Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Last Teams to Retire One

Since it's the dog days of summer and the announcement of Rod Brind'Amour's number 17 being retired by the Carolina Hurricanes, it made me get into The Hockey News' "Greatest Jersey of All Time" issue and look at the teams who don't have any numbers retired. Since all the teams have been in the league for 10 seasons, it's about time to look at who could be hanging from the rafters of the eight teams who don't have numbers retired.

ANAHEIM DUCKS: While the obvious guys like Paul Kariya, Teemu Selanne, and J-S Giguere will be seeing their numbers hanging from the Honda Center when their careers are done; the candidate now will probably be Guy Hebert, who was the first "face" of the organization. He may not have had the best stats, he was the guy who backstopped those expansion years and held down the fort for the most part.

ATLANTA THRASHERS: The odd part about the Thrashers is that all the big names are nowhere close to retirement and kind of left on shaky terms (read: Dany Heatley and Ilya Kovalchuk), so it's hard to figure out who could be next. While Dan Snyder's number was not officially retired, just taken out of circulation; maybe Ray Ferraro could be considered since he was one of the first bigger name players to start off the Thrashers' appeal. If not, Slava Kozlov may not be too far off from retiring and could be the first to have his number officially put up there.

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS: There's no question that David Vyborny should be the first guy have his number retired. Vyborny was on the original Blue Jackets roster and stayed there until he was done his NHL career and went home to his homeland in the Czech Republic. As it is right now, he's at the top of the Blue Jackets' all-time points, albeit they've only been around for ten seasons....still. If there's one guy who deserves to be there, it's the OG of the Jackets.

FLORIDA PANTHERS: While you have plenty of guys viable, mostly from the 1995-96 team (Scott Mellanby, Brian Skrudland), but there was no one more of a face to that team than John Vanbiesbrouck. He was a big reason the Panthers got to where they did in their Cup run and really one of the first names that came out of the expansion team and made them successful from the start of their organization.

MINNESOTA WILD: While they did the hack retirement of the #1 for the fans, Wes Walz should be the first official and proper number retired. Like Vyborny, Walz was with the Wild from the start and he was someone who encompassed the team by playing hard-nosed and being the little guy who clawed to get where he needed to be. He was much beloved, as well-- which should help the process along.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS: When he retires, expect David Legwand to have his number retired, but beforehand, maybe look at Cliff Ronning for the first to go to the rafters or even the first captain Tom Fitzgerald. An dark horse could be Mike Dunham, but I don't think he left too much of a mark, but maybe more than Ronning and Fitzgerald.

SAN JOSE SHARKS: While Doug Wilson was the first captain, Arturs Irbe and Owen Nolan could be prime candidates as the first to be retired, Nolan having to wait until he's actually done with the game for it to happen. Maybe with Sandis Ozolinsh being an outside guy to steal the first Sharks being raised. You could make a point for Jeff Friesen for his time in the Shark Tank, but that would be a little odd considering what he did after he left the Sharks.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING: The toss-up for the Bolts could be between Dave Andreychuk and Brian Bradley. Andreychuk was the guy who captained the Bolts to their only Cup championship to this point, but he wasn't the offensive force that Bradley was in his tenure with the Bolts. He turned it on when he got to Tampa and really showed what he had, albeit on a weak team. Even so, I think Bradley should get consideration first for overall achievements with the team.


There could be a debate for the Ottawa Senators, who retired Frank Finnigan's #8 from the non-expansion days, but don't know how the people feel about that; so I didn't include them.

This is the time where you have to dig into the bag for things to ponder and during retirement season, it's a good choice to wonder about who could be the next going to the rafters. Especially when you have so many teams worrying about the "what have you done for me lately" ideal when it comes to retiring numbers rather than overall to the franchise.


Murray said...

For Ottawa, the Finnigan number seems more symbolic, to give a connection to those teams of yore. Number 11 will be the first of the modern era to hang from the rafters, but to go along with the bit in the post, why not Tugnutt?

ScottyWazz said...

Definitely agree with Alfie in Ottawa. But about Tugnutt, which should he go for Columbus or Ottawa?? Either way, I concur; though the Avs should put him up there for his Quebec days.