Every team in the NHL has one player that everyone seems to despise to the point where they hope they disappear. However, the nightmare behind this is that these players seem to have long careers and continue to haunt their rivals. As fans, it is quite easy for us to dislike players because we do not know any of them personally so there is no reason to feel guilt. Yet, when it comes to actual NHL players, these guys often grow up together and still have reasons to end up hating one another.
With that, we will be evaluating one player from each team that everybody seems to hate. The most common theme that we will see is that the players who are hated are most likely either enforcers or extremely physical power forwards. Yet, in strange examples, some of these players will be these teams’ stars because of either their off-ice behavior or the fact that they always find a way to win.
Nonetheless, here is the complete list of players from each team that everyone seems to hate.
30 Anaheim Ducks: Ryan Kesler
Ryan Kesler is by far the most hated player on the Anaheim Ducks because he knows exactly how to get under the skin of opposing players. For example, Kesler used his pest tactics to mess with Connor McDavid’s game during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This is just one of many examples where Kesler has done something similar to this.
Kesler is also despised by the way he handled ending his tenure with the Vancouver Canucks. Instead of respectfully asking for a trade, he demanded out of Vancouver and stated he would only accept a trade to one of their main rivals: The Ducks and Blackhawks. Due to this and his dirty style of play, it is easy to understand why he is hated.
29 Arizona Coyotes: Lawson Crouse
After a fairly luckluster rookie season, Lawson Crouse has made himself the most hated player in Arizona. In his first year of play, Crouse made himself known by getting into a handful of fights and delivering some monstrous hits. Needless to say, Crouse did not make many new friends, especially with the veterans of the game.
As a former first round pick, Crouse still has the potential to become a productive NHL player and he has already shown that he can handle the physical side of the game. Crouse held himself together pretty well when he fought players like P.K. Subban, which is a great accomplishment for a young player of the game.
28 Boston Bruins: Brad Marchand
This is a very easy choice because Brad Marchand is another player who every opponent hates playing against. Although he is an elite talent and is blooming into a superstar, Marchand still plays in a very dirty fashion. He is known for his common slewfoots and the number of suspensions he somehow avoided for them.
Marchand is the type of player that everyone hates when they face him, but love playing with him. He is a classic like hockey player who beautifully fits the Bruins’ system. Yet, at times, he does seem to lack total respect for the opposition and takes a number of stupid penalties in the process.
27 Buffalo Sabres: Evander Kane
Evander Kane is hated so much that his own management seems to dislike him at times. I mean, that is the main reason he ended up in Buffalo in the first place. During his stint in Winnipeg, he was traded to Buffalo because he did not seem to take the game seriously off the ice and created many spats with his teammates.
Kane is a player who has blocked himself from reaching his full potential because has yet to grow up. The Sabres now are beginning to regret trading away assets like Tyler Myers for him and are currently shopping him. He is skilled player in the NHL, but his personality very well could block teams from wanting to acquire him.
26 Calgary Flames: Michael Ferland
Michael Ferland came into the NHL with a bang when he joined the Flames in the 2015 NHL Playoffs. Ferland showed the league that he is a very gritty player and not afraid of the physical side of the game. With that, he has made a handful of enemies because of his questionable hits and very well is the most hated player on the Flames.
Ferland is beloved by his teammates and Calgary for his style of play because it is very effective for them. He is a team first type of player, but that also makes him hated around the league. Ferland started his career picking fights with veterans, so he gave himself a bad reputation around the league, which has actually benefitted his play.
25 Carolina Hurricanes: Justin Faulk
The Carolina Hurricanes are a fairly clean NHL club, so when it comes to them, it is quite challenging to determine who is their most hated player. So, based on skill, it would make sense that most NHL teams would most likely hate playing Justin Faulk. Faulk has developed into a very defenseman for the club and quarterbacks the team.
The Hurricanes have found success building a team with a bit more skill and finesse, than physicality. Players like Fault are the reason why they are definitely on the rise as a club and will expect to have solid seasons for years to come. Faulk leading the charge will make him a targeted man as the seasons continue.
24 Chicago Blackhawks: Patrick Kane
No NHL fan likes Patrick Kane if they are not from Chicago. Patrick Kane is a very talented player, but has been through a number of off-ice scandals that has made him disliked around the league. What is worst about this is that he has found a way to get away with these alleged crimes and that infuriates fans.
