15 Most Exciting NHL Players

Top 15 Most Thrilling NHL Players to Watch Live

Most Exciting NHL Players
Getty Images

Regardless of the fact the ratings pale in comparison to the NFL or NBA, there’s no denying the NHL is one of the most exciting sports to watch live on TV. It wouldn’t be this thrilling without some of the most electrifying athletes on the planet. Even if you're not a hockey fan, you won't be able to turn your head away when these 15 players are in action.

15. Phil Kessel

Phil Kessel - Toronto Maple Leafs
Getty Images

15. Phil Kessel

Phil Kessel - Toronto Maple Leafs
Getty Images

Even though Toronto fell out of playoff contention this year, it wasn’t for lack of effort from Kessel. His offensive skills appear to get better every season, and his shot accuracy is among the best in the NHL. With 80 or more points in two of the last three seasons, Kessel is a thrill to watch when his game is on.

14. Tyler Seguin

Tyler Seguin - Dallas Stars
Getty Images

14. Tyler Seguin

Tyler Seguin - Dallas Stars
Getty Images

Seguin’s career started slower than anticipated, but a trade to Dallas allowed him to finally focus the majority of his game on offense. As a result, he was fifth in the league in goals scored this season. At the peak of his game, he’s a walking highlight reel, and his budding on-ice chemistry with Jamie Benn made him one of the NHL’s most electrifying players this year.

13. Tuukka Rask

Tuukka Rask - Boston Bruins
Getty Images

13. Tuukka Rask

Tuukka Rask - Boston Bruins
Getty Images

If you’re watching a game in hopes of seeing a ton of scoring, you might want to change the channel if Rask is in net. That said, if you want to see high-quality goaltending, the Finnish netminder is as safe a bet as any. His game is equal parts fluid and calm, as head-shaking saves can be made in such a casual nature that you wonder if he’s even breaking a sweat.

12. Nathan MacKinnon

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche
Getty Images

12. Nathan MacKinnon

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche
Getty Images

Yes, despite having just finished his first season in the NHL, MacKinnon is someone you’re going to want to watch for a long time. Starting with the fact that he’s already getting Sidney Crosby comparisons, this 18-year-old also plays the game with the skill and poise of a league vet. After scoring 10 points in seven games this postseason, it appears the sky is the limit for MacKinnon.

11. P.K. Subban

P.K. Subban - Montreal Canadiens
Getty Images

11. P.K. Subban

P.K. Subban - Montreal Canadiens
Getty Images

This Norris Trophy winner is one of the league’s best offensive defenseman. Subban has the speed and puck-handling abilities of a forward, but the strength and toughness to knock opposing wingers on their behinds. And if Montreal gets a power play, keep an eye on Subban at the blue line. His slap shot is an absolute missile.

10. Patrice Bergeron

Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Getty Images

10. Patrice Bergeron

Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Getty Images

For years, Bergeron has been labeled as one of the league’s most underrated players. All you need to do is see him live to understand why. Not overwhelmingly flashy, Bergeron is simply one of the most well-rounded players in the game. He can play defense at an elite level, is always a scoring threat, can kill a penalty and cash in on a power play. Bergeron does it all, and his game is reason to watch live.

9. Martin St. Louis

Martin St. Louis, New York Rangers
Getty Images

9. Martin St. Louis

Martin St. Louis, New York Rangers
Getty Images

This may have been a more obvious pick a few years ago, but St. Louis is still a blast to watch live. The ageless wonder – he enters the Cup Finals on the verge of turning 39 – still has the ability to out-race anyone on the ice. His offensive skills are nowhere near leveling off, and even though he’s a mere 5’8” tall, he plays so much bigger. This future Hall of Famer will be fun to watch ‘til the day he hangs up his skates.

8. Pavel Datsyuk

Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
Getty Images

8. Pavel Datsyuk

Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
Getty Images

At this point, it’s safe to assume Datsyuk is immune to aging. His point totals may have dipped in recent seasons, but his hands and puck skills are still a wonder to take in. There’s a reason the term “Datsyukian Deke” exists, and it’s because the Russian center can make a goalie or defenseman look absolutely foolish with minimal effort. YouTube him now, watch him when Detroit’s on TV.

7. Evgeni Malkin

Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Getty Images

7. Evgeni Malkin

Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Getty Images

It’s almost unfair that Malkin, one of the best players in the league, is the second best player on his team. That said, Malkin’s ability to take over a game is undeniable. He’s got the size that allows him to play physical, but the offensive ability to throw the Penguins on his back while he scores all night. You may be tuning in to watch Pittsburgh’s other superstar, but by no means disregard Malkin.

6. Jonathan Toews

Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Getty Images

6. Jonathan Toews

Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Getty Images

There might not be another player in the NHL who could be argued as one of league’s best at every single aspect of the game. Toews is a defensive nightmare for opponents, but can also score goals via a beautiful shot or just grinding it out in the crease. The man they call “Captain Serious” isn’t known to show a ton of emotion on the ice, but don’t let that fool you into ignoring him when the Blackhawks are on air.

5. Claude Giroux

Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Getty Images

5. Claude Giroux

Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Getty Images

An early season slump did nothing to derail the fact that Giroux is one the league’s most exciting players. His offensive skill is near the top of the league, but he also possesses the token grit you expect to see from the Flyers. At just 26 years of age, there’s reason to believe Giroux could get even better. Awful news for the rest of the league, great news for anyone who wants to watch exciting hockey.

4. Henrik Lundqvist

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
Getty Images

4. Henrik Lundqvist

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
Getty Images

Arguably one of the best goalies in the world, King Henrik is an absolute thrill to see in the crease. His calmness between the pipes is unreal, especially when he casually makes a heart-stopping save almost as if it required no effort at all. The Rangers are currently playing for the Stanley Cup, and Lundqvist is easily the biggest reason why.

3. Alexander Ovechkin

Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Getty Images

3. Alexander Ovechkin

Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Getty Images

Is he who you want to watch when trying to see great defensive hockey? Probably not. But, my goodness, Ovechkin is a big reason to tune in to a game. Fresh off a 51 goal season, the Russian winger is a threat to score any time he’s on the ice. Put the controller down any time Washington goes on a power play, because an Ovechkin goal is likely on the way.

2. Patrick Kane

Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
Scott Stewart - USA TODAY Sports

2. Patrick Kane

Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
Scott Stewart - USA TODAY Sports

Have you seen Kane handle the puck? It’s as if it’s glued to his stick as he dekes his way through any and all opponents in his path. Combine that with top-of-the-league speed and a snipe of a shot, and you’ve got somebody you want to watch any time Chicago is on the tube. On top of that, Kane plays the game with such an infectious joy that you find yourself just as excited as he is when he puts one in net.

1. Sidney Crosby

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Getty Images

1. Sidney Crosby

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Getty Images

No real need to explain this one, right? Why wouldn’t the best player on the planet be the most exciting player to watch live? You can say he whines too much, you can hate him because he’s not on your team, but the one thing you can’t do is deny Crosby’s overwhelming talent. When he’s on his game, it’s as if he’s playing against children. An offensive powerhouse who has shown no signs of slowing down any time soon, Crosby is a marvel to watch.