5 Chicago Blackhawks from the 1990s that deserve to have their numbers retired

Steve Larmer deserves to have his number hang from the rafters. Jeremy Roenick, Ed Belfour, and Tony Amonte also should be discussed. Doug Wilson made most of his history in the 1980s, but he played some in the 90s too.
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The Chicago Blackhawks are retiring Chris Chelios' No. 7 on Sunday.

It is a well-deserved honor for one of Chicago's most iconic hockey players. The legendary defenseman played nine seasons for his hometown team. He won two of his three Norris Trophies with the Blackhawks and made nine All-Star appearances for the franchise.

He was the Hawks captain from 1995-1999. He ranks fourth time in assists and points among Blackhawks defensemen and fifth in goals among the franchise's blueliners. Chelios was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013 after a 26-year career.

He played his first seven seasons for the Montreal Canadiens and came to Chicago in 1990 when the Hawks sent another franchise icon, Denis Savard to the Habs in exchange for Chelios. Chelios came close to winning a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1992 but that team ran into a buzzsaw Pittsburgh Penguins team led by Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr.

Chelios was traded midway through the 1998-99 season to the rival Detroit Red Wings. He would play ten more seasons with "Detroit Sucks!" and win three Stanley Cups. He finished his career in 2009-10 with the Atlanta Thrashers when he played seven games at age 48.

Chelios will go down as one of the greatest American defensemen of all time. He will always be a Chicago icon even if he played more seasons for the Red Wings. That is why it is fitting his No. 7 will be raised to the United Center rafters with Detroit in town.

It is also fitting that Chris has his number retired as it is the first honor like this bestowed on a player who was part of some very good Blackhawks teams during the 1990s.

The Hawks made the playoffs every year in that decade except the final two. A lot of those teams get overshadowed by how the franchise slowly declined into mediocrity thanks to owner Bill Wirtz' frugality. That still does not mean the Blackhawks did not have a good run of success and it has never really been acknowledged by the franchise until now.

Chelios is not the only player from that decade that should see his number retired. There are five more former greats from that decade that deserve consideration. Although the Blackhawks have updated their criteria that include...

  • Player must be retired for at least three years, which doesn't include long-term injured reserve.
  • Minimum of eight years and 500 games played with the Blackhawks for skaters; 400 games played with the team for goaltenders.
  • Hockey Hall of Famer or has played at least 1,000 games (700 for a goaltender).
  • Played more games with the Blackhawks than any other team during NHL career.
  • Among the most prolific Blackhawks at his position, as evidenced by on-ice performance, All-Star selections, and major NHL Awards.
  • Exhibited (and continues to exhibit) strong off-ice character.
  • Changed the game of hockey.
  • Additional consideration will be given to members of the Stanley Cup winning teams with the Blackhawks, along with the entire body of work by a player to the organization, which includes time as a broadcaster and ambassador.

So let's see if those five players actually will get the chance to see a banner with their name and jersey number on it in the United Center rafters someday.