Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

Ranking Retired Numbers

02/03/2022 at 8:53am EST

from Sean McIndoe of Tha Athletic,

Today, we’re going to rank all 32 NHL teams based on their retired numbers. But this isn’t just a list of which teams have honored the best players, because that would be too easy. No, we want to look at the whole picture. Who’s been honored? Who hasn’t? Has the team been weird about who they choose and when? Do they just retire numbers like a normal team, or do they insist on complicating things with some weird team-specific rules that nobody likes? And most importantly of all: Given what they have to work with, are they getting it right?

26. Detroit Red Wings

Numbers retired: Terry Sawchuk’s 1, Red Kelly’s 4, Nicklas Lidstrom’s 5, Ted Lindsay’s 7, Gordie Howe’s 9, Alex Delvecchio’s 10, Sid Abel’s 12, Steve Yzerman’s 19

This is probably a lot lower than you expected to see the Red Wings, but I’m going to use this as a chance to get on my soapbox about something that bugs me. The Wings are one of the teams that only retires the numbers of players who are in the HHOF, and that’s dumb. We already have an honor for players who’ve been inducted into the Hall of Fame — it’s called being inducted into the Hall of Fame. You’re allowed to use your retired numbers to widen the scope a bit when it comes to recognizing the guys who’ve been important to your franchise.

For example, I don’t think Chris Osgood is HHOF-worthy. But should he have his number retired in Detroit, where he won three Stanley Cups? Of course. So should Vladimir Konstantinov, whose number is listed as honored but not retired. Loosen up, Detroit.

Mix in the very weird case of Larry Aurie, whose No. 6 was the first in franchise history to be retired, then was unretired, then was re-retired, and then for some reason was unretired again yet still remains out of circulation, and it’s kind of a mess in Detroit. And don’t even get me started on Sergei Fedorov.

31 more ($$$) teams

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977. No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y. Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation. There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature. Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that.

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