Pests are highly irritating and not many people like them. Hockey pests spend the entire game annoying the opposing team, sometimes so much that they cause their opponents to take unnecessary penalties. Sometimes they drop their gloves to settle an argument, while other times they pester an opposing player until he finally loses his patience and most likely earning two or more minutes in the penalty box.
Some modern day pests will definitely be remembered for a very long time. Remember Sean Avery? This guy was the biggest pest in the NHL for several years and is probably most remembered by his extreme taunting of goaltender Martin Brodeur in the 2008 playoffs. Avery was always parked in front of the net minder and even waved his stick in front of Brodeur’s face to block his view. As a matter of fact, the NHL made a rule stating that a player who deliberately tries to obstruct a goaltender’s view by waving his arms or stick in front of a net minder’s face will automatically be given a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. They named it “The Sean Avery Rule”.
And we can’t forget Matt Cooke who had received several suspensions during his career and is known for his dirty plays, such as hits to the head and knee-on-knee collisions. The hit that most people will remember when hearing his name is the devastating blow to the head he delivered to Marc Savard. Although Cooke wasn’t suspended, a new rule was introduced so that more severe penalties would be given for blindside hits.
This list will detail the top 15 pests who are currently playing in the NHL.
15 Brayden Schenn
Brayden Schenn isn’t a huge point producer, but he also hasn’t racked up a lot of penalties either for being labelled a pest. The 6’1, 195 pound forward has 235 points and 211 penalty minutes (with 15 majors and one game misconduct) in 416 regular season games to date. He’s in his eighth NHL season and is currently playing for the Philadelphia Flyers.
He’s a very physical player who can deliver big hits and also isn’t afraid to drop the gloves. Throughout his entire career so far, he has delivered 1,010 hits, ranking him one of the top hitters on his team.
He has been the headliner of several questionable hits throughout his career and was even suspended for three games in April 2016 for charging Washington’s T.J. Oshie during a playoff game.
14 Ryan White
Ryan White is in his eighth NHL season and is currently with the Minnesota Wild. The 6 foot tall, 200 pound forward is known to be a pest, someone who is constantly chirping to opposing players, and who is a physical presence not afraid to drop his gloves.
So far in his career, he has played a total of 299 regular season games and has a disappointing 61 points along with a -28 plus/minus rating. He does have an overwhelming amount of penalty minutes with 433 PIM, including 29 majors and one game misconduct. He’s also not afraid to throw his body around with a total of 781 hits.
In April 2013 the NHL suspended him for five games for an illegal check to the head of Philadelphia’s Kent Huskins.
13 Milan Lucic
Milan Lucic is a very physical player who loves to throw his body around and who will also protect his teammates. And along with his tough guy reputation, he actually has pretty decent numbers on the score sheet.
The 6’3, 233 pound forward is in his tenth NHL season and is currently playing for the Edmonton Oilers. In 713 regular season games to date, he has 433 points and a very impressive +113 plus/minus rating. And despite his reputation, he only has 892 penalty minutes, including 64 majors and 5 game misconducts.
He has also delivered a whopping 1,988 hits so far during his career and has led his team in that category during seven individual seasons.
Lucic has been the topic of several controversial stories over the years, including alleged threats he made towards Montreal’s Dale Weise and Alexei Emelin which occurred in the handshake line after their 2014 playoff series. Lucic has also been suspended several times throughout his career which includes sucker-punching, a cross-check to the head, and an illegal hit from behind.
12 Alexandre Burrows
When Alexandre Burrows is on the ice, he certainly makes his presence known. He has a very impressive +110 plus/minus rating in 826 regular season games to date, so he has certainly been an asset on the ice during the many times his team has scored.
The 6’1, 197 pound forward is currently in his twelfth NHL season. He spent it all with the Vancouver Canucks until getting traded to the Ottawa Senators recently. He’s considered quite a pest, especially to opposing goaltenders. He’s known as an agitator and who is quite successful at drawing penalties to put his team a man up, which made the Vancouver Canucks quite successful on the power play for a couple of seasons.
