The NHL has had some interesting eras, but the 1990s seemed to have it all. There was massive intensity and hatred, bigger stars and television coverage that you could actually find without a super extended cable package. There were interruptions in the seasons in 1992 and 1994, but the decade produced some of the most exciting hockey that we’ve ever seen. Maybe it was because of the mullets and Fox Sports’ short lived Glow Puck, but the 1990s seemed like one of the best decades in hockey history.
The NFL and NBA produce an All-Decade Team every 10 years, but for some reason the NHL doesn’t have an official one. So we’re about to do them a favor and make one for them. You could probably put this roster against any other roster in hockey history and they would dominate. This team is so good, in fact, that Eric Lindros and Joe Sakic didn’t even make the cut because of the log jam in front of them at center.
In terms of actual teams that dominated the decade, it started with the Edmonton Oilers, followed by two years of dominance from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Parity kicked in for several years before the Red Wings made a stake for team of the decade, winning back to back Stanley Cups in 1997 and 1998.
There were some other legendary players that didn’t make the All-90s Team, including Mark Recchi, Theoren Fleury, Mats Sundin, Phil Housley, Nicklas Lidstrom and Jeremy Roenick. So if those guys that were considered to be among the best in the league during their careers couldn’t make it, then who did make it? Here is a look at our All 1990s NHL Team and their stats from the 1990s. No stats outside of the decade were considered when creating the team.
Note: We’re going for a traditional roster, with 4 C, 4 LW, 4 RW, 6 D and 2 G.
Center – Wayne Gretzky
The center position for the All-90s team was hard to narrow down to four players, but the top two were no brainers. We start the roster with the greatest player of all time, Wayne Gretzky. Number 99 had his best years during the 1980s, but was still a dominant force when the 1990s rolled around. Gretzky played for the Kings, Rangers and Blues throughout the decade, retiring after the 1998-99 season. Gretzky was fourth in points for the decade with 878 and made every All Star Game except for one. Gretzky also won three Art Ross Trophies and four Lady Byng Trophies during the decade.
Center – Mario Lemieux
Mario Lemieux’s best year came just before the 1990s, but it’s not like he got much worse in the new decade. Lemieux only played for seven seasons during the decade, but had one of the biggest impacts in the league. Lemieux finished with 656 points despite playing in just 318 games. That ratio of 2.063 points per game during the decade was the most impressive and Lemieux was named to four All Star teams in that span. Lemieux won a slew of trophies during the 1990s with multiple Art Ross and Ted Lindsay Trophies, and won a pair of Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992.
Center – Steve Yzerman
While older Red Wings fans would probably claim Gordie Howe as their favorite player, fans in their late 20s to early 40s would likely list Steve Yzerman as theirs. Yzerman played for more than two decades in the NHL, all with the Red Wings. Number 19 finished fifth among forwards for the decade with 870 points along with an amazing +164 while on the ice. Yzerman was named to five All Star teams in the decade and added the Conn Smythe and Frank J. Selke Trophy in the 1990s while helping the Red Wings to win back to back Stanley Cups in 1997 and 1998. His leadership separated him from the other players.
Center – Mark Messier
Our final center on the roster was already in his 30s when the 1990s rolled around, and he stayed all the way through the 2003-04 season. Mark Messier played with Edmonton, New York (Rangers) and Vancouver during the 1990s, finishing with 744 points in just 681 games in the decade. Messier was an All Star in seven different campaigns during the 90s and the winner of two Hart Memorial Trophies and Ted Lindsay Trophies in the early part of the 1990s. Messier won a total of six Stanley Cups, with two of them coming in the 90s.
Left Wing – Luc Robitaille
We now get to the left wingers and the first one on the list is Luc Robitaille, who played for the Kings, Penguins and Rangers during the 1990s. Robitaille was a goal scoring machine during his best years, with his season high coming in at 63 goals. Robitaille scored a total of 756 points in the decade, including 357 goals. Robitaille was a five-time All Star in the 90s, but didn’t win a Stanley Cup in that time. Instead, Robitaille won his first Stanley Cup in 2002 while a member of the Red Wings.