Kane also is one of the most clutch players in the NHL and is a pain to play against because of it. He always finds way to break the backs of the opposition because if he is not scoring, he is making a spectacular pass for the goal. Also, Philadelphia fans will never forget his lucky Stanley Cup winning goal in 2010.
23 Colorado Avalanche: Gabriel Landeskog
Gabriel Landeskog is a very good hockey player, but he has been called a diver and always seems to start trouble each game. Yet, although he tends to get under the skin of opposing players, he rarely answers the bell and fights for his actions. With that, it is easy to understand why NHL players do not like him around the league.
Landeskog would be better off avoiding the physical side of the game because it is clear that he does not do well in it. If he were to focus his frustration toward producing offense, he would get his career back on track and be a dominant force once again. Maybe that would help his reputation and get him to receive respect from the league.
22 Columbus Blue Jackets: Brandon Dubinsky
Brandon Dubinsky has been hated around the league since he began his career on the New York Rangers. Although Dubinsky is a very talented two-way forward, his dirtiness as a player overshadows his success. He has been known to make dirty hits and without a doubt, that is what has made him disliked by so many.
Dubinsky’s style of play has been beneficial toward his career however because it is what has made him so respected by his teammates and coaches. With a player like Dubinsky, teams know that they are getting a player who will always work hard and not shy away from big hits. Yet, that is also why other teams cannot stand him.
21 Dallas Stars: Antoine Roussel
Antoine Roussel is a huge pain to play against because he is very physical, but also dirty. Since becoming an NHL, he has gotten over 100 penalty minutes in every season he has played. He is a modern day enforcer, but he also knows how to get on the score sheet. He has gotten at least 25 points over the past four seasons.
Roussel has made countless cheap plays over the years and it is easy to understand why opposing teams hate him immensely. Although this is the case, he is a very important part of the Dallas Stars and they even encourage him to use this style of play. It is what made him make the NHL after all and has given him success.
20 Detroit Red Wings: Justin Abdelkader
Justin Abdelkader is loved by the Detroit Red Wings and their fans, but hated by everyone else. Like many players on this list, Abdelkader is a strong power forward who does not shy away from the physical side of the game. With this, it is understandable why the rest of the league dislikes playing against him.
During the 2015-16 season, Abdelkader received a whopping 120 penalty minutes, which is far more than the league average. Since that year in particular, Abdelkader has run into a lot of trouble with the league and has often found himself in many scrums, which is completely understandable.
19 Edmonton Oilers: Milan Lucic
Since his days with the Boston Bruins, Milan Lucic has been hated by every player who has played against. Lucic is obviously one of the most physical players in the league and is not afraid to get into fights at any point of the game. He also throws many questionable hits that has gotten him negative criticism over the years.
Now that Lucic’s primary objective is to protect superstar Connor McDavid, he is even more physical with the opposition. If a player hits McDavid in a dirty manner, you already know that Lucic is going to stop at nothing to get that player to pay the price. Expect to see more of this as the years go on from Lucic.
18 Florida Panthers: Micheal Haley
This offseason, the Panthers signed gritty forward Micheal Haley and he will quickly become the most hated player from that team. During his time in San Jose, Haley made a name for himself by challenging the opposition to either fights or by continuously throwing his body around. In return, this made him hated around the league.
Haley is not a player who is very skilled or who will put up strong stats, but he is a solid addition for the Panthers because he will provide them the grit that was lost when Shawn Thornton retired. Expect Haley to make the Panthers a team that the league does not look forward to playing, mainly because of his style of play.
17 Los Angeles Kings: Dustin Brown
Although Dustin Brown is not the superstar he once was, he is still hated around the league because he is a very physical player who can be classified as dirty. Throughout the years, Brown has found himself on the highlight reel numerous times for his bone jarring hits. This of course has made him a target throughout the league.
Brown is also hated because he led the Kings to two Stanley Cups with his physical style of play. Although the years have caught up to him, it is apparent that there is still bad blood around the league when it comes to him. Even with that, Brown has used to this to motivate his game and stay around.
16 Minnesota Wild: Chris Stewart
Chris Stewart is a fairly dirty player in the NHL, thus, it is easy to understand why he would be the most hated player on the Minnesota Wild. Gone are the days where Stewart was a legitimate top-6 forward, but the physical side of his game has only gotten stronger. That very well is why he is still in the NHL today.
