Growing up in the late 90s and early 2000s was a great time to be a hockey fan. The years of 2000-2009 were a great time for certain teams in the NHL, and then it was considered alright for other NHL teams. We saw franchises like the Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, and the Anaheim Ducks all win their first title in franchise history. We also saw teams winning for the first time in since the 90s in the Colorado Avalanche, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Finally we had two teams who won the Stanley Cup Final twice in the 2000s in the New Jersey Devils (2000, 2003,) and the Detroit Red Wings (2002, 2008). We also had an expansion draft in the year 2000 which gave the National Hockey League 30 teams. The addition of the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Minnesota Wild have added two more teams to an already great league known as the National Hockey League.
In the 2000s we also missed a season due to the lockout of 2005, and we had a total of seven teams that won titles in a ten year span, which makes hockey in the 2000s one of the most interesting times of all the years that the NHL has been around. There has been plenty of talent that has come through the National Hockey League from the years 2000-2009, and most of them are memorable players. Then there are others that you sit there and honestly say that you have forgotten about. Those players have made up the list of the top 15 forgotten NHL stars of the 2000s.
15 Dany Heatley
Dany Heatley is a former number two overall pick from the 2000 NHL Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers who are now known as the Winnipeg Jets. Heatley played for the Atlanta Thrashers (2000-2004) and the Ottawa Senators (2005-2009) and tallied 260 goals to go along with 283 assists for a combined total of 643 points in his career in the 2000s. Heatley is a former Calder Memorial Trophy Winner, and has put up some solid numbers throughout his whole career.
The 2000s featured the prime of his career as he had his only 100 point seasons in 2005-06, and 2006-07 when he was a member of the Ottawa Senators. After those two years his play started to slow down a little as his numbers took a really big hit. Heatley might fall just below HOF worthy and thus is forgettable for most people.
14 Simon Gagne
Simon Gagne was a the 22nd overall pick in the 1998 NHL Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers. Gagne spent the majority of his career with the Flyers, but he did play with them from the years 2000-2009. In the 2000's Gagne tallied 242 goals to go along with 242 assists to add up to 484 total points. The 2000's was the prime of his career, and he was a legit scoring threat everytime he was on the ice.
He scored over 40 goals twice in his career (2005-2007) and has a career high of 47 goals in a single season which he scored after the lockout (2005-2006). Gagne in the 2000's helped the Flyers make the playoffs every single year besides the 2006-2007 season, and made three appearances in the Eastern Conference Finals (which all resulted in losses). Simon Gagne is very forgettable because he did not have a huge impact on the game, but he will be remembered always by the fans in Philadelphia.
13 Derek Roy
Derek Roy was drafted in the second round in the 2001 NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres. In the 2000's Derek Roy tallied 108 goals to go along with 171 assists for a total of 279 points. He helped lead the Sabres to back to back Eastern Conference Finals appearances from 2005-2007. Roy also helped the Sabres win the President's Trophy in 2006-2007 for having the best regular season record.
He was a huge part of the success that the Sabres had until they lost some key pieces to free agency after the 2006-07 season. Derek Roy was a big time player for the Buffalo Sabres during his tenure throughout the 2000s, as he scored more than 30 goals once (2007-2008) and went over 40 assists three times in the 2000s (2006-2009). With his career high point total being 81 points, Roy was a threat on the ice and was considered one of the better players for the Sabres in the 2000s.
12 Rod Brind'Amour
Rod Brind'Amour was drafted 9th overall by the St.Louis Blues in the 1988 NHL Draft. I know what you are already saying he was drafted in 1988 how was he a forgettable player in the 2000s. Well he was the captain of the Carolina Hurricanes and he led them to a Stanley Cup title in 2006. That was the first and only Stanley Cup Title in Carolina Hurricanes history, and they have not been the same since that glorious season.
Brind'Amour spent the majority of his career in Carolina (2000-2010), and he was 30 years old when he played his first full season in Carolina. In the 2000s Brind'Amour tallied 163 goals to go along with 289 assists to add up to 454 points. Rod Brind'Amour won the Selke Trophy twice in a row (2005-2007), and was a big part of the Hurricanes franchise in the 2000s.