Left Wing – Brendan Shanahan
Another left winger that eventually found success in Detroit, Brendan Shanahan started out the 1990s with the Devils before making stops in St. Louis and Hartford. Shanahan had his best season in 1993-94 with the Blues when he scored 52 goals and added 52 assists for his only 100+ point season. Shanahan’s longevity allowed him to be the 19th highest scoring forward of the 1990s and he finished with 731 points. With five All-Star Game appearances, Shanahan is also a two-time 1990’s Stanley Cup winner and was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013.
Left Wing – Keith Tkachuk
Keith Tkachuk not only had the hardest name to spell for non-hockey fans, but was also a high scoring left winger that was able to make the transition from the Coyotes when they moved from Winnipeg to Phoenix. Tkachuk made his debut during the 1991-92 season with the Jets and stayed with the franchise all the way into the new millennium. Tkachuk made three All Star Game appearances in the later part of the decade and finished with 552 points in 576 1990s games. Sadly, Tkachuk never won a Stanley Cup, but is still one of the best left wingers of the decade.
Left Wing – Paul Kariya
Paul Kariya didn’t even make his NHL debut until the 1994-95 season, but made such a big impact early in his career that he earns the final left wing spot for the All-90s team. Kariya was with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for the 1990s and he scored at least 99 points on three different occasions. Kariya was a three-time All Star in the 90s alone despite only playing six seasons, and won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in back to back years (1996 and 1997).
Right Wing – Brett Hull
The right wingers were a little easier to pick than the left wingers (since there was simply more talent) and the first member is Brett Hull. Hull was with the Blues for most of the 1990s until heading over to Dallas at the end of the decade (where he would end up winning a Stanley Cup). Hull scored more than 100 points in four straight seasons to start the 1990s and scored at least 70 goals three times in that span. Hull would finish seventh in points for forwards in the decade with 842, and he was a six-time All Star with a Lady Byng, Hart and Ted Lindsay Trophy each in the beginning of the 1990s.
Right Wing – Jaromir Jagr
It’s not too hard to believe that someone who made his debut in 1990 did enough to make the All-Decade team despite starting as a teenager, but it’s even more surprising that he is still playing in the NHL today and not missing a beat. Jaromir Jagr is absolutely timeless and it seems like it has been forever since he spent the entire 1990s with the Penguins. Jagr scored 94 points or more seven times in the 1990s, including a season where he scored 127. Jagr led all scorers in the 1990s with 958 points, and he and his sweet mullet were named to five All-Star teams. Jagr won two Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh in 1991 and 1992.
Right Wing – Teemu Selanne
Along with Paul Kariya, Teemu Selanne was added to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the mid 1990s to make them a perennial contender. Selanne started with Winnipeg in 1992, moved over to the Ducks in 1996 and spent the rest of the decade with the team. Selanne was arguably the best Finnish player to make the NHL during the 1990s and he scored 76 goals in his first season in the league. Selanne was also a six-time All Star in the 1990s while winning a Calder Trophy and Maurice Richard Trophy. Selanne did win a Stanley Cup, but it wasn’t until 2007 with the Ducks.
Right Wing – Pavel Bure
Our last forward on the 1990s team is Pavel Bure, who made his debut with the Canucks in 1991 and then wrapped up the decade with the Florida Panthers. Bure scored more than 50 goals in four of his 1990s seasons, and was considered to be one of the finest scorers despite only playing more than 65 games four times. Bure was still able to score 588 points during the 1990s, which is good for 31st for all forwards. The four-time 1990s All-Star didn’t win a Stanley Cup, but that’s mainly because Bure didn’t have much of a supporting cast around him at any time.
