17 2011–12 Nhl Season Best Players of All Time

Brandon McNally

Updated on:

The 2011–12 NHL season was an exciting year for hockey fans. The Los Angeles Kings made their second ever Stanley Cup Final appearance and emerged as champions for the first time in franchise history. Throughout the season, the competition was fierce with teams competing for a spot in the playoffs.

The season was also marked by the introduction of several new rules and regulations, as well as the emergence of new stars and teams. It was an unforgettable season for the NHL and its fans.

Table of Contents

1. Brad Richards


Brad Richards Career

  • Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Dallas Stars
  • New York Rangers
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • AK Bars Kazan
  • National team: Canada
  • NHL Draft: 64th overall, 1998
  • Tampa Bay Lightning

Richards was born on May 2, 1980 in Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island. He played his minor hockey with the Charlottetown Islanders of the Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL).

Richards made his professional debut in 2000-01 with the Worcester Sharks of the American Hockey League (AHL). In 2003-04 he signed as a free agent with Chicago and spent six seasons there before being traded to Tampa Bay midway through the 2010-11 season.

Richards has won two Stanley Cups with Chicago and one Cup each with Tampa Bay and New York Rangers . 

He is a four time All Star, including three times as an alternate captain and once as captain of Team Canada at the World Championships . Brad Richards was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1998.

Richards played for the Lightning, Dallas Stars, New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings over his playing career. 

He won a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004 and was named to an All-Star team twice (2005, 2007). In 2016 he retired from professional hockey after 16 seasons in the NHL.

Also Played For: 2012–13 nhl season, tampa bay lightning

2. Ryan Callahan

Right winger

Ryan Callahan Career

  • 2000–01: Syracuse Jr. Crunch
  • 2000–01: Syracuse Jr. Crunch
  • 2001–02: Syracuse Jr. Crunch
  • 2001–02: Buffalo Lightning
  • 2002–03: Guelph Storm
  • 2003–04: Guelph Storm
  • 2004–05: Guelph Storm
  • 2005–06: Guelph Storm
  • 2006–07: Hartford Wolf Pack
  • 2006–07: New York Rangers

Ryan Callahan is an American professional ice hockey player who currently plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League (NHL). 

He was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the first round, 18th overall, of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

After playing with Boston and Florida during his early career, he signed a three-year contract worth $10 million with Tampa Bay on July 1st, 2012. 

Injuries limited him to just 54 games over two seasons with Tampa Bay however he has since bounced back in 2016–17 scoring 30 goals and adding 47 assists for 77 points en route to being named runner up for the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as league's most valuable player.

Ryan Callahan was born March 21 1985 in Rochester New York United States Ryan Callahan was drafted by the New York Rangers in the 2004 NHL Draft. He played for the Tampa Bay Lightning and then, in 2019, he signed with the Vegas Golden Knights. 

He has won a Stanley Cup with both teams and is now retired from professional hockey. Ryan Callahan is known for his strong play on the right wing and his scoring abilities.

Also Played For: new york rangers

3. Marián Hossa

Right winger

Marián Hossa Career

  • Dukla Trenčín
  • Ottawa Senators
  • Mora IK
  • Atlanta Thrashers
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • National team: Slovakia
  • NHL Draft: 12th overall, 1997
  • Ottawa Senators

Marián Hossa is a Hall of Fame-bound right wing who has spent his entire NHL career with the Chicago Blackhawks. 

He was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the first round (27th overall) of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, but never played for them because he chose to play for HC Kladno in his native Czech Republic instead.

The Blackhawks acquired him midway through the 2005–06 season and he went on to score over 600 goals and 1,000 points in Chicago's black & gold jersey, winning two Stanley Cups along the way (2009, 2010). 

Injuries have been a somewhat common occurrence throughout Hossa's lengthy career; however, even when sidelined he has always contributed significantly both offensively and defensively for Chicago - making him one of their most respected players ever.

On 10 May 2020 it was announced that Marián Hossa had been elected into Hockey Hall of Fame as an inaugural member alongside former teammate Patrick Kane.

Also Played For: ottawa senators, 2014–15 nhl season

4. Mike Richards


Mike Richards Career

  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Los Angeles Kings
  • Washington Capitals
  • National team: Canada
  • NHL Draft: 24th overall, 2003
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Olympic Winter Games: 2010 Vancouver
  • World Junior Championships:
  • 2005 United States
  • 2004 Finland

Richards was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round, #22 overall, in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Richards had a breakout season with the Flyers in 2007-08, scoring 36 goals and 83 points.