11 Alexei Yashin
Alexei Yashin was the second overall pick by Ottawa in the 1992 NHL Draft. Yashin played his last season in 2006-07, but in the 2000s he played one season in Ottawa and five seasons with the New York Islanders. In the 2000s Yashin tallied 159 goals to go along with 219 assists for a grand total of 378 points. Alexei Yashin refused to honor the last year on his contract as he demanded a raise, but he was stripped of his captaincy and was suspended for the whole 1999-00 season by the Ottawa Senators.
He went on to play one season with Ottawa in 2000-01, but then on draft night 2001 he was traded to the Islanders and his point production took a little bit of a hit. Yashin did help the Islanders make the playoffs in his first three seasons, but he was not the same player like he was during his time with Ottawa. He struggled to get along with the Senators and it cost him in the long haul.
10 Maxim Afinogenov
Maxim Afinogenov was drafted in the third round of the 1997 NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres. Afinogenov started his NHL career during the 1999-2000 season. He spent the entire 2000's with the Buffalo Sabres and had a pretty solid career. In his tenure in Buffalo he played in 569 games while tallying 134 goals to go along with 200 assists for a total of 334 points.
Afinogenov had his career year the first year that Buffalo made the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2000s (2005-06), he had 22 goals to go along with 51 assists for a total of 73 points. He helped the Sabres go to back to back Eastern Conference Finals even though they lost both times. Maxim was a favorite during his time in Buffalo and was well liked during his tenure.
9 Evgeni Nabokov
Evgeni Nabokov was drafted in the ninth round in the 1994 NHL Draft by the San Jose Sharks. Nabokov made his NHL debut in the 1999-00 season, but did not play his first full season in the NHL until the 2000-01 season. He is a Calder Memorial Trophy Winner which is given to the Rookie of the Year, and Nabokov played the entire 2000s with the San Jose Sharks.
In the 2000s Nabokov played in 492 games and had 249 wins to go along with a 2.39 GAA. He helped lead the Sharks to a playoff appearance every season in the 2000's besides the 2002-03 season. Nabokov helped lead the Sharks to one Western Conference Finals appearance in 2003-04. He also helped the Sharks to a President's Trophy in 2008-09 which is given to the team with the best regular season record. Evgeni Nabokov was a great goaltender, but did not win a Stanley Cup during his time in San Jose.
8 Sergei Samsonov
Sergei Samsonov was the eighth overall pick in the 1997 NHL Draft and selected by the Boston Bruins. In the 2000's he played for the Bruins, Oilers, Canadiens, Blackhawks, and the Hurricanes. Samsonov played with the Bruins (1999-2006), Oilers (2006), Canadiens (2006-2007), Blackhawks (2007) and Hurricanes (2007-2009). He was also a part of the Oilers' team that went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2005-06.
In the 2000s Samsonov tallied 161 goals to go along with 243 assists for a total of 404 points. Samsonov playing for five different teams in the 2000s definitely hurt his numbers as he put up his best seasons in Boston when he tallied 70 or more points in two straight seasons (2000-2002), other than that his numbers took a big hit because he was on the move so much. Sergei Samsonov was a great talent that just did not live up to his full potential in the NHL, but due to the fact that he moved around a lot during the 2000s is a huge reason why he is forgettable.
7 Pavol Demitra
Pavol Demitra was drafted in the ninth round in the 1993 NHL Draft by the Ottawa Senators. Demitra played for the Blues, Kings, Wild, and Canucks in the 2000's. Demitra career year in the 2000's was the 2002-2003 season, he played in 78 games while tallying 36 goals to go along with 57 assists for a total of 93 points. In the 2000s Demitra played with the Blues up until the 2003-04 season, the Kings for one season (2005-06), the Wild from 2006-2008, and the Canucks for one season (2008-09).
In the 2000s Demitra tallied 227 goals to go along with 355 assists for a total of 582 points. Pavol Demitra was a huge part of the St.Louis Blues organization, and put up consistent numbers after he left the Blues to play elsewhere in his career. Demitra is a very forgettable player because he did not stay with one franchise for his whole career.
6 Chris Drury
Chris Drury was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1994 NHL Draft by the Quebec Nordiques. The Quebec Nordiques relocated to Colorado in 1995, and Drury made his debut with them in the 1998-99 season. He played in the 2000s for the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres, and the New York Rangers. Drury was a part of the Avalanche team that won the Stanley Cup in 2000-01, and played in Colorado until the 2002-03 season when he was traded to the Calgary Flames. Then after one season in Calgary he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres where he found a home for the time being.
