Ranking the Detroit Red Wings' 5 Best Highlight-Makers in the Last Decade

Isaac SmithAnalyst IAugust 18, 2014

Ranking the Detroit Red Wings' 5 Best Highlight-Makers in the Last Decade

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    LON HORWEDEL/Associated Press

    Detroit Red Wings fans are privileged to watch a human highlight reel on any given night with some of the players that have played in Hockeytown over the better part of the last quarter century.

    But over the last decade, through the addition of high-definition TV, these highlights become even more surreal than they were previously.

    Here are the top five Detroit Red Wings players who were also their own "highlight reel machines" over the past decade.


    Note: These rankings will be determined on YouTube views for any given Red Wings player, as well as overall game impact from the given highlight.

    All statistics via NHL.com.

5. Nicklas Lidstrom

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    The funny thing about Nicklas Lidstrom is that he did everything so well that he didn't really have "highlights" because one couldn't really tell where he did something better than something else.

    His top YouTube video (cheesy music included) has just 121,000 views, but Lidstrom had some truly memorable moments that extend far outside of that video.

    For instance, fans might remember Lidstrom's goals from center ice in the playoffs, as seen above. Both goals turned out to be game-winners.

    The first goal against the Vancouver Canucks in 2002 got the Wings back in the first-round series as they were down 2-0 at the time. The second goal was the series winner against the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of the first round in 2008.

    While Lidstrom only sits fifth on this list, it is because he literally did everything so well, and it is not for his lack of "highlights." It is also due to his YouTube views for his highest-viewed highlight reel. 

4. Henrik Zetterberg

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    While Henrik Zetterberg may not as be as flashy of a player as Pavel Datsyuk, he knows how to get things done at both ends of the rink, and he comes through in the clutch when Detroit needs him most.

    As for views, the top YouTube video of Zetterberg—pictured abovehas just 240,000 views on it. But that doesn't mean that Zetterberg doesn't come up with offensive highlights. The Wings captain is pretty quiet normally, but out of nowhere, he seems to come up with timely goals for his team.

    Zetterberg has a way of getting the puck to the net. He is averaging almost 3.5 shots per game over his 759-game regular-season career. While just 10.6 percent of those have found the back of the net, his ability to score on a fairly regular basis leaves no shortage of highlights.

    Despite the Wings captain being only fourth on this list, Red Wings fans know he is the life and soul of this team right now.

3. Niklas Kronwall

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    Niklas Kronwall is on this list for one reason. He throws vicious, massive body checks.

    Kronwall doesn't discriminate either: short, tall, first-line forward or fourth-line, "Joe Six Pack," he hits everyone. But the reason Kronwall slots in the No. 3 spot on this list is two-fold. 

    His YouTube views on the highest-ranking video, listed above, are almost up to a million at 963,000. To go along with that, Kronwall hits hard, and it is his unique, open-ice style of contact that creates the most buzz in the crowd.

    Although his hits have seen him thrown out of some games, Kronwall usually keeps his hits clean, and he doesn't press the issue after hitting the player.

    Kronwall would rank higher in this slideshow, due to YouTube views, but a Swedish and a Russian superstar had something to say about that.

2. Johan Franzen

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    The great thing about Johan Franzen is that while he may play his way out of games occasionally, when he does show up, the opposing players and coaches have a huge problem on their hands.

    Franzen gets involved in games by either scoring goals or irritating the other team during or after the whistle. The above video, with almost 1.16 million views on YouTube, is an example of the latter.

    If the YouTube views on the video of him removing Patrick Kane's mouthguard aren't enough, Franzen's hat tricks and four- and five-goal games are enough to push him past other players on this list.

    While The Mule might not show up as often as fans, fellow players or coaches would like, Franzen definitely does have a highlight package to boot, as he simply loves scoring goals.

1. Pavel Datsyuk

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    When looking at Datsyuk and his 608,500 views on the top-viewed YouTube video, one cannot help but notice his stick-handling prowess. 

    Despite his YouTube videos not being as prominent as Kronwall or Franzen, Datsyuk is consistently dominant at both ends of the ice. He is, in essence, a human highlight reel.

    This dominance in handling the puck is on full display in the shootout, as seen above, but Datsyuk's stick-handling also gets him out of tight squeezes at the expense of other players.

    Simply typing in "Datsyuk dangles" or "Datsyuk highlights" into YouTube produces a plethora of unbelievable plays that he has amassed in his 12 seasons in Detroit.

    Giving him the No. 1 spot over Kronwall and Franzen, despite the fact that he has less YouTube views, makes sense and seems fitting, due to his ability to completely take over a game with his "Datsyukian dekes" and amazing hustle defense.

    But Datsyuk is more than dekes. The guy just makes things happen, turning "nothing" plays into instant offense and is more than deserving of the top spot on this list.