1.Bobby Orr, the most complete skater
2.Scott Niedermayer, the second most complete skater
3.Paul Coffey, the best glider
4.Reijo Ruotsalainen, probably one of the 3 best gliders with Coffey and Niedermayer
5.Sergei Fedorov, doesn't have the breakaway speed of Pavel Bure but his overall skating abilities are unbelievable
I didn't notice it at first, but there are 4 defensemen on my list and 1 center who also played defense.
And just a note, there is a defenseman in the Québec Midget AAA Hockey League, Marc-Antoine Carrier from the Lévis Commandeurs who will be a high draft pick in the 2008 Q Draft and who is the best skater in terms of gliding and lateral agility and mobility i've seen since Niedermayer.
I'm going to argue Brian Trottier. Trottier was not the fastest, nor did he have Joe Sakic-like acceleration. But, what he did have was incredible agility and balance. He could take a hit full speed, and not even loose a step or get knocked off balance.
In terms of agility, two other awesome skaters were Brian Leetch (who could skate sideways faster than most players go forward) and Marcel Dionne.
If I'm not mistaken... Carr holds the record for fastest goal from the start of a playoff game. It was something like 6 seconds and he did with the Kings. I've seen the clip a long time ago and it was basically him splitting the d and scoring right off the draw.
Actually I think the guy you are thinking of was Don Kozak. But when I originally read this topic I immediately thought of Gene Carr as the fastest skater ever. It even says on the back of his hockey card in the early 70's that he is thought of as the NHL's fastest skater. As for anyone else since, the only one's that have made me get up out of my seat and say " what the hell was that?". Pavel Bure many times and a couple of rushes by Brett Hedican.
Extremely homerish but Andrew Cogliano is by far the fastest player I've seen live. I wasn't able to catch Bure live but I can't see him being any faster than this guy. He's got a few steps on Lombardi and Chimera...just insane.