Defenseman – Ray Bourque
Our first defenseman was a player that debuted all the way back in 1979 with the Bruins. Bourque spent 21 seasons with the team before heading to Colorado in 2000. It was an emotional time in 2001 with Colorado when Bourque ended his career with his first Stanley Cup Championship, as he was considered to be the best active player at that point to not win one. That’s because Bourque was a nine-time All Star in the 1990s and the winner of three James Norris Memorial Trophies in that timespan. Bourque was also the highest scoring defenseman of the 1990s with 680 points.
Defenseman – Brian Leetch
The second highest scoring defenseman of the 1990s was Brian Leetch, the man who spent the entire decade as a member of the New York Rangers. Leetch made seven All Star Games in the 1990s and was in the top 10 in assists four times while winning a pair of James Norris Memorial Trophies and a Conn Smythe trophy as Leetch won one Stanley Cup while with the Rangers during the 1994 season. Perhaps the best individual season for Leetch came in 1991-92 when he scored 102 points with the help of 80 assists.
Defenseman – Al MacInnis
It was a treat to watch Al MacInnis play in the 1990s because he had one of the hardest slapshots in league history. MacInnis split time in the decade with the Flames and Blues, the only two teams that he ever played for. MacInnis made eight All Star teams and won the 1999 Norris Trophy, and always seemed to be toward the top of the league in plus/minus. MacInnis won a Stanley Cup, but it came just before the 1990s with Calgary in 1989. MacInnis became a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.
Defenseman – Scott Stevens
Scott Stevens would join Al MacInnis in the 2007 Hockey Hall of Fame Class. Stevens was a member of the Capitals when the 1990s came around, then spent one year in St. Louis before playing his final 13 seasons with the Devils. Stevens wasn’t a big time point scorer like the other defensemen on the roster, but his impact was just as big. Stevens was an eight-time All Star throughout the 1990s and added five more appearances outside of the decade. Stevens would end up winning three Stanley Cups, with one of them coming in the 1990s (1995) with the Devils.
Defenseman – Paul Coffey
Paul Coffey already had a decade of NHL experience by the time the 1990s came around, but he is still able to make the All-90s team due to strong performances with the Penguins, Kings, Red Wings, Whalers, Flyers, Blackhawks and Hurricanes, as he sure got around in the 1990s. Coffey made the All Star team seven times in the first eight years of the decade and finished fourth among defensemen with 575 points. Coffey won an amazing four Stanley Cups and the one that came in the 1990s was with the Penguins. Coffey became a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004 with Raymond Bourque.
Defenseman – Chris Chelios
Even though people remember Chris Chelios as a Hab and Red Wing, it was with the Blackhawks where he spent almost the entire 1990s. Chelios was seventh among defensemen in the decade with 523 points, but was much more known for his defense than putting the puck in the net. Chelios was able to make eight All Star Games in the 90s and win three Stanley Cups, but surprisingly none of those came in the 1990s as he won with the Canadiens in 1986 and the Red Wings in 2002 and 2008. In 2013, Chelios was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame alongside fellow All-90s teammate Brendan Shanahan.
Goalie – Dominik Hasek
There are two goalies on the All-90s roster and the first is Dominik Hasek. The Dominator appeared in 25 games with the Blackhawks to start the decade and then became a star in Buffalo throughout the rest of the decade. Hasek played in 449 games in the decade and had the second best goal against average (2.26) for goalies that played at least 400 games and had the best save percentage. Dom didn’t get his first Stanley Cup until 2002 with the Red Wings, and he would add another one six years later with the same franchise. Hasek was a no-doubter as a Hall of Famer and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014.
Goalie – Patrick Roy
It was hard to pick between Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy for the other goalie spot on the list, but it ended up going to Roy. Patrick played in 600 games during the 1990s, which was more than any other goalie. Roy allowed just 2.56 goals per game in the decade and his save percentage was in an incredible 0.912. Roy finished the 1990s with a record of 311 wins and 197 losses. Number 33 helped lead the Canadiens and Avalanche to two Stanley Cup titles each, with one each occurring in the 1990s (1993 with Montreal, 1996 with Colorado).
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