Possibly one of the most difficult challenges for a Red Wings' Fan is to compile a list of the greatest players in Franchise history, there are so many of them.
But here, for your viewing pleasure, I give it my best shot.
For this list, only the players' days with the Wings will be counted, meaning players such as Paul Coffey and Brad Park will not be included.
No.1: Gordie Howe. I was debating on whether to put Steve Yzerman here, but in the end, I couldn't make the argument of him over Mr. Hockey himself. He is not only the best player in franchise history, but the third best player of all-time. No one matched his combination of scoring, durability and toughness. While with the Wings, he won six Hart trophies and six Art Ross trophies. 25 of his 26 years in the NHL were spent with the Detroit Red Wings.
Career stats as a Wing: GP 1,638 G 786 A 1,023 P 1,809
No.2: Steve Yzerman. Since being drafted in 1983, Steve Yzerman has been the heart and soul of the franchise. He changed his entire game to become one of the best defensive players in the game.
Although defensive-minded, he managed to score many goals. This ultimately allowed him to lead the Wings to three Cups in his career. He is the longest serving captain in NHL history. He was named captain at the age of 21 and held it until his retirement at the age of 41. He has won the Lester B. Pearson award, Conn Smythe trophy, Bill Masterton trophy and the Frank J. Selke award.
Career stats as a Wing: GP 1514 G 692 A 1063 P 1755
No.3: Nicklas Lidstrom. Lidstrom became the first European captain to win the Cup this year, making it the fourth time he has held the Stanley Cup over his head. He is not very noticeable on the ice, but his six Norris Trophies make him the best defenseman in franchise history.
He shuts down the best players in the league game in and game out while consistently putting up 60-70 points a year. His Norris trophy win this year made it his sixth in seven years. His cannon of a shot from the point makes him one of the most lethal point men in the NHL. Lidstrom also won the Conn Smythe in 2002.
Career stats as a Wing: GP 1252 G 212 A 726 P 938
No.4: Terry Sawchuk. Arguably the best goaltender in NHL history, he won the Calder Trophy, three Vezinas and three Cups while playing for the Wings. He also racked up 85 shutouts. He died in an off-ice scuffle with a New York Rangers teammate.
Career stats as a Wing: W-L-T 352-244-130, 85 Shutouts
No.5: Red Kelly. One of the most exciting defenders of his day, Kelly was the premier puck rusher before Bobby Orr came into the NHL. He has won more Cups than any player who never played on the Montreal Canadiens.
Career stats as a Wing: GP 846 G 162 A 310 P 472
No.6: Ted Lindsay. Lindsay was very small, 5-8 and 163 pounds, but he was the most aggressive player of his era. He was known as "Scarface", a tribute to the stitches that held his features together. He was the highest scoring left winger in NHL history when he retired.
Career stats as a Wing: GP 862 G 335 A 393 P 728
No.7: Alex Delvecchio. Alex "Fats" Delvecchio spent more than two decades with the Wings. As one of the classiest players to play the game, he won three Lady Byng trophies. Delcecchio was also one of three players to be selected a first team all-star at two different positions (Center and Left Wing). He was the captain from 1962 to his retirement.
Career stats as a Wing: GP 1550 G 456 A 825 P 1281
No.8: Sergei Fedorov. One of the best two way players to play the game, Fedorov played 13 seasons in Detroit. With the Wings, he won three Cups and prestigious awards as the Franke J. Selke trophy (twice), Lester B. Pearson trophy and the Hart trophy. He was one of the fastest players during his prime and he could stick handle through any defenseman that got in his way.
Career stats as a Wing: GP 908 G 400 A 554 P 954
No. 9: Marcel Pronovost. He won four Cups in the 1950's and made four all-star teams during his tenure with the Wings. He had a penchant for dazzling the fans with his rushes up ice and bone crunching body checks.
Career stats as a Wing: GP 983 G 80 A 217 P 297
No.10: Brendan Shanahan. Brendan Shanahan proved to be the final piece of the puzzle for the Wings when they traded for him in 1997. With him, they won three Cups. His toughness and knack for scoring the big goal shone through in his time with the Red Wings.
Career stats as a Wing: GP 856 G 309 A 324 P 633
Honorable Mentions: Larry Aurie, Sid Abel, Chris Osgood, Jack Stewart, Harry Lumley.
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