Expanding the game of hockey has been a high priority of the NHL for many years and everyone knows the only way to do this is to have recognizable household name stars With the emergence of Crosby and Ovechkin it appeared the NHL was headed in the right direction and gaining more popularity than ever.
But now with Crosby's career seemingly coming to an end and Ovechkin falling off the face of the Earth, the NHL is struggling to find the new faces to put to the NHL name. Here is my list of stars the NHL should be marketing on a massive scale.
- Claude Giroux You don't have to be a Flyers fan to love this guy, if you love hockey you'll enjoy his game. Not only does Roo have some sick skills with passing and shooting the puck, he also plays with an edge and is not afraid to stick up for himself.
- Jarome Iginla This guy has been putting up solid numbers for years, he's tough as nails and is a true leader for his team. Playing in a smaller market like Calgary has probably hurt his popularity from not being exposed to the non hockey followers.
- Steven Stamkos All summer all you heard was this guy's name, every team including the Flyers wishing they could acquire this guy. Having another solid season he's proving to be the real deal. Again like Iginla playing in a smaller market I believe is hurting his popularity.
- Patrick Kane By now you know the Blackhawks have a large fanbase, Kane has the Stanley Cup, All star appearances, TV commercials under his belt. Although his name was tarnished a little by the cab driver scandal, I think Kane would be a very recognizable face for most.
- Zdeno Chara Now when you first see his name your like WTF, but Chara is a very recognizable player that everyone loves to hate. Think of him like the "heel" of the NHL. Not only is the biggest guy in NHL history but he brought the cup back to Boston. As much as everyone hates him they would love to have him on there team unless your the Islanders.
Now I left out some obvious players and mostly because there either not very likable or marketable. Take Malkin for example, right now he might be the best hockey player in the world, but outside of Pittsbugh who really likes this guy? Not to mention his face will scare most children with nightmares.
So as the NHL looks to move forward, it's time to put more time and effort into marketing the marketable players and move on with Crosby.