Stanley Cup rings are a testament to the ability of an entire team and coaching staff to achieve a season-long goal. The Conn Smythe Trophy and Hart Memorial Trophy are awarded for outstanding seasons by individual players. Hall of Fame inductions are recognitions of players’ contributions to the sport of hockey.
But one of the few acknowledgements of what a player means to a franchise over the course of his career comes not in the form of hardware, but as a simple cloth banner in the rafters of the team’s home arena. In NHL history, franchises have retired only 103 numbers, making this club more exclusive than any in the hockey world.
Some franchises, like Nicklas Lidstrom's Detroit Red Wings, are certainly already planning ceremonies to honor their heroes next season. Others may take years, even decades, before deeming a player worthy of permanent enshrinement so exclusive.
Some players on this list are in the early stages of their careers, garnering recognition more for their potential than their true accomplishments.
Others are old-time hockey legends, long overdue for the honor.
These are the next numbers to be retired by each NHL franchise.