We had so much fun doing our Countdown to Faceoff series last season that we decided to do it again. In case you’re new to the series, we’ll do a roster preview as we count down the days until the Chicago Blackhawks raise their 6th Stanley Cup Banner on October 7th season opener against the New York Rangers.
We are down to 77 days in our countdown to the 6th Stanley Cup banner raising in Chicago Blackhawks history, and we have actually ran into a number that has been worn by a Chicago Blackhawk in franchise player.
Of course there has only been one player to wear #77 and he was a 4 time Stanley Cup Champion. Paul Coffey was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks on June 27, 1998 from the Philadelphia Flyers for NY Islanders 5th round choice in 1998 NHL Entry Draft. Of course this was at the beginning of the dark ages of Chicago Blackhawks which makes for a curious trade for a player that at the time of the trade was 37 years old.
The trade didn’t work out for the Blackhawks and Coffey was traded before the end of the year on December 29th to the Carolina Hurricanes for Nelson Emerson.
Coffey was on the ice in a Chicago Blackhawks jersey only for 10 games and although he was a very good defensive scorer throughout his career he barely cracked the scoresheet in Chicago picking up 4 assists and a -6 rating. Coffey was a Hall of Famer and Stanley Cup Champion but he was pretty much playing out the string of his career when he arrived and departed Chicago.
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Last year in our countdown we ranked Niklas Hjalmarsson as our #77 Greatest player in Chicago Blackhawks franchise history. Instead of rehashing what we said about Hjalmarsson last year let’s talk about him real quick like.
Hjalmarsson has now won 3 Stanley Cup Championships being one of the core of the Chicago Blackhawks since 2009, and now he’s one of the best defenseman in the NHL.
Hjalmarsson’s contract is one of the best deals around and thankfully Stan Bowman didn’t blink the wrong way back in 2010 when former Chicago Blackhawks legend and then San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson signed Hjalmarsson to a Restricted free agent contract and Bowman matched it, which opened the door for Antti Niemi to leave instead for the Sharks. In the end and 5 years of looking back at that deal, thankfully Bowman chose the young defenseman in the end!
77 Days until Banner raising! It’s getting closer each day!
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