this guy for having a opinion based article and yet you can’t even argue the facts.

    By the way, I can’t be a democrat because I’m not an American. You can be a democrat or a republican and either way you still lose.

  29. MossRocks says:

    What has happened to you? I thought you were a Flyers fan. Now that they are finally doing well, you switch allegiances? I seem to remember you went to a couple Bruins games last year – did the Fleet Centre convert you?

  30. MossRocks says:

    He did mention Rafalski, who is a d-man, of course. Schneider, Housley, Don Sweeney, Visnovsky, Timonen and Andrew Ference are all only 5’10”. Except for Ference, (who is still developing) everybody on that list is pretty darn good. You’re right though, they are pretty rare. Just not unknown.

    I don’t buy your injury argument – Pronger, Lindros, Forsberg, Arnott, Viktor Kozlov, Krupp, Daze, Rucchin and even Jason Allison are all huge guys with injury records that are as bad or worse as the small players you mentioned. I don’t really see the trend that you do. Skill players, big or small, put their bodies on the line to make plays and they often pay for it.

    As for Chara, you said he focused on his strengths – size and reach. I think you proved burky’s point for him right there. Knock 6 or 7 inches off of Chara and he’s pretty average. I like Chara and I like how he has improved his game, but his best asset far and away is his size. These small players he listed succeed in spite of their size, not because of it.

  31. Habs4ever says:

    The only fight Tie Domi’s ever won is when he beat the crap out of that guy who fell in the penalty box.

  32. hockeywhore says:

    Kariya, nuf said

  33. TheDevil says:

    Peca is not a small player, au contraire, he’s got good size.

    Karyia is the best, but I think our Brian Gionta will be a good dwarf in this league…

  34. NewYorkRangers says:

    Good article. I’m not gonna get on your ass about Kariya, you’ve gotten enough heat for that already. I think Mike York is one of the better small players. He may not have a great scoring touch, but he works hard, plays well defensively and plays smart. Good job.

  35. RDeren says:

    Paul Kariya. Enough said. Except for that your list looks pretty good. Although i’d put Comrie number 1. Some of my honorable mentions, Todd White and Sami Kapanen.

    PS: If you watch Chara on a regular basis, you’d realize that he’s mor then just a lumberjack, he’s got somme pretty good skills.

  36. RDeren says:

    Paul Kariya. Enough said. Except for that your list looks pretty good. Although i’d put Comrie number 1. Some of my honorable mentions, Todd White and Sami Kapanen.

    PS: If you watch Chara on a regular basis, you’d realize that he’s more then just a lumberjack, he’s got some pretty good skills.

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