The Top 5 Fighters in the NHL

They're tough. They're fan favorites. They don't usually score goals but can change the momentum of a game with their bare hands.

Without further ado, I present to you the top 5 fighters in the NHL today:

5. TOR – Colton Orr (6’3”, 222 lbs)

After racking up 104 penalty minutes in only 44 games this year, Orr has now record 100+ PIM’s in five consecutive seasons. Even for an enforcer, that’s impressive consistency and durability. While Orr has certainly been on the wrong side of numerous fights, he’s also doled out his fair share of punishment. Orr has a knack for tying up his opponents early and being able to fire an endless fury of right hooks, just like the one that broke former Penguins tough guy Andre Roy’s orbital bone. Here’s a clip of his fight with Ottawa Senators defenseman Matt Carkner:

4. CHI – John Scott (6’8”, 258 lbs)

This is one big, bad man. Scott has one of the longest reaches in the entire NHL, which forces players to get close to him and try and close off the distance between them. Of course, getting in tight on Scott is certainly a lot easier than it sounds—just ask veteran bruiser George Parros. After splitting his time the last two seasons with the Minnesota Wild and their AHL affiliate, the Alberta-native is finally getting a chance to make a name for himself with the Chicago Blackhawks. Viewer discretion is advised for this video of Scott bloodying the L.A. King’s Kevin Westgarth:

3. NYR – Derek Boogaard (6’7”, 265 lbs)

With 16 points and 589 PIM’s in 277 career NHL games, it’s fair to say the “Boogie Man” didn’t earn his nickname by scaring teams with his offensive skill set. Boogaard, a longtime member of the Wild and now enforcer for the New York Rangers, is hands down one of the most terrifying players in the entire league. Although he’s suited up for just 22 games with the Broadway blueshirts this season, Boogaard has made his presence known with seven fighting majors including this scrap with Philadelphia’s Jody Shelley. Boogaard’s best attribute is his patience—nearly all of his knockouts have come after he let his opponent swing wildly and tire themselves out, creating an opening the Boogie Man’s gargantuan fists to connect. Here’s a prime example of Boogard’s patience and power from a few years back:

2. PIT – Deryk Engelland (6’2”, 202 lbs)

After spending the early years of his career in the WHL and ECHL, Engelland has finally earned a permanent spot on the Penguins’ blue line this season. A sixth-round pick of the New Jersey Devils back in 2000, Engelland is quickly becoming one of the league’s most feared fighters. Even at 202 pounds, Engelland is widely considered a heavyweight contender thanks to his remarkable strength. Every punch he throws has KO power—something Phoenix’s Taylor Pyatt found out the hard way. More impressive was this fight with my #5 fighter Colton Orr where Engelland showed off his ability to eat punches before landing his signature haymaker:

1. STL – Cam Janssen (6’0”, 215 lbs)

While Janssen might not have as many highlight-reel knockouts as the other members of this list, you will not find a tougher customer than #55 for the Blues. Janssen has hands down the toughest chin in the NHL and simply will not quit on a fight. It’s not usually pretty—“Bam Bam” is more of a brawler than most his more classic-style boxing colleagues—but make no mistake, he gets the job done. Through his 74 career NHL fights, Janssen has proven that superior conditioning allows him to extend scraps and take advantage of exhausted opponents late in fights. Futhermore, Janssen isn’t afraid of anyone—even 6’8”, 258 pound John Scott who he willingly dropped the gloves with this past November. Here’s Janssen’s epic three-minute battle with New Jersey’s Pierre-Luc Leblond that won fight of the year honors last season:

Disagree with any of my choices? Missing one of your favorites? Let me know what you think in the comments section!

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4 Comments

Daniel_W's picture

Colton Orr #1 for sure Laughing out loud

Glen Miller's picture

Boogaard when healthy is #1. Engelland is one tough SOB for a smaller guy though. Janssen, that surprised me. Parros or Gillies could have been considered too along with the kid from Florida; the one who played for Edmonton. Can't remember his name. Mac....something?

George Prax's picture

Boogaard's a dying breed of fighter. Who does he have left to fight now that the pure goons are being phased out?

And I nominate Tom Kostopoulos. Too bad.

Adam Pardes's picture

I was in between Orr and Parros for the final spot but opted to go with Orr. Boogaard is an animal but like Prax said, his time is quickly fading in the NHL. Engelland meanwhile, is absolutely becoming one of the most terrifying fighters in the league. I believe Glen is talking about MacIntyre, who I got a nomination for on Twitter too. Actually haven't heard too much about that kid.

Thanks for the comments folks!