Before these NHLers became prominent faces in our lives, they were just regular children aspiring to be something great like all of us. Most had hockey in their family roots and began to play at a young age. The more they went on, the more the dream of making the NHL looked like a reality. For these 15 on the list, they would all end up living their dream and joining the NHL, a league they still play in today.
This article will test your skills by showing you pictures of NHL stars looking pretty unrecognizable as children. Some, you might get quickly, but others aren't so obvious. Make sure to let us know which players you were able to identify and which ones you seriously had no clue about. If you got over ten entries correct, you can pat yourself on the back.
Let us now begin the article and take a look at some of the very greatest the league has to offer and what they looked like as children. We start the article off with a hard-nosed player dawning the Oilers colors this season. Have we said too much? Here are 15 pics of NHL stars you wouldn’t even recognize from their earlier days, enjoy!
15 We Wouldn't Mess With Him At This Age Either
Yup, that young, innocent looking boy is actually Edmonton Oilers star Milan Lucic. Growing up, both Milan’s parents moved from Yugoslavia, as his parents would end moving to Canada in their 20s and Lucic was born and raised in the Vancouver area.
As a kid, Milan began to play hockey and was a huge Canucks fan. Not too surprising that his favorite player growing up was Todd Bertuzzi, a player who played a similar game to Milan using his massive size as a power forward, who could also brawl when needed.
He would continue his pursuit of the NHL making a name for himself with the Vancouver Giants. In his final season with the WHL team, Lucic racked up 68 points in 70 games along with 147 penalty minutes. Come draft day, the Bruins struck gold landing the BC native 50th overall.
14 Dressed In An American Flag, But He's Not American...
Before we begin, let us applaud Alex Ovechkin for his brilliant choice of outfit. Whether he or his parents chose the ensemble is unknown, but he really rocked the hell out of the USA inspired outfit.
Despite his patriotic look in the picture, Ovechkin grew up in Russia. He came from a household of athletes which included his mother, a winter of two basketball gold medals, and his father, Mikhail Ovechkin who was a professional soccer player.
Ovi would end up branching out in another sport, the game he currently plays on the ice. Ovi started when he was eight playing in school and would ultimately rise up the ranks in Russia. After his junior career with Dynamo Moscow, Ovi joined the NHL and became one of the most sought after draft picks in history of the game. Looking at his accomplishments since then, it’s quite obvious that he was worthy of all the hype.
13 Foreshadowing With His Jersey Selection
From a cute, toothless toddler, to a grizzled, bearded stud of a defenseman, Brent Burns has underwent quite the transformation over the years.
Like most NHLers, Brent was Canadian born, growing up in Barrie, Ontario. He was a highly sought after defenseman and improved his game leaps and bounds during his OHL career. This would cause the Wild to bite on Burns 20th overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
His career with the Wild was up and down, although just when it looked like he was finding his game, the Wild gave up on the d-man and shipped him off to the Sharks. Burns would completely alter his game with the club, becoming a dominant offensive force from the back. He finished last season with a career high 27 goals along, with 75 points. At the age of 31, Burns is currently enjoying the prime of his professional career.
12 He Looks Innocent, But...
That cute kid above is actually Boston’s super-pest, Brad Marchand. Growing up in the Halifax area, Marchand played most of his junior hockey career in his hometown. He broke out in the QMJHL playing with Val-d’Or during his third season. In 2006-07, Marchand had an amazing junior season, picking up 80 points along with 108 penalty minutes. Looking at those stats, the Bruins didn’t hesitate to draft the forward 71st overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
The Bruins took their time with Marchand and that was the right call. The pesky forward would enjoy a brilliant start to his career in the 2010-11 campaign and he’s continued at a similar pace throughout his career. Last season, however, Marchand destroyed his career highs, pilling up 37 goals along with 60 points.
11 This Kid Got To Meet A Legend...
That lucky child who looks pretty unrecognizable next to the legendary Peter Forsberg is New York Rangers star forward Mats Zuccarello. Zuc grew up in Oslo, Norway, but is actually also of Italian descent, coming from his mother's heritage.
Like many other Norwegian players have typically done, Mats took his talents over to Sweden during his junior career. The speedy forward would take the hard route into the league going undrafted and signing a deal with the New York Rangers, immediately reporting to the team's AHL affiliate down in Hartford.
It was a bumpy ride for Zuc, but he would finally get established with the team during the 2013-14, season putting up 40 assists. He had a breakout year last season, scoring 26 goals and notching a career high 61 points.
10 Angry Young Child
This hilarious photo features Jeremy Roenick with an angry child. That angry looking little boy would actually end up being a future NHL star, playing for a team that the guy in the picture would also end up playing for, the San Jose Sharks. That dude is none other than Logan Couture.
Growing up in Guelph, Ontario, Couture enjoyed his hockey in his hometown early on in his career. He would end up thriving at the OHL level, playing with the Ottawa 67’s. His impressive run with the team led him to getting selected in the first round (ninth overall) by the Sharks in the 2007 NHL Draft. Since joining the team, he’s put up spectacular numbers and remains a dominant player in the league. His only issue, as of late, has been staying healthy, something he hopes will improve in the future.
9 He's Wearing The Right Colors
We applaud those of you that were able to recognize Pens star goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury from this picture. The only thing that does seem recognizable in the photo is his colors, as he's dawning the Pittsburgh black and gold. However, he’s not in goalie gear, something were not accustomed to seeing.
