Although size matters in the NHL, not everyone one of the tallest players in the league has translated into a great player.
In the NHL pre-lockout, size would have been more effective because a player was able to grab and hold opponents as they rushed into the offensive zone, but in today’s game, speed is more important. The taller the player is, the more effective he should be defensively by poke checking players and beating them physically, but that hasn’t converted the way that most thought it would.
As the NHL progresses, players have continued to get larger. However, there are only a few players that have actually become steady players in the NHL. When it comes to larger players, it is more awkward for them to be natural skaters because their size makes it tough for them to be fast and efficient hockey players. The best tall hockey players usually end up being steady stay at home defenseman because naturally they are not able to keep up with fast forwards and defend throughout the natural zone. To be clear, we're not taking about a 6'3" power forward here, but the Zdeno Chara's of the world.
Height and hockey do not usually match because height isn't as important as other sports. When an athlete gets to around 6’6”, basketball and football seem like easier sports to transition into because size is much more important there. However, even though there haven’t been a lot of tall athletes that have decided to take a career in hockey, those who have made it should be incredibly respected.
Here is a list of he top 15 tallest NHL players to ever live.
14 T13. Nik Antropov (6’6”)
13 T13. Chris Pronger (6’6”)
12 T13. Steve MacIntyre (6’6”)
11 T6. Vladimir Mihalik (6’7”)
10 T6. Ben Bishop (6’7”)
9 T6. Brian Boyle (6’7”)
8 T6. Hal Gill (6’7”)
7 T6. Jamie Oleksiak (6’7”)
6 T6. Christopher Breen (6’7”)
The 25-year-old left-handed defenseman from Uxbridge, Ontario is not one to put up many points and at only 225 pounds is quite skinny for his height. After going undrafted, Breen played five AHL seasons before finally getting called up in the 2013-14 season with the Calgary Flames. In his nine career NHL games, Breen has recorded two assists and got into a pretty decent fight against Lane MacDermid:
5 T6. Derek Boogaard (6’7”)
4 T2. John Scott (6’8”)
3 T2. Andrej Sustr (6’8”)
2 T2. Joe Finley (6’8”)
1 Zdeno Chara (6’9”)
After the retirement of Niklas Lidstrom, Zdeno Chara has taken over the role of best veteran D-man tonight. Chara has won one Norris Trophy and one Stanley Cup, while playing in seven All-Star Games. As the tallest NHL player to ever play the game, his career has been quite decorated. His huge shot from the point makes forwards and goaltenders cringe when they have to get in front of it, as it is close to impossible to stop. Chara’s size is so important to the Boston Bruins team that he sometimes even finds himself in front of the net during power plays, as Chara’s large frame easily screens the opposing goaltender.
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