It's All a Numbers Game: The Best Players All Time for Every Number, Part 1

Jack PorterCorrespondent IOctober 20, 2008

Ever wondered who was the best player ever to dawn the number 58 or 37 well your about to find out as we count down the best players ever to where numbers 1 - 99.

1 Terry Sawchuk - Detriot Red Wings 

Sawchuk played 21 seasons in the NHL for the Red Wings, Bruins, Maple Leafs, Kings and Rangers. He holds two NHL records for most shutouts (103) and most career ties (172). Terry won the Calder Memorial trophy as top rookie in 1951 and won four Stanley cups and four Vezina trophies between 1952 - 1967.

2 Eddie Shore - Boston Bruins

One of the meanst and best defensemen of all time Shore played 550 games in the NHL, 540 with the Boston Bruins and 10 with the New York Americans. Eddie accumulated 284 points and 1047 PIM. Shore won 2 Stanley Cups and 4 Hart Memorial trophies

3 Pierre Pilote - Chicago Blackhawks

Pilote played 890 games in the National Hockey League. He scored 80 goals and 418 assists for 498 points in 13 seasons with the Chicago Black Hawks and one season with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Pilote won the Norris trophy 3 times and was an all-star from 1960-1967. Pierre played best when partnered with Elmer 'Moose' Vasko on the Blackhawks back end. Together they made one of the great all time defence pairings. Also Pilote didn't start organized hockey until he was 17.

4 Bobby Orr - Boston Bruins

Of course number 4 goes to Bobby Orr. Bobby hold records such as most points in one NHL season by a defenseman (139), most assists in one NHL season by a defenseman (102), highest plus/minus in one NHL season (+124) and he is tied for most assists in one NHL game by a defenseman (6). Bobby is the only defenseman ever to lead the NHL in scoring and he did it twice. Orr's career numbers are 915 points and + 597 over 657 games. 

He won almost every award, Stanley Cup (2), Calder Memorial, James Norris (8), Art Ross (2), Hart Memorial (3), Conn Symthe (2), Lester B. Pearson, Canada Cup MVP, Lester Patrick Trophy, 9 time all-star, Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year 1970 and the Lou Marsh award as Canadian Athlete of the Year 1970.

5 Denis Potvin - New York Islanders

Denis won 4 Stanley Cups as an Islander during the 1980 dynasty. He is a Hall of Famer who won the Norris Trophy 3 times and ranked number 19 on the Hockey News's top 100 greatest players. He was a first overall draft pick and won the Calder in his rookie season. he has 1052 career points in 1060 games played in the NHL. He is also the reason for the "Potvin Sucks!" chant at New York Ranger home games.

6 Toe Blake - Montréal Canadians

Toe won 11 Stanley Cups in his career as a player and coach. Also he scored 527 points in 577 career games. Toe is a Lady Byng and Hart Trophy winner.

7 Phil Esposito - Boston Bruins

Phil was the first NHL player to score 100 points in a season with 126 in the 1969 season. His Boston fans printed bumper stickers during his best years that said "Jesus saves, Espo scores on the rebound." Phil was an outstanding scorer recording 1590 points in 1282 games. Espo won the Art Ross, Hart Memorial and Stanley Cup all multiple times.

8 Cam Neely - Boston Bruins

Neely was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks as the ninth overall pick in the 1983 entry draft. Only Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Brett Hull scored a better goals per game average than Neely did, but unfortunately due to bad knees blamed to be caused by a cheap shot delivered by Ulf Samuelsson Cam could only play around 49 games a season. Cam has 694 points in 726 games.

9 Gordie Howe / Maurice Richard - Detriot Red Wings / Montréal Canadians

A choice could not be made between two of the greatest players of all time so number 9 goes to both " Mr. Hockey" and "The Rocket Richard". Howe with his durability and leadership as well as his 1850 points in 1787 games.

Richard the first to achieve the feat of 50 goals in 50 games originally wore the jersey number 15 but changed it to 9 in honour of his first child Huguette, who weighed nine pounds at birth. The Rocket scored 965 points in 978 games.

Maurice's death in 2000, saw 115,000 people gather at Montréal's Molson Center to pay respect to number 9  . The Montréal Expos of the MLB wore Richard's number 9, in black, on their sleeves for the 2000 season.

10 Guy Lafleur - Montréal Canadians

In an NHL career spanning 17 seasons and five Stanley Cup championships Guy recorded 1353 points. Lafleur is the all-time leading scorer in Canadiens history, notching 1246 points in his 14 years with the Habs. He led the NHL in scoring in 1976, 1977, and 1978. Lafleur is one of only three players to have returned to the NHL after being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.


Look out for the second installment of "It's All a Numbers Game: The Best Players All Time for Every Number" coming soon. I'll be taking a look at numbers 11-20.

Who will be number 11's greatest player? Check the poll for the voters say.


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