Fleury would end up making the transition into goaltending and he blossomed during his junior career in the QMJHL. With the Penguins starving for a goalie, the team traded up in the draft to get his services and selected Flower first overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
Despite the fact that he’s currently the team’s number two keeper, it doesn’t take away from the fact that Marc-Andre blossomed into something special and became a key piece in the Pens winning history. Whether he gets traded or not, Fleury will remains a legend to Pens fans.
8 Can He Bring Back The 'Fro?
From a good looking afro to a clean shaved head, Jarome Iginla would end up blossoming into a brilliant hockey player. Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Iggy had hockey running through his veins from a very young age. He would end up thriving in the hard-nosed WHL league with the Kamloops Blazers. Throughout his junior career, Jarome was an absolute force. In his final season at the junior level, Iginla put up 136 points along with 120 penalty minutes, in only 63 games.
The Stars took note of his play and drafted the forward 11th overall in the 1995 Draft. His legacy would grow as a member of the Calgary Flames, representing the team for several years. Now, in the later stages of his career, Iggy has bounced around the league in search for a shot at the Stanley Cup. At the age of 39, time is slowly running out for the Alberta legend.
It's hard to find a better story in the league than the one of that handsome young fellow in the picture above. Somehow, he actually looks older in that picture than he does today. Benjamin Button, perhaps? He also looks somewhat like Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys.
Okay, enough of the TV and movie references, as Devan Dubnyk has excelled into one of the league’s best stories. He went from a player that nobody wanted to one of the very best goaltenders in the entire National Hockey League. Despite Carey Price’s impeccable play so far this season, several hockey experts are projecting the Vezina Trophy to be going to the Wild netminder, who seems to be playing out of his mind as of late. At the age of 30, it’s quite obvious that Dubs is enjoying the absolute prime of his career.
6 The Bruins Would Definitely Take Him
Pittsburgh fans won’t be too thrilled with this picture as their star forward is wearing a Boston Bruins cap, as they can only imagine him in Pittsburgh. I think the Pens fans can forgive Evgeni Malkin, who’s been a dominant player since joining the team second overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Malkin played his junior hockey back home in the RSL and later made the transition to join the NHL.
He became a dominant force instantly, racking up seasons of 100 plus points on three different occasions. His most noteworthy accomplishments include two Stanley Cup championships along with a Hart Trophy victory in 2012. At the age of 30, the Russian is still proving he can go as the Pens continue to dominate the league a year after they won the Stanley Cup.
5 His Smile Hasn't Changed
Looking like a true Italian rebel since his earlier days, Roberto Luongo would become one heck of a goalie in the NHL. Along with his on-ice brilliance, the man known as Lou possesses one of the greatest personalities outside of the rink, providing fans with some brilliant one-liners via his social media account on Twitter.
Along with his off-ice comedy, Roberto is one hell of a goalie and teams were well aware following his junior career. Luongo would ended up getting selected fourth overall and he’d become a top tier goalie quickly. At the age of 37, he still hasn’t won a cup, although he’s a member of a decent team with some good young talent. As of now, his career highlight is winning the gold medal for Team Canada back in 2010 as the starting goalie.
4 Something Has Scared Him...
Look familiar? Well, that handsome young stud, who seems to be wearing Calgary Flames colors, is none other than NHL speedster Taylor Hall. Born and raised in Calgary, Taylor came from a family of athletes which included his father Steve Hall, who played in the CFL. Taylor would end up forging a path of his own and dominated the junior scene. He would get selected first overall by the Edmonton Oilers, the bitter rivals of his hometown team.
Hall would provide the team with some formidable years, always giving them his all. Just as things seemed to be turning around for the franchise, Hall was dealt away to Devils in exchange for some defensive help. At the age of 25, this is only the beginning of Taylor’s excellence in the league.
3 He Hasn't Stopped Winning Awards
As you can see from the picture above, Tyler Seguin was a winner from an early age. He had hockey in his blood with his father playing for the University of Vermont and both of his sisters playing the game as well.
Styling his game around Steve Yzerman, Seguin became a gem of a player during his OHL stint. The Taylor versus Tyler sweepstakes were a huge part of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, as the Oilers would end up selecting Hall first, while Seguin fell second in the lap of the Boston Bruins.
Inexplicably, the Bruins would end up parting ways with Seguin because of his different style of play in comparison to the team. Seguin would carry on in Dallas, dominating fantasy pools alongside his buddy and teammate Jamie Benn.
2 As Calm As Ever
With goaltending in his blood, Carey Price took the family name to new heights. His father, Jerry Price, was a pro goaltender and was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers. Looking at what his son ultimately became, he's definitely proud.
Idolizing the likes of Marty Turco and Patrick Roy, Price emulated their styles by playing a calm stand-up game. Price would thrive in the WHL and he was later stolen in the 2005 NHL Draft, going fifth overall to the Montreal Canadiens.
We really don’t need to say much more. Price has become an elite goalie in the league and he’s currently regarded as the very best. He recently won a gold medal for Canada and is looking to cement his legacy as a true great with a Stanley Cup victory alongside his Montreal teammates.
1 He's Also Still Winning Awards
We conclude this list with the fine looking gentleman above wearing a pair of Mickey Mouse sweat pants and holding a trophy, something he would get comfortable with as the years went by. The toddler is, of course, Sidney Crosby.
Like many others, Crosby idolized Steve Yzerman growing up and loved the Montreal Canadiens. From his days in minor hockey, Crosby was already regarded as the next big thing, as CBC were already interviewing Sid.
His game would grow and grow as the years went by, as he put up record numbers in the QMJHL. He would up getting selected first overall and has been the best player in the world ever since. Not even in his 30s yet, you can expect Sid to remain the best for many more years.