It is easy for players like Stewart to create enemies with their style of play because at the end of the day, no one wants to be hit in a dirty manner. Yet, this is exactly what has made Stewart the player he is today and an effective piece of the Minnesota Wild. With his role set, expect to see him continue this style over the next few seasons.
15 Montreal Canadiens: Shea Weber
Shea Weber is respected around the league for his great leadership skills and contributions on the ice, but everybody hates playing against him. Weber is a very tenacious player who is a strong hitter and incredibly challenging to get off the puck. This is what makes Weber a franchise player in the NHL and will continue so for the rest of his career.
The difficulty of playing against Weber is the main reason why people do not look forward to playing the Canadiens. Weber has made Montreal a far better team since his arrival during the 2016-17 season because he finally gave them that big body presence that they desperately needed. The opposition surely does not enjoy this change.
14 Nashville Predators: P.K. Subban
Speaking of the Weber trade, P.K. Subban is also the most hated player on the Nashville Predators. Subban is a very eccentric and cocky hockey player, but that is what has made him succeed in the NHL. He always has answer for his critics and puts up great statistical seasons every year that passes. Yet, his behavior both on and off the ice has made him make enemies.
Subban has a reputation for complaining to the refs and diving, and there is no doubt that this is an issue that he has. However, that does not take away from the amazing play that he gives out on a daily basis. These factors are the main reasons why many NHLers cannot stand Subban and are open to stating that to the public.
13 New Jersey Devils: Miles Wood
Miles Wood has a bright future in the NHL and is the exact type of player that the New Jersey Devils need for their rebuild. Although he may not end up being a perennial scorer in the league, he will be a strong physical force for the club. This was evidently presented by the way he played his rookie season in 2016-17.
Wood immediately made an impact in the league because of his big hits and willingness to fight opposing players. Although he only had 17 points in 60 games, he had 86 penalty minutes. This obviously shows that his main task for the team was to stir the pot on the ice and play physically. Wood will continue to make many enemies as the seasons pass.
12 New York Islanders: Cal Clutterbuck
The man with the best name in the NHL, Cal Clutterbuck, has created a very poor reputation for himself because of his style of play. Ever since he joined the NHL with the Minnesota Wild, he has been a nuisance on opposing teams because of physical he is. In 2011-12, he put up a huge 103 penalty minutes for the Wild.
Although his penalty minutes totals have dropped a bit over the past few seasons, he still is hated around the league because of his past. Clutterbuck has dished out a number of dirty hits over his career and has shown no remorse for his actions. At the end of the day, an NHLers history never disappears and this is truly the case with Clutterbuck.
11 New York Rangers: Chris Kreider
Chris Kreider has had a very successful career thus far, but he has made a lot of enemies as well. Kreider will forever be known for his absolute cheap shot on Carey Price during the 2014 NHL Playoffs, which resulted in a serious injury for Price. This alone gave other teams the message that Kreider is a dirty player and cannot be trusted.
Kreider’s physical edge is what has made him become a star player in the league, but it is clear that this incident truly hurt his reputation. He also seemed to embrace this style of play more after this occurrence because he now gets a pretty high number of penalty minutes each season.
10 Ottawa Senators: Mark Borowiecki
Mark Borowiecki is a bottom pairing defenseman for the Ottawa Senators and can be classified as a late bloomer. He found a full time roster spot during the 2014-15 NHL season and has since become a force in the league. He has gotten at least 100 penalty minutes each season and even hit 154 last season. This obviously has made him not a popular guy with opponents.
Borowiecki is a nasty player who will always go for the body, even when it is not necessarily warranted. This is evident by the high number of penalty minutes he has gotten over the past few seasons. Borowiecki also is a very talented fighter, as he first displayed when he fought P.K. Subban a few years back.
9 Philadelphia Flyers: Wayne Simmonds
Wayne Simmonds is an elite talent and one of the best players on the Philadelphia Flyers roster. He has become a 20 to 30 goal scorer while also providing a great physical edge to the Broadstreet Bullies roster. With that, he also continuously receives a high number of penalty minutes for his very aggressive play.
Simmonds strength and grittiness has made him a giant pain for other teams to deal with. Over the past two seasons alone, he has gotten over 100 penalty minutes each, and will easily continue to do so until his contract is up. Simmonds fits the criteria of the perfect Flyer and should be there for many more years to come.
