Most hockey fans and experts believe hockey players need to be excellent skaters to succeed in the NHL. But that’s not always the case. It may depend on what era they competed in, but there have been dozens of players who enjoyed fine careers even though skating was the weakest aspect of their games. Some of them even went on to become Hall of Famers while others may end up there someday. Not all skaters have great NHL careers though as some of them end up being nothing more than enforcers.
This list of the top 15 slowest/worst NHL skaters of all time consists of all types of players from goalscorers, to playmakers, to reliable defenders to enforcers. Some of them were undoubtedly subpar players who made it to the NHL because of their fighting abilities, but the majority of them were good, underrated players. Some of them may even have become superstars if their skating matched the rest of their hockey skills. Everybody here managed to get from point A to point B, albeit it a bit slower or more awkwardly than most of their teammates and opponents.
There’s not really any trend here since the list consists of defensemen and forwards. However, it is interesting to note that eight of these 15 players were members of the Toronto Maple Leafs at one point during their careers. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons the club hasn’t won the Stanley Cup or even made it to the finals since the 1966-67 campaign. Also, just because a few of the players may be on this list due to their lack of speed, that doesn’t necessarily make them a bad skater, just a slow one.
15 Phil Esposito
14 Dave Andreychuk
13 Tiger Williams
12 Paul Gardner
Like Phil Esposito, fellow centre Paul Gardner was another slow skater who didn’t suffer from his lack of speed. Gardner suited up with the Colorado Rockies, Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres during his NHL career from 1976 to 1986. His specialty was hanging around in front of the net while deflecting pucks and shoveling in rebounds at a steady rate.
11 Jack Valiquette
It always looked like Jack Valiquette struggled while skating for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Rockies during his career between 1974 and 1981. The Maple Leafs drafted him 13th overall back in 1974 as he scored 135 points in his last year of junior even though he had a well-deserved reputation as being a poor and slow skater. Valiquette carved out a decent, but short career though despite his lack of speed.
10 Nik Antropov
The Toronto Maple Leafs drafted lanky centre Nikolai Antropov of Kazakhstan with the 10th overall pick back in 1998. He was 6-foot-6 and weighed 240 pounds and his size made him hard to knock off the puck. Antropov carved out a pretty good NHL career even though his skating was his weakness. He also played with the New York Rangers, Atlanta Thrashers and Winnipeg Jets during his NHL career up until 2013. The 35-year-old spent the last two seasons in Russia’s KHL.
9 Terry O’Reilly
Admittedly, Terry O’Reilly concedes he was a bad skater and said there’s no way he could have played in the NHL in today’s era. However, he did fine for himself between 1972 and 1985 when he played his entire career with the Big Bad Bruins. Boston drafted the right-winger with the 14th overall pick in 1971 and he quickly became a favourite with his teammates, coaches and fans alike.
8 George Parros
George Parros may be best known for his great moustache and resemblance to a 1970s adult film star. However, the former enforcer made it all the way to the NHL despite his poor skating ability. Let’s face it, Parros didn’t really need to know how to skate since his main objective on the ice was to pound his opponents with his fists and body. He did his job with the Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks, Florida Panthers and Montreal Canadiens between 2005 and 2014.
7 Peter Worrell
6 Hal Gill
Slow skating Hal Gill was known as a steady and dependable defenseman from 1997 to 2014, but that’s mainly because he didn’t have the mobility to get out of his own blue line too often. Gill was another large player as he weighed in at over 240 pounds and stood at 6-foot-7. Gill was good enough to play in 1,108 regular-season games before retiring and chipped in with 36 goals and 148 assists. However, had had just six assists in 111 postseason outings.
5 Georges Laraque
4 Guillaume Latendresse
Guillaume Latendresse took a lot of flak from the fans and opposing players due to his weak skating during his NHL career from 2006 to 2013. He suited up for the Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota Wild and Ottawa Senators during that stretch and managed to post a decent 87 goals and 60 assists for 147 points in 341 regular season fixtures.
3 Brad Marsh
Former defenseman Brad Marsh could fly around the rink when he was named one of the game’s three stars. However, he had a hard time skating during the actual contests. Still, Marsh was another dependable defenseman who relied on hard work to make it to the NHL and stay there. He played from 1978 to 1993 with the Atlanta and Calgary Flames, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators.
2 Jason Allison
Jason Allison may very well go down as the slowest player in NHL history. That’s a debatable point, but he’s certainly one of the slowest ever to hit the ice in the world’s best hockey league. Allison often looked like he was skating in quicksand, but was also quite a productive player even though his skating style made it look like he wasn’t trying. In addition, he did have injuries to deal with during his career from 1994 to 2006.
1 Joe DiPenta
Defenceman Joe ‘Crazy Legs’ DiPenta had a reputation of being a bad skater and had a hard time staying upright. Therefore, his NHL career was hampered quite a bit by it. DiPenta was drafted in the third round in the 1998 Entry Draft by the Florida Panthers but never played a game with the club. In fact, he didn’t make his NHL debut until four years after being drafted (with the Thrashers) and it was seven years before he became a regular with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. DiPenta’s NHL career came to an end after the 2007-08 season and he left the league with six goals and 17 assists in just 174 regular-season games.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!