Over the last 20 years, the NHL completely changed eras. The league was on the cusp of really making waves on a national level. The New York Rangers Stanley Cup victory, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux’s superstardom, and a young core of exciting players had the league set up for success in the 21st century.
Now, a generation of players has gone by and the next generation of players is already upon us. There is a clear divide in star power this century. While players who fall away in the realms of history like Kevin Stevens and Joe Juneau could score 100 points in the 90s, now that number is much harder to hit.
So, finding the best players of the 21st century is much more than just looking at the stats. The increased inception of advanced analytics has changed the way we look at the game of hockey. Those who play a chaotic game where the defense is suspect at best don’t come off as well as they did in previous generations. So, when looking at everything, who are the best players of the 21st century?