8 Pittsburgh Penguins: Sidney Crosby
As the years continue to move forward, Sidney Crosby appears to becoming an even greater hockey player. Yet, while doing this, he is also gradually getting hated more and more by opposing players. It is easy to hate the best player in the league naturally, but Crosby makes it even worse by his behavior on the ice.
Since the start of his career, Crosby has always complained to the referees anytime that he feChrislt that he was treated poorly by the opposition or if they missed calls. Besides this, he also is a serial diver and whines in the process while doing so. With all of this and his ability to keep winning, it is easy to understand why everyone around the NHL cannot stand him.
7 San Jose Sharks: Brenden Dillon
The San Jose Sharks are another team that are not necessarily a dirty team, but they do have a lot of strong players. Brenden Dillon is a great example of a player that teams hate to play against because he is a large defensive defenseman who mainly plays on the physical side of the game. This is always challenging for other teams to deal with.
Dillon has become a very underrated player for the Sharks and is often forgotten about at times for the team. Yet, Dillon is extremely important because his physicality is what makes opposing forwards nervous to play against him. He is the perfect player to have during a Stanley Cup run as well because of this.
6 St. Louis Blues: Chris Thorburn
This offseason, the Blues acquired Chris Thorburn to fill the hole left by Ryan Reave’s departure. Chris Thornburn is a stereotypical enforcer who has spent the majority of his career in the penalty box and away from the actual score sheet. With that, Thornburn has made many enemies with his style of play.
Thorburn will be a very solid player for the Blues because he will be more than willing to protect big stars, such as Vladimir Tarasenko. The veteran will do everything he can to keep an NHL job past this season so expect him to play even more physically in St. Louis. This will make Thorburn even more hated this season.
5 Tampa Bay Lightning: Cedric Paquette
Cedric Paquette has developed into a solid 4th line center for the Tampa Lightning and is an important player on their roster. Although he is a bit small in stature, Paquette does not shy away from the physical side of the game and has embraced a role as that type of player. Yet, his approach in it is what make players hate him.
Paquette is a player who has a quick temper and tends to bite off more than he can chew. This was evident when he went after Zdeno Chara during the 2014-15 season and got absolutely destroyed by Chara. So, Paquette is hated because he is a bit of pest and overall, is not a very intelligent hockey player when he is angry.
4 Toronto Maple Leafs: Matt Martin
The Toronto Maple Leafs are a team on the rise and have many talented young forwards who do not have much of a physical edge. Yet, when it comes to winger Matt Martin, that is truly all they need. Martin’s role with the team is primarily to protect the stars of the roster, as well have a handful of time on the penalty kill.
As all NHL fans know, Martin is very physical player who is not afraid to fight and throw his body around. He has gotten over 100 penalty minutes in almost every season he has played and will continue to do so in the role he is given. With this, he will also still be hated around the league for quite some time and that is something he truly relishes in.
3 Vancouver Canucks: Sedin Twins
The Sedin Twins are future Hall of Famers, but have definitely received a lot of hate around the NHL for quite some time. This is a bit strange however, because they have never been dirty players, but rather, have been criticized for their lack of physicality. They have also been called out for being too weak and divers.
The Sedin Twins received most of their hate from all over the NHL during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Boston fans were relentless toward them because they continuously refused to answer the bell and often complained about how the games were officiated. Although the Sedins are amazing players, they have never fixed their reputations since then.
2 Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin
Alex Ovechkin is one of the best snipers of this generation and is beloved by the fans in Washington. Yet, with all of that, it is clear that the rest of the league cannot stand him. Ovechkin is a player who is very flashy and is not afraid to display his excitement on the ice. This makes him come across as being a bit too cocky, which has made him hated.
Yet, the main reason why people love to hate on Ovechkin is because he has yet to bring a cup to Washington, even though he has played on teams that were plenty good enough. Ovechkin seems to shut down during the playoffs and is given criticism for it. Although Ovechkin is a star, his career has never been truly respected because he has lost so many times.
1 Winnipeg Jets: Dustin Byfuglien
To round off this long list of players who are hated, let us turn attention to superstar defenseman, Dustin Byfuglien. Byfuglien is a beast of a man and like the majority of this list, has an extreme presence in the physical side of the game. He has gotten over 100 penalty minutes over the past three seasons and this is not much of a surprise at all.
Because Byfuglien is so large, he has hurt many players with his giant hits. This has given him a bad reputation around the league and even has put fear in the minds of opposing players. Byfuglien has been noted as the hardest player to play against in the NHL and that is extremely challenging to disagree with.
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