NHL History: 30 best players in the 21st century (Updated 2023)

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Martin St. Louis
Martin St. Louis (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

30 best NHL players of the 21st century: 27. Martin St. Louis

Martin St. Louis is one of those stories in sports that keep fans coming back. He had every obstacle in his way, yet he put together a career that might have him in the Hall of Fame one day. He wasn’t drafted coming out of the University of Vermont. He only stands at 5’8 and signed an NHL contract only after being forced to play for the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the International Hockey League. He played with the Flames for two seasons, but a new regime came in and bought out his contract.

That turned out to be a huge mistake. He signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the rest is history.

He ended up spending the next 13 years with the Lightning, winning the Hart Trophy just four years after joining the team. He continued to be a very consistent scorer, even if he never hit the 94-point heights he hit in 2004. It was a banner year that ended with the Lightning winning their first-ever Stanley Cup Championship.

Speaking of the Cup, St. Louis was insane in the playoffs. He had more than a point per game in 63 career games, and he not only sparked the Lightning to a Cup run, but he helped the New York Rangers to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, the first Final appearance in 20 years.

St. Louis was the ultimate underdog that couldn’t get a team to draft him, couldn’t get a team to sign him, and kept making the wrong moves in his career until he made it to the Lightning. Then, he put up 1,000 points, had his jersey retired, and will likely see his name in the Hall of Fame one day. He’s one of the better stories of this generation.