There’s always that one player in the NHL you hear about and cringe at. A player whose on-ice activities have resulted in suspensions, bad reputations, and arrests. Sometimes a single act is so heinous that it can haunt the player for the rest of their career. Multiple actions of absolute and utter contempt for other players are sometimes involved.
If I tell you to think of the dirtiest NHL player, who comes into your mind? Nikita Kucherov, Drew Doughty, or Alexander Ovechkin? But wait, there’s more, so here are the top 10 dirtiest NHL players today.
10. Erik Cernak of the Tampa Bay Lightning
He’s previously served a two-game ban for elbowing Rasmus Dahlin, causing the first-overall pick to suffer a concussion, but he’s also notorious for late hits that some say are suspension-worthy. He’s known to be a very physical player and he’s someone to look out for in the near future of the NHL.
9. Corey Perry of the Tampa Bay Lightning
Another Lightning player strikes in the top 10, Perry is known for upsetting opponents by running his mouth, making late and low hits, and having an uncanny ability to sell penalties. Although Perry has his bad moments, he’s had some good ones as well. He’s still had a lot of success in his previous years with the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars which is why he ranks at number nine.
8. Antoine Roussel of the Arizona Coyotes
In revenge for a solid hit, Antoine Roussel threw a hard cross-check to Adam McQuaid’s neck late in the 2014-15 season. The risky action gave him a two-game suspension. Roussel has avoided bans in recent years, but he still has the reputation of being a rough player. He was fined in 2020-21 for hitting Jesse Puljujarvi, even though the Edmonton Oilers forward refused to fight. Roussel improved his game a little while back when he signed with the Vancouver Canucks but as of now, he’s still someone to look out for.
7. Brendan Lemieux of the Los Angeles Kings
Brendan Lemieux returned to the ice on December 12, 2021, after serving a five-game suspension for biting Brady Tkachuk’s hand last month. I mean, when was the last time you heard a player bite their opponent’s hand. It’s completely unethical. Following the event, Tkachuk called Lemieux NHL’s least-liked player. As of now, he has 14 penalties, and last season he ended with 38. Lemieux has been suspended for two games in the NHL for an illegal check and enjoys being in the penalty box.
6. Radko Gudas of the Florida Panthers
Gudas is a player who has changed over the years, but he still made it on the list. Gudas has a reputation for being a player who is always on the verge of breaking the rules. He’s been punished many times for contentious hits, and he’s committed a slew of others that have drawn the NHL’s wrath for which he was fined. But recently, he hasn’t earned a suspension since 2019. But his actions are still inexcusable, and people never forget dirty plays like his.
5. Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames
Tkachuk has served three suspensions and has a reputation for being a dirty player. Although he has improved in recent years, he still doesn’t know when to quit. For example, he was involved in an incident that injured Toronto Maple Leafs starting goaltender Jack Cambell early in the 2020-21 season.
4. Nazem Kadri of the Colorado Avalanche
We cannot ignore the fact that Kadri is ruthless. He’s not afraid to go after an opponent and land a filthy hit or knee. Because of his dirty plays, he’s resulted in a regular stream of penalty minutes and suspensions. Kadri is a highly gifted forward, but it doesn’t matter if he can’t control how he plays on the ice. He is frequently on the wrong side of a tough, physical game, and because of that, he will continue to be the way he is until he can get it under control.
3. Ryan Reaves of the New York Rangers
Former right-winger for the Vegas Golden Nights, Ryan Reaves, is known best for his time in the penalty box. And many fans in the NHL despise him and the way he is on the ice. He’s made head hits, and just plain nasty plays that have put many players on the ice at grave risk. An example of his bad reputation would be when he dangerously hit former Minnesota Wild defenseman, Ryan Suter. He was left face down on the ice as a result of the hit, which was later replied to by Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves, who ended up taking a clump of hair out of his head. Reaves is not a team player, it seems as if his only purpose is to injure his opponents.
2. Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins
Brad Marchand, also known as the “rat”, is number two on the list. Marchand is one of those players with a big mouth who doesn’t know when to zip it. It doesn’t end there, his plays on ice can be out of the ordinary, not to mention his mean hits. Even Bruins fans tend to dislike Marchand and his cold plays. Recently he hasn’t been trending for anything wrong, but of course, he’ll always be one of the dirtiest players in the league.
1. Tom Wilson of the Washington Capitals
I’m pretty sure you knew Wilson was going to be number one. There should be no explanation as to why he is the number one dirtiest player in the NHL today. Even if you’re a Capitals fan, you must know this guy is heartless on the ice. He’s shattered jaws and forced opponents to sit out with concussions throughout the years, earning him many suspensions. The divisive repeat offender has made a name for himself with a contentious playing style that has included aiming for opponents’ heads and delivering late hits. He consistently seems to put himself in questionable positions. It’s clear that Wilson’s actions will most likely never change on ice.
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