Every NHL franchise in existence has their greats. Fans of every team have their players from the past that they idolize and hope that the current crop of players can grow and develop into someone like them. The Chicago Blackhawks are no exception to this rule.
While the left-wing and the right-wing positions may be the least important of any position on the ice, they are by no means unimportant. A sound group of wingers that is both talented and responsible can be a huge bonus to a team’s quality. Look no further than Chicago’s three Stanley Cup winning teams in recent history. All of them were extremely deep down the wings with a great mix of offensive skill and defensive prowess.
But there’s only eight winger spots open on Chicago’s all-time great team. So without further ado, here are the four players who made the cut to represent Blackhawks of all ages down the left side. Stay tuned for the right wingers very soon.
1st Line: Bobby Hull
Just as it was an easy choice to have Stan Mikita centering Chicago’s all-time first line, it’s an equally easy choice to have Hull by his side. Though Hull was far from being an upstanding human being, there is absolutely no questioning his ability as a hockey player.
Hull was an extraordinarily decorated player throughout his years in the NHL. He took home three Art Ross Trophies in 1960, 1962, and 1966. He was twice named as the league MVP and awarded with the Hart Trophy, in 1965 and 1966. He was named as the left wing on the NHL’s First All-Star Team an astonishing 10 times throughout his brilliant career. He was a supreme hockey player in the truest sense of the word.
It’s an easy call to have him on the first line, and the man who scored 604 goals, 549 assists and 1,153 points in a Blackhawks uniform is absolutely deserving.
2nd Line: Doug Bentley
Having Hull on the first line was by far the least difficult choice to make for this list. While Chicago has had an embarrassment of riches at the center and right wing positions, that’s not quite as true on the left side. There are an abundance of solid choices who just barely didn’t make the cut, but I’m going to go way back in the annals of history here and go with Bentley for perhaps my most off-the-board choice on the roster.
Bentley played in 546 regular season games with Chicago from 1939 to 1952. In those 546 games, he amassed 217 goals, 314 assists and 531 points. Due to the fact that he played in the formative years of the NHL, it’s a bit more difficult to determine just how good Bentley truly was, but based upon what we know, he was very good.
Bentley led the NHL in goals twice and in points once. For comparison’s sake, his two goal-scoring titles match the number won by New York Islanders legend Mike Bossy, though to be fair, Bossy was up against much more competition. Bentley was also named to the league’s First All-Star Team three times throughout his career.
3rd Line: Patrick Sharp
Sharp was dealt to the Dallas Stars this offseason due to the Blackhawks’ latest salary cap crunch, but the impact he had in the Second City won’t be soon forgotten. Sharp was a three-time Stanley Cup champion with the team, and he was a key cog in the machine all three times, even if his role in the most recent run was somewhat diminished.
Sharp skated in 679 regular season games with the Blackhawks, putting up 239 goals, 272 assists and 511 points. That point total is good enough to place him fourth in history among Blackhawks’ left wingers. Sharp may never have been one of the most spectacular players in the league throughout his time with the Blackhawks, but he certainly was among the most consistent. In five consecutive seasons from 2007 to 2012, he never scored fewer than 25 goals.
Sharpie was never the franchise player, but he was a guy who always came to the rink and did his job, and it just so happens that the job was to be among the NHL’s best secondary scorers on a year-in, year-out basis. He did just that, and in my book that’s good enough for him to be included on this roster.
4th Line: Al Secord
Secord rounds out this portion of the roster and will join Jonathan Toews on this hypothetical team’s outstanding fourth line. Secord played in 466 regular season games with the Blackhawks from 1980 to 1990 and put up 213 goals and 159 assists for 372 points.
Secord was a prolific goal scorer with a sandpaper-esque edge to his game. He had three NHL seasons in which he topped the 40-goal mark and compiled at least 140 penalty minutes. He wasn’t a huge player at 6 foot 1 and 205 pounds, but the opposition always knew when Secord was on the ice. If they didn’t, he was bound to make his presence known in a hurry.
He’s a nice fit for this imaginary fourth line. With both players in their primes, a line featuring Toews and Secord would be an absolute nightmare to play against. They would score by the boatloads, make sure you didn’t, and never let you having an easy time carrying the puck around.
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That wraps things up for the left wingers. My opinions are just that, so if you’d like to make a case for Eric Daze, Dennis Hull, Steve Sullivan or any other Blackhawks left winger in franchise history, be sure to do so.
As always, thanks for reading and stay tuned in the very near future for the rest of this series.