John Scott (middle) is one of the most fearsome fighters in the league. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
Hockey has no official boxing-style breakdown, but if it did these iron-fist forces would be heads of their classesIn most sports that involve fighting, the fighters are broken down into weight classes. It helps provide some semblance of balance and a measure of safety, if you can call it that. Though the NHL has no official breakdown of fighters into weight classes, we took our time to make it happen. And not only are the fighters separated by weight class, they're also ranked by who the toughest brawlers are in each category.
SUPER HEAVYWEIGHT (235 lbs. and up) 1. JOHN SCOTT While Brian McGrattan is more feared, the Flames tough guy isn’t really fighting this season, so his reign is on a bit of a hiatus. Of course, maybe a late November tilt with Scott’s Sharks will change that. Scott is a survivor of the 2014 Enforcer Roster Massacre and, just to rub salt in the wounds of the anti-fighting crowd, the 6-foot-8, 260-pound behemoth even scored a goal in his first game of the season…used his stick on the play and everything.2. BRIAN MCGRATTAN, CGY 3. ZDENO CHARA, BOS 4. MILAN LUCIC, BOS 5. ANTHONY PELUSO, WPG HEAVYWEIGHT (225-234) 1. TOM SESTITO A classic tough guy who was also the most prolific scrapper of 2013-14, Sestito would throw down anywhere at any time – particularly on the road. While many of his favorite dance partners are now struggling to find work in the NHL, Sestito has hung on with the Canucks, though just barely. A frequent healthy scratch early on, the big man was also felled by a leg injury in early November. But he did record an assist in his season debut, against Edmonton. 2. RYANE CLOWE, NJ 3. JARRED TINORDI, MTL 4. CHRIS STEWART, BUF 5. PATRICK MAROON, ANA MIDDLEWEIGHT (211-224) 1. RYAN REAVES The son of a football player, Reaves has an enormous upper body more fitting for a linebacker than the running back position his dad played. The burly right winger doesn’t play much for the Blues on a nightly basis, but he makes his impact felt when he’s out there: Reaves leads the team in hits by a wide margin despite getting the least amount of ice time. And when it comes to fighting, the Winnipeg native has some serious stopping power with his punches. 2. JARED BOLL, CLB 3. TIM JACKMAN, ANA 4. KYLE CLIFFORD, LA 5. ERIK GUDBRANSON, FLA CRUISERWEIGHT (200-210) 1. TOM WILSON Wilson, who made a big splash as a teenager last season, had his sophomore campaign delayed slightly by an off-season injury. But he got back on the horse pretty quickly once he was healthy. Frighteningly strong for his age (20), Wilson is very game when it comes to dropping the gloves and brings a lot of punching power to the table. And on a skilled Washington Capitals team, the Toronto native has proven to be an offensive threat, too. 2. CODY MCLEOD, COL 3. MIKE BROWN, SJ 4. B.J. CROMBEEN, ARI 5. DANIEL CARCILLO, CHI LIGHTWEIGHT (199 and below) 1. BRANDON PRUST Since 2012, Prust has acted as a policeman for the Habs, often taking on the NHL’s toughest guys and punching well above his weight due to a lack of overall toughness in Montreal (the George Parros experiment didn’t work). It’s amazing to think the left winger is only six-foot, 195 pounds, but he gets the job done while also killing penalties. Last year’s slate of tilts included goons Cam Janssen, Zenon Konopka and Shawn Thornton. 2. KEVIN BIEKSA, VAN 3. JORDIN TOOTOO, NJ 4. WAYNE SIMMONDS, PHI 5. ZAC RINALDO, PHI This feature appeared in the Dec. 8 edition of The Hockey News magazine. Get in-depth features like this one, and much more, by subscribing now.