It was announced last week that top prospect Brandon Saad will be switching from number 43 to number 20 this upcoming season. So what better time to look at who has worn the number 20 sweater in Blackhawks history. After going through this list, Saad has a really good chance of being the best number 20 in team history.
One of the first players to wear 20 was defenseman Max Quackenbush in the 1951-52 season. Quackenbush only had one assist in 14 games with the Hawks but I wanted to mention him because it’s fun to say Max Quackenbush, isn’t it? Another player who wore 20 that only is getting mentioned because of his name was Dick Gamble back in 1955. There are so many jokes I can make with this one, all of which could get me in trouble! Dick Gamble sounds like the perfect name for a male escort in Las Vegas.
Left winger Doug Jarrett wore number 20 for the first four seasons of his eleven year career with the Blackhawks, before switching to number 4 in 1969. Jarrett played in 721 career regular season games for Chicago, scoring 38 goals and adding 178 assists. He had 23 points (7 G, 16 A) in 99 career playoff games. Jarrett was traded to the New York Rangers in 1975 for goalie Gilles Villemure.
Fan favorite Cliff Koroll wore number 20 from 1969 until his retirement in 1980, spending his entire career in Chicago. Koroll scored 208 goals and had 254 assists in 812 career regular season games. He scored a career high 33 goals in the 1972-73 season helping the Blackhawks reach the Stanley Cup Final. Koroll put up some good numbers in the postseason as well, finishing his career with 48 points (19G, 29 A) in 85 career playoff games. He had a great postseason run in the memorable 1971 season when he scored 7 goals and added 9 assists before the Hawks lost to Montreal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Koroll is still very active with the Blackhawks community including taking part in last weekend’s fan convention.
On December 18, 1980 the Hawks sent defenseman Mike O’Connell to the Boston Bruins for Al Secord who would wear number 20 for his entire time in Chicago. Secord was one of my favorite players growing up. He was an old school player that can score goals and punch your face in if need be too! If you as far as looked at Dennis Savard funny Secord would make sure you never did it again. Secord’s best season was in 1982-83 where he scored a career high 54 goals and assisted on 32 other goals. He hit the 40 goal mark in twice when he scored 40 in 81-82 and 44 in 85-86. He could make the old Stadium roar by scoring a goal or wiping out an opponent. He was the type of player you loved on your team but would hate if he played anywhere else. In fact, in Minnesota there was a very popular button that North Stars fans wore that simply said “Secord Sucks”. Blasphemy!! Secord was sent to Toronto with Ed Olczyk for Rick Vaive, Steve Thomas and Bob McGill jest before the 1987 season.
In March of 1994 the Hawks pulled off a great trade by sending Frantisek Kucera and Jocelyn Lemieux to the Hartford Whalers for defenseman Gary Suter. Suter was a 4 time all star for the Calgary Flames before coming the Blackhawks. Suter would spend four and half years paired with the great Chris Chelios as one of the better defensive pairs in Hawks history. Suter was a offensive minded defenseman who was the perfect Ying to Chelios’ Yang. Suter’s best year in Chicago, by far, was the 1995-96 season when he scored 20 goals and had 47 assists.
Since Suter was traded to the San Jose Sharks in 1998 for a 9th round pick, there hasn’t been much talent wearing the number 20. Guys like Mark Janssens, Tom Fitzgerald, Ville Nieminen and Mike Eastwood don’t exactly conjure up many memories. Brandon Bochenski wore 20 for ten games in 2007 when he scored 2 goals. Bochenski was traded to Boston, in February of 07 for Kris Versteeg who was a key piece to the 2010 Stanley Cup winning team.
Veteran forward Robert Lang spent the 2007-08 season in Chicago wearing number 20. He had a pretty good season that year, scoring 21 goals and having 33 assists in 76 games. Lang was traded to Montreal after that season in a move to clear some salary cap space.
Jack Skille was next to underachieve in the 20 sweater during his disappointing 2010-2011 season. Skille was drafted 7th overall in the 2005 draft and still has shown no signs of living up to that selection. He only scored 12 goals in 79 games for the Blackhawks before being traded to the Florida Panthers for the equally disappointing Michael Frolik and Alexander Salak, who is no longer in the Hawks organization.
Sami Lepisto got to wear number 20 when he was able to escape Coach Q’s doghouse long enough to actually get some playing time last season. If Saad lives up to his potential he can definitely be one of the best to wear the number 20.
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