He helped lead Philly to their first ever Stanley Cup Final appearance that year. Richards signed with Los Angeles Kings as a free agent prior to the 2010-11 season and played two seasons there before being traded to Washington at the 2016 trade deadline.

In his time with Washington, Richards has been one of their most reliable players both on and off the ice, posting 74 points (27G/49A) in 82 games over two seasons with them. 

Richards is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason and will likely receive interest from several teams once he becomes available on July 1st.

Also Played For: philadelphia flyers

5. Scott Hartnell

Left wing

Scott Hartnell Career

  • Nashville Predators
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Columbus Blue Jackets
  • National team: Canada
  • NHL Draft: 6th overall, 2000

Scott Hartnell is a left wing who has played for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators. He was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

Hartnell made his NHL debut with Columbus in 2003 and spent most of his time there until he was traded to Philadelphia in 2007. In 2008, Hartnell signed with Ottawa as a free agent and spent four seasons there before being traded to Colorado in 2013.

After playing one season with Colorado, Hartnell returned to Ottawa where he retired after the 2016–17 season. Scott Hartnell has won two Stanley Cup rings – with Columbus in 2004 and Philadelphia in 2012 – as well as an Olympic gold medal (with Canada) at hockey's highest level." 

Hartnell started out playing minor hockey for Regina Pats Midget AAA team followed by major midget AAA team Lloydminster Bobcats then joined Prince Albert Raiders WHL squad from 1996-1998 scoring 120 points (51g-69a) over three seasons.

Selected 209th overall by Columbus in 2002 NHL draft,he would spend 4 years mostly on their farm systems before making it up to play 82 games for them during 2006-2007 posting 16 goals & 36 assists and earning rookie of year honors.

While leading AHL’s Springfield Falcons both regular season & playoffs scoring 39 goals 111 pts 136 penalty minutes also winning Calder cup championship that same year. 

Signed w/ PHI prior to 07-08 campaign posting 21 goals 43 assists 69 points 102 PIM 76 GP appearing vs NYR Rangers 08 Stanley Cup Finals losing 6 games 1 OT “Scott had some great chemistry early on against.

New York which lead into him being mentioned amongst possible candidates when questions were raised about Jeff Carter trade potential going into the postseason. 

Hartnell scored 9 game winner s including game 7 OT winner vs Boston Bruins March 15 2010 helping propel Flyers past defending champions 2OT setting up Vinny Lecavalier goal giving Philly its first professional sports title since 1976.

Led all playoff scorers w/ 13 pts 3rd among forwards behind only Richards (16pts) & Kovalchuk (15 pts). Played the entire 06-07 postseason and missed 03 duet t back surgery however led.

Falcon's league-leading offense averaging nearly 2 GPG every other contest (.929 Sv%) becoming just 3rd player ever stat CWHL career highs totals 75GP 17G 46A 61 PTS allowing 34 shots per 80.

Also Played For: nashville predators

6. Jeff Carter


Jeff Carter Career

  • NHL team: Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Former teams: Philadelphia Flyers
  • Columbus Blue Jackets
  • National team: Canada
  • NHL Draft: 11th overall, 2003
  • Philadelphia Flyers

Jeff Carter is a Canadian professional ice hockey player who currently plays for the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League (NHL). Carter was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the first round, 18th overall, at the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.

He played three seasons with Boston before being traded to LA along with prospect Matt Frattin in exchange for defenseman Robyn Regehr and draft picks on July 4, 2006. In his nine-year career with LA, he has scored 387 goals and 733 points in 1,077 games played.

He led all players in scoring during both of LA's Stanley Cup Playoff runs from 2012–13 to 2014–15 and helped lead them to their first championship win against Chicago Blackhawks in six games during the 2015 playoffs. 

On January 6th 2019 Jeff Carter announced his retirement from professional hockey after 17 years playing professionally including 10 seasons as captain of The Los Angeles Kings.