So far during his career, he has racked up a total of 1,066 penalty minutes, including 28 majors and 6 game misconducts. Burrows has been involved in several questionably dirty hits throughout his career, including an illegal check to the head against Montreal’s Alexei Emelin in October 2014 which resulted with him being suspended for three games.
11 Steve Ott
With almost double the amount of penalty minutes than games played, Steve Ott is no stranger to the penalty box. The 6 foot tall, 193 pound enforcer won’t back down from anyone and is certainly not afraid to drop the gloves.
In fourteen NHL seasons, he has 1,538 penalty minutes in 839 regular season games, including a whopping 110 majors and 3 game misconducts. He has also been suspended several times throughout his career, which includes a hit to the head and eye gouging.
He’s a very physical player who likes to throw his body around. Throughout his career, he has delivered a whopping 2,207 hits and led his team in that category during three seasons. He’s currently a member of the Montreal Canadiens and has dished out ten hits in just two games played with them so far.
10 Chris Neil
With almost two and a half times more penalty minutes than games played, Chris Neil is no doubt a physical enforcer and a major pest.
The 6’1, 209 pound forward has spent his entire fifteen-year NHL career with the Ottawa Senators. In all but two seasons (including this current season so far, but that may change), he has racked up well over 100 penalty minutes, ranking him near the top of the penalty minute list among all NHL players in each individual season. In fact, among all NHL players between 2001 to the present day, Neil is the most penalized player with a total of 2,522 PIM in 1,025 regular season games. That includes a massive 178 majors and 9 game misconducts. And surprisingly enough, he has never been suspended by the league.
He also loves to throw his body around. From 2001 to the present day, he is ranked second among all NHL players during this time with an incredible 2,649 hits.
9 Corey Perry
Corey Perry is not only an agitator who loves to get under opposing players’ skin especially after the whistle, but he’s also very talented on the score sheet. He’s a strong physical player who is great at protecting the puck and he’s also a point producer which would certainly frustrate anyone who is playing against him.
The 6’3, 210 pound forward has spent his entire twelve-year NHL career so far with the Anaheim Ducks. He’s played a total of 870 regular season games and has 706 points, with almost a third of them recorded on the power play. He also has 993 penalty minutes (including 27 majors and one game misconduct).
He has also been in trouble with the league, having been suspended four games each time for elbowing Claude Giroux in 2009 and delivering an illegal check to Minnesota’s Jason Zucker in 2013.
8 Andrew Shaw
Andrew Shaw can be a handful on the ice. He delivers hits; he’s an agitator who runs his mouth; and occasionally he drops the gloves. Although he’s under 6 feet tall (5’11, 179 pounds), he’s not afraid of anyone or anything.
Shaw is currently in his sixth NHL season. He spent the first five with the Chicago Blackhawks and is currently a member of the Montreal Canadiens. He’s definitely not a stranger to the penalty box. In 375 regular season games, he has 399 penalty minutes, including 19 major penalties and 3 game misconducts. He led the Blackhawks with the most penalties for the last two seasons and is currently leading the Canadiens with 99 PIM (40 more minutes than the second place Alexei Emelin).
During his career he has delivered 711 hits so far and led his team in that category in 2015-16.
Shaw has been suspended several times during his hockey career, which includes boarding and yelling a homophobic slur towards a referee.
7 Tom Wilson
Known across the league as a reckless player, a goon and a pest, Tom Wilson is definitely despised by his opponents.
The 6’4, 217 pound forward is currently in his fourth NHL season with the Washington Capitals. He lacks on the score sheet with just 65 points in 296 regular season games, but makes up for it with his physical play which is proven by his hefty 564 penalty minutes (which includes 42 majors and 3 game misconducts).
He’s known for throwing his large body around with 841 hits. He is ranked one of the top hitters for the Capitals and even led the team in that category in 2015-16. He is also currently leading his team this season with 186 hits so far.
And although he’s been the headliner of a few controversial hits, he has never been suspended.
6 Antoine Roussel
With double the amount of penalty minutes versus games played, Antoine Roussel is very familiar with the penalty box. The 6 foot tall, 200 pound agitator is definitely not afraid to drop the gloves, is a well known pest, and has even been labelled dirty player.
