It's one thing to rank the best players in the history of the NHL. But that's almost too easy. Instead, we've decided to go letter by letter through the alphabet, then rank the best players based on the first letter of their last name.
Today, we hit the letter "D" and remind you that there is no generational bias around these parts.
Here's how it works: I've gone through the history of the NHL and plucked the players I believe to be the best with "D" last names. But this isn't my decision completely. Each of these lists over the next five weeks will have a poll attached to it.
Look at the list and vote on the player you think is the best below, and (kindly) let us know in the comments if you disagree with our top five. The five players are listed in alphabetical order.
The entire series
Over the course of the 25 letters of the alphabet we're going to cover here (no "X" players anywhere that I can find in NHL history), we're going to learn a lot about some great players of the past.
What stands out about Vincent Damphousee? Nothing. And that isn't a bad thing at all.
Damphousse played 18 years in the NHL, primarily with Toronto and Montreal. Despite playing in those hockey meccas, Damphousse was never a big-time star in the league. He made four All-Star teams, but never won a major individual award. Over 13 seasons in Canadian markets (five in Toronto, one in Edmonton, seven in Montreal), Damphousse played 993 games, scoring 340 goals and 916 points. He was part of Montreal's 1993 Stanley Cup team, scoring 11 goals and 23 points in 20 playoff games that year.
He was never a superstar, necessarily. But Damphousse had a very good career with more than 1,200 points.
Is it possible that Pavel Datsyuk is underrated?
Look at what he's done in the NHL: 12 years, 824 games, and Datsyuk is not only nearly a point-per-game for his career, but he's also one of the best two-way forwards you'll find anywhere in the sport.
Datsyuk has 272 goals and 804 points in his career, he's scored 39 goals in the playoffs, and he won the Selke Trophy (best defensive forward) three times. Frankly, he probably should have won it more than three times.
In addition, Datsyuk is a four-time Lady Byng winner and a two-time Stanley Cup champion.
It's the opinion of many that the Detroit franchise is falling off a little, but there's no doubt Datsyuk is one of the best around.
Alex Delvecchio keeps good company. He, Niklas Lidstrom, and Steve Yzerman are the only players in NHL history to play more than 1,500 NHL games while spending their entire careers with one team. They all played their careers in Detroit with the Red Wings.
Delvecchio came from a far different era than Lidstrom and Yzerman. While the latter two could have left multiple times in free agency had they chosen to, Delvecchio played before such things were ever really thought of. It still doesn't make his achievements less impressive. He played all or part of 24 seasons with the Red Wings from 1950-74, logging 1,549 games. He scored 456 goals in his career, totaling 1,281 points.
Delvecchio was a model of consistency in Detroit, with 13 seasons of 20 goals or more, and he hit double figures in goals every year except 1950-51 (one game played) and 1973-74 (11 games). He played in 13 All-Star Games, was captain for a dozen years, and won three Stanley Cups.
Unheard of nowadays, but the Red Wings weren't very good when Dionne started his NHL career. He actually played with Delvecchio, but the team simply struggled, and Dionne got sick and tired of the losing. He forced his way out of Detroit and ended up with the Los Angeles Kings.
It was there that Dionne helped make the Kings franchise relevant before Wayne Gretzky arrived and really made it relevant.
While the Kings never achieved the success Dionne dreamed of, he became one of the best players in the league during his time there. Dionne scored 50 or more goals six times over a seven-year stretch, including five years in a row. He scored 731 goals in his career, finishing with 1,771 points.
Brother Gilbert won the Cup with the Canadiens in 1993, and that was as close as Marcel Dionne would ever get to it.
Just imagine the numbers Ken Dryden would have posted if he played through the prime of his career.
One of the most dominant goalies of his -- or any -- era, Dryden accomplished what he did in the NHL while only playing seven seasons. He won 65 percent of his nearly 400 NHL games, an incredible number (258-57-74). He added an 80-32 record in the playoffs, winning six Stanley Cups.
Dryden won the Calder Trophy in 1972 and won or shared the Vezina Trophy five times.
He retired at the age of 31.
Oh, and he was behind the mic for this.
Dryden wasn't a great commentator (though he was right to talk about Team USA's over-reliance on Jim Craig during the above game against the Soviets), but a legendary player, no matter how short his career ended up being.