Also Played For: los angeles kings, pittsburgh penguins

7. Jiří Hudler


Jiří Hudler Career

  • HC Vsetín
  • Havířov Panthers
  • Ak Bars Kazan
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • Dynamo Moscow
  • Lev Praha
  • HC Oceláři Třinec
  • Calgary Flames
  • Florida Panthers
  • Dallas Stars
  • National team : Czech Republic
  • NHL Draft: 58th overall, 2002
  • Detroit Red Wings

Hudler is a right wing who was drafted by the Calgary Flames in 2003. Hudler has played for HC Vsetín, Havířov Panthers and the Calgary Flames. Hudler was named to the Czech Republic's World Championship team in 2004 and 2006 as well as their Olympic team in 2010.

Hudler captain of HC Vsetín from 2007-2010 before being traded to the Florida Panthers in 2011 where he spent four seasons before joining the Calgary Flames in 2013. 

In 2009, Hudler won his first Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks and scored two goals during their championship run that year including an overtime game-winner against Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson which led to one of sports' most famous memes "The Pass." 

After spending three years with Calgary, Hudler signed with Vancouver Canucks on July 1st, 2017 but only played six games before returning to Europe later that season signing a one year contract with Russian club Avangard Omsk.

Also Played For: calgary flames

8. Erik Cole

Erik Cole Career

  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • Edmonton Oilers
  • Montreal Canadiens
  • Dallas Stars
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • National team: United States
  • NHL Draft: 71st overall, 1998
  • Carolina Hurricanes

Erik Cole was selected by the Dallas Stars in the third round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. He played his first season with the Stars in 1999-2000, recording 22 goals and 42 assists for 64 points in 82 games.

In 2001-2002, he had a breakout season scoring 33 goals and 73 assists for 106 points. He continued to be one of Dallas' top players through 2006-2007 when he tallied 51 goals and 117 assists for 162 points in 214 games over that span.

After spending two seasons with Montreal (2008–2010), Cole signed with Edmonton as a free agent on July 1, 2011. Erik Cole scored his 500th career point on February 27, 2013 against Los Angeles Kings at American Airlines Center. 

It was also his 3rd hat trick of the season which raised his goal total to 507 during Edmonton's 5 game-winning streak from Feb 2nd to 11th including victories against San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Minnesota Wild & St Louis Blues.

His 4 game assist streak from Jan 30 – Feb 6 added 14 helpers bringing him totals 41/48/65=1 Point per Game during this stretch raising eyebrows across hockey circles and prompting further analysis as some speculated that.

The Iceman" might have returned after sitting out 7 months due to suspension handed down by Hockey Canada stemming from an incident between then teammate Jordan Eberle and Calgary Flames player Jarome Iginla where both received suspensions.

However HC stated it was purely coincidental they were both unavailable at same time [Edmonton Journal] Erik Cole is currently playing professional ice hockey with HC Sochi of Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).

Also Played For: carolina hurricanes

9. Marián Gáborík

Marián Gáborík Career

  • National team: Slovakia
  • NHL Draft: 3rd overall, 2000
  • Minnesota Wild

Gaborik played for HC Trenčín of the Slovak Extraliga from 2000-2001 and then spent 4 years with HC Slovan Bratislava. He was signed by the Rangers on 17 July 2007, agreeing to a 5 year contract worth $21 million.

Gaborik recorded his first career hat trick in a 7-3 victory over Philadelphia on 25 November 2007. 

On 1 February 2011 he scored two goals against Vancouver in a 3-1 win and was named the game's First Star; this marked only the second time that an Eastern Conference player had been honoured with this award (the other being Jaromír Jágr).

On 11 January 2014, Gaborik announced his retirement from professional hockey after 18 seasons in North America that included 12 seasons with the Rangers organization, scoring 265 goals and 219 assists for 499 points in 485 games.

In September 2018, he joined Sportovní Klub Baník Ostrava as head coach of their junior team.

Also Played For: minnesota wild

10. Jason Pominville

Right winger

Jason Pominville Career

  • National team: United States
  • NHL Draft:55th overall, 2001
  • Buffalo Sabres

Jason Pominville is a 40-year-old Canadian professional ice hockey player who plays for the Buffalo Sabres. 

Jason Pominville was drafted by the Minnesota Wild in the first round (24th overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft and he has also played with the Nashville Predators, Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, Winnipeg Jets and New York Islanders.

In 2013, Jason Pominville won a silver medal with Team Canada at the World Championships in Sweden. Accomplishments aside, Jason Pominville is known for his tenacious play on both offense and defense.