He’s currently in his fifth season with the Dallas Stars and so far has 680 penalty minutes, including 48 majors and 3 game misconducts, in 340 regular season games. As a matter of fact, he leads all NHL players from 2012 to the present day in total penalty minutes. In addition to racking up penalty minutes, he’s also known to be very clever at drawing them as well.
In February 2015, Roussel was suspended for two games following a nasty crosscheck to Boston’s Adam McQuaid. A few months before that, he was fined for sucker-punching San Jose’s Justin Braun.
5 Brendan Gallagher
If there’s a crowd in front of the opposing goaltender, you can expect Brendan Gallagher to be one of them. He’s definitely an in-your-face type of player who is constantly around the net and is definitely a pest to the opposing team. And if that isn’t annoying enough, he usually ends up with a big grin on his face or laughing when he gets the other team upset.
The small 5’9, 182 pound forward is currently in his fifth season with the Montreal Canadiens. Despite being extremely irritating to opposing players, he’s very smart in regards to not going overboard and in return has not accumulated an overwhelming amount of penalties. In 309 regular season games, he has just 198 penalty minutes, including 4 majors.
Perhaps parking himself in front of the net suits him just fine, as he’s consistently one of the top ranked players on his team in shots on goal.
4 Leo Komarov
Leo Komarov isn’t a big point producer (94 points in 236 games), but he certainly makes up for it in being a strong physical player, as well as an irritating pest.
The 5’11, 210 pound forward is currently in his fourth NHL season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Although he’s known as a physical player, he’s not one to drop the gloves. In 236 regular season games to date, he has just 101 penalty minutes with only one major. The reason why he’s so irritating is because he will continuously bug an opposing player and then completely ignore him. He’s known to draw penalties since his actions often infuriates the other team which results with the Leafs getting a power play.
Komarov has a massive amount of 909 hits so far in his career, ranking him as one of the top hitters in the league.
In February 2016, Komarov was suspended for three games for delivering an illegal check to the head of New York Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh.
3 Jordin Tootoo
When we think of players who earn little points (159 points in 711 games), have a disappointing plus/minus rating (-57), and who are constantly in the penalty box, the name Jordin Tootoo comes to mind. He is known to be a much despised player around the league and who can be an extremely annoying pest.
He is playing in his thirteenth NHL season and is currently with the Chicago Blackhawks. The small 5’9, 195 pound forward has a total of 1,008 penalty minutes (including 94 majors and 3 game misconducts) in 711 regular season games.
He has also delivered a total of 1,008 hits throughout his career, some of which were considered to be quite dirty. He has been in trouble with the league several times and has received fines and suspensions for purposely crashing into a goaltender and being overly aggressive by punching a player which resulted with an injury.
2 Nazem Kadri
There aren’t too many players that are more irritating and just a royal pain in the rear than Nazem Kadri. In addition to being a super pest and shutting opposing players down, he’s also quite talented at drawing penalties and is pretty decent on the score sheet too.
The 6 foot tall, 195 pound forward is currently in his eighth NHL season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. So far in his career, he has played 391 regular season games and has 246 points. And surprisingly, he only has 288 penalty minutes including 6 majors and one game misconduct.
He’s a mediocre player in regards to delivering hits with 607 of them throughout his career. He is, however, ranked second among all Leafs players since 2009-10 with 229 takeaways.
Kadri has been fined and suspended several times throughout his career which includes delivering dangerous hits to the head, along with running over a goaltender.
1 Brad Marchand
Without a doubt, Brad Marchand is a super pest and is most probably the most irritating player currently in the NHL. It seems like everywhere you look, there he is, and he’s also no stranger to taking an occasional dive or giving a cheap shot when the referees aren’t looking.
The small 5’9, 181 pound forward isn’t just a pest, but he can also produce points and has a fantastic plus/minus rating. He’s currently in his eighth season with the Boston Bruins and has played in 521 regular season games so far with 359 points and a +156 plus/minus rating. And for being labelled a super pest, he really doesn’t have a lot of penalty minutes with 492 minutes in the box, including 8 majors and 2 game misconducts. He has also received several suspensions which include clipping and slew-footing.
He’s not a big hitter, averaging just under a hit a game, but he makes up for it by stealing pucks and being one the top ranked players on his team in takeaways.