Marian Hossa’s Long Road to Success

Last Thursday, Marian Hossa scored his 1,000th career point against his old team up in Ottawa, in what ended up being a 5-4 win for the Blackhawks. Hossa became the 80th player to join the club and the first to do so since Ray Whitney accomplished the feat in March 2012. Hossa isn’t exactly tearing it up this season, but that seems to be the case with most of the Hawks during this anemic stretch to begin the season. Let’s take a look back on how the Hoss got to this point in his career.


Marian Hossa: From Slovakia to Ottawa

In the 1997 NHL Draft, the Ottawa Senators used the 12th pick in the draft to select Marian Hossa. If he fell down in the draft, the Blackhawks could have taken him with the next pick instead of Daniel Cleary, but who knows if Hossa would be here today.

Hossa played for the Portland Winter Hawks in what could have been his rookie season, but the Senators didn’t need to wait long after that for him to make a difference in the NHL. He finished second in the Calder Trophy voting in the 1998-99 season and was on his way to becoming a goal scoring machine. With 32 goals and 75 points in 2000-01, Hossa had his first of six consecutive 30 goal seasons. Two years later, Hossa set a Senators record by scoring 45 goals, but that would soon be broken by the man he was later traded for, Dany Heatley (#50in07).

Hockey Down South

MArian Hossa hockey player
Hossa had some of his most productive seasons as a Thrasher.

After Hossa’s contract expired with the Sens, he became a part of a sign-and-trade deal with the Atlanta Thrashers for the up-and-coming Heatley, who needed a change in scenery. Hossa went from a balanced team in Ottawa to a top-heavy Thrashers group headlined by Ilya Kovalchuk. Hossa, Kovalchuk, and Marc Savard would all go on to score 90+ points in Hossa’s first season in Atlanta, and they would miss the playoffs by only two points. The following season, Hossa reached the 100 point mark for the first and only time in his career, leading the Thrashers to their first playoff berth. However, despite home-ice advantage, the Thrashers were swept by the New York Rangers and Hossa only had one assist. The Senators would go on to the Stanley Cup Finals, led by their top line of Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson, and Jason Spezza. Despite losing to the Ducks, the Senators didn’t seem to miss Hossa too much.

Coincidence, Bad Luck, or Both?

Hossa at the wrong end of his second straight Stanley Cup Finals.(wstera/Flickr)
Hossa at the wrong end of his second straight Stanley Cup Finals.(wstera/Flickr)

The 2006-07 season would be Hossa’s last full season with the Thrashers. On next season’s trade deadline, he was shipped to Pittsburgh where he could compete for a Stanley Cup. Despite a great playoff performance (12-14-26), the Penguins fell to the Detroit Red Wings in six games.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

The Hoss would sign a one-year deal with Detroit the following offseason and score 40 goals for the Wings during the regular season, helping them to the second seed in the Western Conference. As fate would have it, the Wings and Penguins would have a rematch for the Stanley Cup, but unfortunately for Hossa, he would be on the losing side yet again. His production in the playoffs fall down to 6-9-15, ironically tying Daniel Cleary for the fifth most points on the team. Hossa was beginning to look like a bad luck charm, but that didn’t scare the Blackhawks away.

A Dozen Years in Chicago

The Blackhawks were not worried in the least bit about Hossa’s bad voodoo and decided to lock him up for good by signing him to a 12-year, $62.8 million deal. With young stars in Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, Hossa would add a veteran presence up front, becoming the oldest winger and second oldest forward on the team. Despite missing 25 games with a shoulder injury, Hossa would fit in with the team just fine and would finally get to hoist the cup for the first time in his career.

Hossa finally lifted the Stanley Cup in his third finals.  (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Hossa finally lifted the Stanley Cup in his third finals. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

While Hossa isn’t pushing 100 points each year, he has been very productive in the traditional sense as well as the analytical sense. Hossa’s 281 points in 327 career games in Chicago averages out to around 70 points in an 82 game season, which isn’t bad at all in today’s NHL. However, he continues to earn praise for his two-way game. Since the 2009-10 season, Hossa ranks 10th in 5-5 Corsi among players with at least 300 games played and 5th among wingers. The past two seasons, Hossa has earned his best finishes in the Selke voting for the league’s best defensive forward, coming in 10th and 5th place, respectively.

While Hossa’s five points this year aren’t impressing too many, he remains a vital part of the Blackhawks organization. Whether he ends up with 70 points this season, or 40 points, Hossa’s presence in all situations will help make Chicago a contender yet again.