He has been nominated for an NHL award seven times including being named to the Second All-Star Team twice (2007–08 & 2008–09). 

Married to Julie Landry since July 2010; they have two daughters together - Ella Grace (born May 1, 2012) and Isabella Rose (born January 16, 2016).

11. James Neal

Left wing

James Neal Career

  • NHL team: Free Agent
  • Former teams: Dallas Stars
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Nashville Predators
  • Edmonton Oilers
  • St. Louis Blues
  • National team: Canada
  • NHL Draft: 33rd overall, 2005
  • Dallas Stars

James Neal is a former NHL winger who has spent most of his career playing for the Nashville Predators. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the 2006 NHL Draft and made his debut with them in 2007.

Injuries have been a common theme in Neal's career, but he has twice won Gold Medals with Canada at World Championships (2010, 2014). 

After leaving Nashville as an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2018-19 season, James signed with Springfield Thunderbirds of AHL where he will join forces once again with head coach Peter Laviolette.

James Neal is a forward for the Dallas Stars of the NHL. He has played for Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators before joining the Stars in 2007. 

James Neal was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins with 33rd overall pick in 2005 NHL Entry Draft, but he never lived up to his full potential there and was traded to Nashville Predators in 2011.

In 2013, James Neal led all playoff scorers with 17 goals as Nashville reached their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance since 2006. However, they were defeated by Boston Bruins in 4 games series. 

After failing to reach another finals appearance with Nashville, James Neal signed a three-year deal worth $18 million with Vegas Golden Knights ahead of 2018-19 season where he quickly became one of their key players and helped them win the inaugural Pacific Division title that year as well as reaching playoffs twice more afterwards (2018 & 2020).

At 34 years old, James Neal is still playing at an elite level and could be set for another championship run if he joins Calgary Flames or Edmonton Oilers next season respectively.

Also Played For: vegas golden knights

12. Radim Vrbata

Right winger

Radim Vrbata Career

  • National team: Czech Republic
  • NHL Draft: 212th overall, 1999
  • Colorado Avalanche

Radim Vrbata was born on June 13, 1981 in Mladá Boleslav, Czechoslovakia. He is 6'1" tall and weighs 190 pounds. Vrbata played for the Colorado Avalanche before he was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes in 2014.

Vrabta has a right shot and plays as a right winger on ice hockey teams. Radim Vrbata was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in 1999. He played for the Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Arizona Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks before retiring in 2018.

Radim Vrbata is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and 2009 and also won a silver medal with Canada at the 2002 Winter Olympics. 

He has scored over 1,000 goals and 900 assists during his playing career which makes him one of the most successful Czech players ever to play in North America.

In 2017 he became an ambassador for PEP Arena Prague, home of HC Bílí Tygři Liberec, his former team.

Also Played For: arizona coyotes

13. Brandon Prust

Brandon Prust Career

  • Calgary Flames
  • Phoenix Coyotes
  • New York Rangers
  • Montreal Canadiens
  • Vancouver Canucks
  • Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers
  • NHL Draft: 70th overall, 2004
  • Calgary Flames

Brandon Prust is a left wing who has played for the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks. He was drafted by the Canadiens in the 2nd round, 50th overall, in 2002.

Brandon Prust has scored over 100 points three times – most recently with 116 points in 2013-14 with the Canucks. In addition to his on-ice achievements, Brandon Prust also works as an ambassador for several charities including Kids Help Phone and Make A Wish Canada.

Brandon Prust married actress Emily VanCamp in May 2017 after dating since 2012 He was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 70th overall pick of the 2004 NHL Draft. 

He played for five different teams during his playing career, including the Phoenix Coyotes, New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks and Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers.

Prust retired from professional hockey after playing with the Vancouver Canucks in 2017-2018 season.

Also Played For: london knights

14. Dustin Brown

Right winger

Dustin Brown Career

  • National team: United States
  • NHL Draft: 13th overall, 2003
  • Los Angeles Kings

Dustin Brown was born and raised in Ithaca, New York. Brown played his college hockey at the University of Maine. Brown made his professional hockey debut with the Los Angeles Kings in 2003.

Brown has played for the Kings, Boston Bruins, and San Jose Sharks. Brown was traded to the Sharks in February of 2016. Brown is a two-time Stanley Cup champion, with the Kings in 2012 and the Sharks in 2016.

