When the curtain closes on 2009, it will also mark the end of the first decade of the 21st century. Despite a season being lost to the lockout, the NHL witnessed some stellar seasons put forth by stars old and new.
Mario Lemieux and Steve Yzerman played the last games of their brilliant careers, while Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin played their first.
Who was the best NHL player of the decade? After some in-depth research, 'That's Hockey' has put together a list of eight candidates. Read their credentials below and vote for your choice in the poll. The results will be revealed on 'That's Hockey' in the New Year.
No goaltender had more wins or more shutouts during the decade than Brodeur, who also won four Vezina Trophies as top goaltender, and won two Stanley Cups with the Devils. As the ten-year window came to a close, Brodeur broke the all-time record with his 104th shutout. His statistics are so dominant that he is the only goaltender to warrant consideration as the decades top player.
The Kid has only played half a decade, but he already has three 100-point seasons and is averaging 1.35 points per game, tops in the era. Crosby also has one Art Ross Trophy, a Hart Trophy, a Lester B. Pearson Award and a Stanley Cup championship.
No player has scored more goals in the last ten years than Iginla. He also has two Rocket Richard Trophies, one Art Ross and one Pearson. He was a two-time runner up for the Hart Trophy as MVP. He was named to the first all-star team three times.
A model of consistency, Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenceman six times during the decade, and was the runner-up twice. He also won two Stanley Cups with Detroit and was a first team all-star seven times. He lead the decade in plus-minus, and was the top scoring defenceman
After winning three Stanley Cups with New Jersey, Niedermayer moved to Anaheim and won a fourth. He claimed the Norris in 2004 and won the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP in 2007. He was named to the NHL's first all-star team three times.
He's the only two-time Hart winner of the decade. Ovechkin has also won two Rocket Richard Trophies, two Pearson Awards, one Art Ross Trophy and the Calder Trophy as top rookie, all in just 4 and a half seasons. There were only 16 50-goal seasons in the decade, and Ovechkin accounted for three of them.
He's just about done it all with one Stanley Cup win, a Hart Trophy, one Pearson Award, and even a Lady Byng. He also led the league in plus-minus in 2000-01. Only Patrick Elias has scored more playoff points in the last ten years than Sakic, who was a first-team all-star three times.
No player has more assists, or has scored more points in the decade than Thornton. He's also landed one Art Ross Trophy as top scorer and a Hart Trophy as league MVP.
Who is your pick for the NHL's player of the decade? Make your selection in the poll and talk about it using the Your Call feature below!