Ryan O'Reilly is among the rare NHL visorless players
(Photo Credit: @PredsNHL/ Twitter)

In the modern era of the NHL, visorless players have become a rarity.

Once a symbol of toughness and grit, the league has seen a shift towards player safety, and as a result, the number of visorless players has dwindled. So, which NHL players don’t wear a visor?

In this article, we’ll take a look at all the remaining NHL visorless players in 2023-24, including a pair of Benn brothers and NHL fan favorite Ryan Reaves.

Ryan O’Reilly, Nashville Predators

Ryan O'Reilly is among the rare NHL visorless players

Ryan O’Reilly, a center for the Nashville Predators, is a rare combination of skill and grit. Known for his strong two-way game and faceoff prowess, O’Reilly has managed to excel on the ice while remaining one of the few visorless players in the NHL. His calm demeanor and focus on the game make him a force to be reckoned with, despite his decision to forgo the added protection of a visor.

O’Reilly continues to be a key contributor for the Predators in the 2023-24 season. Through 73 games, he has recorded 25 goals and 36 assists for 61 points, maintaining a plus-minus rating of +10. His faceoff win percentage remains among the league’s best, and his leadership on and off the ice has been invaluable to the Predators’ success. O’Reilly’s consistent play as a visorless player has been a bright spot, despite the team’s subpar 5-on-5 performance and average power play.

Zach Bogosian, Minnesota Wild

Zach Bogosian has made a career as a stay-at-home defenseman, known for his physical play and shot-blocking abilities. A member of the Minnesota Lightning, Bogosian has continued the tradition of visorless defensemen, showcasing a hard-nosed approach to the game that is increasingly rare in today’s NHL.

Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars

Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars is among the NHL visorless players

The Dallas Stars’ captain, Jamie Benn, is another example of a visorless player who excels in multiple aspects of the game. Benn’s blend of skill, physicality, and leadership has made him one of the league’s premier power forwards. As the face of the Stars’ franchise, Benn’s decision to play without a visor is both a symbol of toughness and a testament to his old-school mentality.

In the 2023-24 season, Jamie Benn continues to be a key contributor for the Stars. Through 74 games, he has recorded 18 goals and 36 assists for 54 points, with a plus-minus rating of +3. Benn’s physical presence and leadership have been crucial to Dallas’ success, as he consistently delivers big hits and timely goals. Despite playing without a visor, Benn remains one of the most feared power forwards in the league, showcasing his skill and toughness on a nightly basis.

Matt Martin, New York Islanders

Matt Martin, a winger for the New York Islanders, is best known for his role as an enforcer. With a reputation for big hits and dropping the gloves, Martin’s visorless appearance aligns with the traditional image of a tough guy in the NHL. His commitment to protecting his teammates and providing energy on the ice has made him a fan favorite among Islanders faithful.

Milan Lucic, Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic is an NHL player currently not wearing a visor

Milan Lucic, a member of the Boston Bruins, has built a reputation as one of the most intimidating power forwards in the league. Never shying away from physical play or dropping the gloves, Lucic’s decision to forgo a visor only adds to his fearsome presence on the ice.

However, Lucic’s 2023-24 season has been marred by off-ice issues. In November 2023, Lucic was arrested on charges of assault and battery following a domestic incident. He has since taken an indefinite leave of absence from the Bruins and entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.

Jordie Benn, Toronto Maple Leafs

Jordie Benn, older brother of Jamie Benn, has carved out a career as a reliable defenseman in the NHL. While not as offensively gifted as his younger sibling, Jordie’s steady defensive play and willingness to block shots have made him a valuable asset on the blueline. As another visorless player, Jordie’s appearance harkens back to an earlier era of hockey, with his gritty style of play embodying the traditional defenseman’s role.

Ryan Reaves, Toronto Maple Leafs

Ryan Reaves doesn't wear a visor

Perhaps the most iconic visorless player in the league today, Ryan Reaves of the Toronto Maple Leafs has earned a reputation as one of the NHL’s toughest enforcers. With a penchant for delivering crushing hits and demolishing opponents in fights, Reaves’ visorless appearance is a fitting tribute to the old-school tough guys who came before him. As the league continues to prioritize player safety, Reaves stands as a reminder of the toughness and grit that have always been a part of the sport.

Reaves continues to bring physicality and toughness to the Maple Leafs’ lineup in the 2023-24 season. Through 73 games, he has recorded five goals and 10 assists for 15 points, along with 43 penalty minutes. His intimidating presence on the ice has been a valuable asset for the Maple Leafs, as he consistently delivers big hits and protects his teammates. Despite his limited ice time, averaging 9:19 per game, Reaves remains a fan favorite and a symbol of old-school hockey in an era of increased player safety.

Recently Retired: Zack Kassian (Arizona Coyotes)

Verdict on NHL Visorless Players

As the NHL moves towards increased player safety, visorless players like Ryan O’Reilly, Zach Bogosian, Jamie Benn, Matt Martin, Milan Lucic, Jordie Benn, and Ryan Reaves represent a dying breed.

While the league has undoubtedly changed, these players serve as a reminder of the toughness and intensity that have always been an integral part of the game.

As the number of visorless players dwindles, the legacy of these gritty competitors will live on in the hearts and minds of hockey fans everywhere.