In the 2000s Chris Drury tallied 220 goals to go along with 314 assists for a total of 534 points. Drury's career year was in the 2006-07 season where he tallied 37 goals and 32 assists for a total of 69 points. After his career year he signed with the New York Rangers and finished his career with them. Drury was an effective player during his time in the NHL and is forgettable due to the fact that he played for multiple teams throughout his career.
5 Marty Turco
Marty Turco was drafted by the Dallas Stars in the fifth round of the 1994 NHL Draft. Turco began his NHL career in the 2000-01 season, and became the starting goaltender in 2002-03 which he broke the record for best goals against average with a 1.72, but it was broken the following year. He is the Dallas Stars all-time leader in wins, games played and shutouts. With Turco as the starter they made the playoffs five seasons in a row and had one Western Conference Finals appearance in which they lost to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions Detroit Red Wings.
In the 2000s Turco tallied a 240-134-25-26 record, and added 2.19 GAA. The Stars did not really do anything after their back to back Stanley Cup Final appearances in 1998-2000, but Marty Turco was one of the better goaltenders to play in the decade.
4 Milan Hejduk
Milan Hejduk was drafted in the fourth round in the 1994 NHL Draft by the Quebec Nordiques. Like Chris Drury he was a part of the Colorado Avalanche team that won the Stanley Cup in the 2000-2001 season. Unlike Chris Drury, Hejduk played his entire career with the Colorado Avalanche. Hejduk's career year was in 2002-2003 where he played in all 82 games and tallied 50 goals (career high) to go along with 48 assists (career high) for a total of 98 points (career high) and he won the Maurice Richard Trophy which is given to the player who scores the most goals in a single season.
In the 2000s Milan Hejduk tallied 312 goals to go along with 345 assists for a total of 657 points. Hejduk was a lifetime Colorado Avalanche player, but is forgettable because the Avalanche really regressed as an organization following their 2001 Stanley Cup.
3 Keith Tkachuk
Keith Tkachuk was drafted 19th overall in the 1990 NHL Draft by the Winnipeg Jets. Tkachuk played the whole 1990s, and all of the 2000s, and was an effective player. Tkachuk in the 2000's started off with Phoenix, before being traded to St.Louis, and played with St.Louis throughout the remainder of his career besides one half of a season where he played for Atlanta.
In the 2000s Keith Tkachuk tallied 253 goals to go along with 271 assists for a total of 524 points. Tkachuk was the face of the St.Louis Blue's in the 2000s, and spent the whole 2000s in St.Louis. Yes Tkachuk was in his 30s in the 2000s, but he was still a force to be reckoned with. Tkachuk is one of the best players that never played in a Stanley Cup Final and perhaps that's why he's underappreciated.
2 Miikka Kiprusoff
Miika Kiprusoff was drafted in the fifth round of the 1995 NHL Draft by the San Jose Sharks. He made his NHL debut in 2000-2001, and was primarily the backup goalie before getting traded to Calgary where he became the starting goaltender for the Flames in 2003-04. Kiprusoff led the Flames to the Stanley Cup Final that year and they lost in seven games to the Tampa Bay Lightning. That year he broke the record for lowest goals against average in the modern era with a 1.69 GAA.
In the 2000s Kiprusoff tallied a 239-153-52 record while posting 2.43 GAA, and is the Calgary Flames Franchise leader in wins, shutouts, goals against average, saves, and many more. Kiprusoff was a Vezina Trophy winner in 2005-06, but due to the fact that the Flames never were able to build off their '04 run, he's often forgotten.
1 Markus Naslund
Markus Naslund was drafted 16th overall in the 1991 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Naslund played the majority of his career in Vancouver, and finished his career with the New York Rangers. He was one of the best scorers in the 2000s as he tallied over 70 points for five straight seasons. Markus Naslund won the Ted Lindsay Award in the 2002-03 season which is given to the most outstanding player in the regular season. His breakout season was the 2002-03 season when he tallied 48 goals to go along with 56 assists for a total of 104 points.
In the 2000s Naslund tallied 296 goals to go along with 362 assists for a total of 658 points. He was never successful in the post season as he never made it out of the Conference Semi-Finals, and it has unfortunately haunted his career. With the long run the Sedins have now had in Vancouver, people forget just how valuable Naslund was to the organization.