Top 15 Incredible NHL Underdog Stories

Every NHL club employs a team of highly regarded, well respected scouts who know the game of hockey in and out and are trusted in their judgment of upcoming prospects. While they often get it right, they, like any other group of humans, can be sometimes prone to bias and tilted preferences towards one particular type of player. In hockey, this typically means an overt emphasis on fast, strong and large skaters at the expense of skilled but smaller ones. While this bias pays off sometimes, there is an army of players who have made scouts bearing this bias look bad by thriving in spite of their stature.

Granted, NHL underdogs don't come in any one shape or size. While some little guys have managed to come up big, even big guys have managed to shed their limiting and diminishing labels to become something more and lightly recruited players have overcome their scarce opportunities to shine in the world's best hockey league. And the rise of the underdog doesn't merely apply to individuals, either. A number of teams have made history by bucking the conventional wisdom and enjoying an unlikely run towards NHL greatness and one of the most coveted trophies in sports, the Stanley Cup.

If it weren't for the underdog and the seemingly impossible becoming possible, there would really be no reason to watch the games. So let's celebrate these unlikely heroes that have, for a moment in time, turned their sport upside down with the 15 most incredible underdog stories in NHL history.

15 Joe Mullen 


14 Henrik Lundqvist 

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

13 Mel Hill 


12 Cory Conacher 

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

11 Peter Stastny 


10 Andrew Hammond 

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

9 2002-03 Anaheim Mighty Ducks 


8 Tim Thomas 

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

7 Fernando Pisani 


6 1981-82 Los Angeles Kings 


5 Pavel Datsyuk 

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

4 Theoren Fleury 


3 1994-95 New Jersey Devils 


2 John Scott 

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

1 Martin St. Louis 

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

All Martin St. Louis did during his hockey career was produce, putting up gaudy numbers in the CJHL, NCAA, AHL and IHL during a long toil in the minors. For years, NHL scouts struggled to see past his diminutive 5'8" frame, leaving him overlooked and devoid of a consistent place in the NHL until joining the Tampa Bay Lightning at age 25. From there, he didn't look back, earning a Hart trophy, Stanley Cup and two Art Ross awards while playing over 1,100 games and scoring 391 goals in a sure-fire Hall of Fame career.

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Top 15 Incredible NHL Underdog Stories