Ten NHL Players That Have The Potential To Be The Next “Great One”

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Who could be the next "Great One"?

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What is it that allows a professional athlete to propel his game to the point where he can be considered an all-time great? Is it purely a matter of statistics, or does greatness go beyond the box score? The answer to that question is relatively simple.

A great player, in any sport, requires a number of different aspects to fit into one large formula. Above all is obviously performance. Players need to play at the highest level on an almost nightly basis in order to be considered one of the greats. And that type of play usually falls under more than one aspect of the game. Some of the NHL’s greatest forwards have not only been dominant offensively, but strong defensively as well.

It’s also a matter of intangibles. How great of a teammate are they on and off the ice? A great player not only elevates his game, but his play and his personality help those around him reach the next level with their play as well.

Few players in the history of sports have seen the formula work as well for them as it did for Wayne Gretzky. His numbers are simply absurd and he’s the unquestioned standard for a forward in the National Hockey League.

There will probably never be another “Great One”, considering the fact that even if you took away all of Gretzky’s goals, he’d still be the no. 1 point-getter of all time simply based off of his assists. But while we shouldn’t expect to see another like him in our lifetime, there are several players that could make a run at being league with him by their time their careers are all said and done. Here are ten of those players.

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Tyler Seguin - Boston Bruins

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Kind of a surprise entry on this list, but the small sample space in which we've seen Tyler Seguin indicates he could be one of the greats. He's fast, he has terrific hands, and he knows how to put the puck in the back of the net. His 67 points last season should be on the low-end of his totals in the coming years.

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Henrik Sedin - Vancouver Canucks

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The Sedins are usually seen as a package, but Henrik Sedin is the superior offensive player. An older entry on the list, Sedin has put up at least 75 points in each of the last seven seasons. If he continues at his current pace, he should easily be among the all-time leaders in assists, even if he's not a regular in the box score for the goals.

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Anze Kopitar - Los Angeles Kings

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The world finally saw just how good Anze Kopitar was in the postseason this past spring. He's a fantastic two-way player and is finally starting to put up some elite offensive numbers. He's given Los Angeles their first real star power since Gretzky left. He's going to be a fun one to watch in Hollywood for a long time.

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Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Edmonton Oilers

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Had he not spent some of the season injured last year, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins likely would have been an easy call for the Calder Trophy. He's terrific offensively and strong defensively. He's a budding superstar, and is going to be a force on each end as he continues to grow physically.

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John Tavares - New York Islanders

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John Tavares finally started to come into his own last season after spending some disappointing years after he was selected no. 1 overall. He's starting to prove that he's a top 10 player, and as the Islanders continue to put some talent around him, his point totals should continue to remain among the league's best.

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Steven Stamkos - Tampa Bay Lightning

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Few players in the league know how to find the back of the net with the regularity that Steven Stamkos does. He's an elite player, an elite shooter, and his 60-goal season last year should be his first of multiple campaigns like that to come.

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Claude Giroux - Philadelphia Flyers

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Claude Giroux really broke onto the scene and gave us a new superstar last year, finishing in the top five in points, despite missing a few games with a concussion. He's already a fantastic offensive player and is a building block for the Philadelphia Flyers, provided he can stay healthy. He should be a 90+ point player for years to come.

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Jonathan Toews - Chicago Blackhawks

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Jonathan Toews may be the best all-around forward in the NHL. He has that ability to elevate the game of those around him and has all of the intangibles you want in your star player. He's not only a fantastic offensive player, he's one of the best defensive forwards in the league. He'll be an all-time great when all is said and done.

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Evgeni Malkin - Pittsburgh Penguins

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If the concussion issues of Sidney Crosby proved anything, it's that the Pittsburgh Penguins not only have the best player on the planet, but the second best player on the planet as well. Evgeni Malkin is simply brilliant. He has every tool you need to be a successful offensive player and is a pleasure to watch. The only question is if his Hall of Fame career will continue on with the Pens, or join another club in the future.

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Sidney Crosby - Pittsburgh Penguins

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Before he even came into the league, Sidney Crosby was dubbed "The Next One". And he's done everything he needed to do to back up that type of talk. He's elite statistically, he's a leader, and he's won a Stanley Cup. The only thing standing between him and having his name by Gretzky's when he's done is his health.