Brown has also been awarded the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the NHL's best defenseman in 2012 and 2016. Brown is a member of the United States men's national ice hockey team. Brown is married and has two children.

Dustin Brown played for the Los Angeles Kings for 13 seasons, before moving to the Zurich Lions in Switzerland in 2020. Brown was drafted by the Kings in the 2003 NHL Draft, and played for them until he retired in 2022.

Brown is a two-time Stanley Cup champion, having won with the Kings in 2012 and again in 2014. Brown is a prolific goal scorer, with 639 points in 805 games played. Brown is one of the most respected players in the NHL, and is a role model for younger players.

Brown is married to Canadian actress Sarah Chalke, and they have two children. Brown is a popular guest speaker at hockey clinics, and is often seen working with young players in the community. 

Brown is a highly respected member of the NHL community, and is often consulted by league officials. Brown is a member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

15. Michael Ryder

Boston Bruins

Michael Ryder Career

  • Montreal Canadiens
  • Boston Bruins
  • Dallas Stars
  • New Jersey Devils
  • NHL Draft: 216th overall, 1998
  • Montreal Canadiens

Ryder is a veteran of the NHL who has played for the New Jersey Devils and Nashville Predators. Ryder was a key player for the Devils in their run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2003.

Ryder has also had success with the Predators, appearing in the playoffs nine times and winning the Stanley Cup in 2006. Ryder has been a consistent scorer throughout his career, averaging over 20 goals per season.

Ryder has had several health issues in recent years, including a heart attack in 2013 and a concussion in 2015. Ryder is considered a leader on and off the ice and is a mentor to younger players in the NHL. Ryder is currently an assistant coach with the Devils.

Ryder is a Canadian citizen and has expressed interest in playing for his country at the Olympics. Ryder is married and has two children.

16. Daniel Girardi

New York Rangers

Daniel Girardi Career

  • New York Rangers
  • Tampa Bay Lightning
  • NHL Draft: Undrafted

Daniel Girardi is a professional ice hockey defenseman who currently plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

Girardi was drafted by the New York Rangers in the second round of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

He has represented Canada at the Olympic Games (2004, 2006, 2010), World Championships (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2017), and World Cup of Hockey (2009). Girardi has played in the Stanley Cup Finals twice, once with the Rangers and once with the Lightning.

In 2018, Girardi became a father for the first time. His son was born in April of that year. Girardi is a two-time Olympian and a three-time World Champion. 

He is also a two-time Norris Trophy winner (2009, 2013) and a two-time Vezina Trophy winner (2009, 2013). Girardi is a two-time recipient of the William M.

Jennings Trophy (2009, 2013). In 2018, Girardi was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

17. Willie Mitchell

Vancouver Canucks

Willie Mitchell Career

  • National team: Canada
  • NHL Draft: 199th overall, 1996
  • New Jersey Devils

Mitchell was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the second round of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. He played for the Devils, Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars before retiring in 2013.

Mitchell was a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Devils in 2003 and 2006. Mitchell was a member of the Canadian national team and won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games.

Mitchell was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018. Mitchell is the father of hockey player Brady Mitchell. Mitchell is a motivational speaker and has spoken about mental health issues in the sport.

Mitchell is a philanthropist and has raised money for various charities. Mitchell is an ambassador for the NHLPA and participates in various social media platforms to promote the game of hockey. Willie Mitchell was drafted 199th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1996 NHL Draft.

Mitchell played his entire playing career with the New Jersey Devils. He was a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Devils, in 2003 and 2004. 

Mitchell also won a gold medal with Canada at the World Championships in 2004. In his career, Mitchell recorded 299 points (111 goals, 198 assists).

Mitchell retired from professional hockey in 2016. Willie Mitchell is currently an assistant coach with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.

Final Words

The 2011–12 NHL season was an exciting year for hockey fans. The Los Angeles Kings made their second consecutive Stanley Cup Final appearance, and the Montreal Canadiens won their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup.

Photo of author

Brandon McNally

I have been playing hockey my whole life. I am currently a professional hockey player with the Calgary Flames. I am also a part time coach at the University of Calgary and the head coach of the Calgary Northstars Minor Hockey Association. I have always wanted to be an NHL player and I am very excited to be one! My hobbies are playing hockey, coaching, and spending time with my family. LinkedIn

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