In Part 3 of the "After the Rafters" series, I am covering fan favorite and player who when you mention him as your favorite Blackhawks player you signal to the whole room that you are a long time, die-hard, deep cut Blackhawks fan, especially if you are a Gen Xer or a Millennial. I'll be honest up top here: I am a part of the "new wave" of Blackhawks fans. I'm with the crowd who started watching in 2008-09 when they went to the Conference Finals against Detroit. I will do the best I can to shed some light on where this player should rank in terms of "statue," "rafters," or "One More Shift," but just know I have not had the experience of watching him play, so my analysis will be based on the stats presented by Hockey Reference and nothing else. I do not have the advantage of the "eye test" to help my assessment. Please be gracious with me as I try to do Steve Larmer justice.
Drafted 120th overall in the 1980 NHL Draft by the then-branded Chicago Black Hawks, Steve Larmer didn't make his first regular appearance in the league until the 1982-83 season. That year, his age 21 season, he announced to the whole league that he arrived. Larmer lit up the stat sheet with 90 points and a +/- of 44 in only 80 games played. For perspective, Patrick Kane didn't record a "more-than-one-point-a-game" average until year three, and even at that, it was 88 points in 82 games. For Larmer to come out and immediately make the impact he did was nothing short of special. That incredible season earned Larmer the top votes on the All-Rookie Team, an All-Star team appearance, and the Calder Memorial Trophy.
Seven out of his thirteen seasons (only 11 full seasons) for the Black Hawks/Blackhawks Larmer recorded more than a point a game, his highest mark coming in the 1990-91 season when he put up 101 points in 80 games played. The lowest points mark he recorded in a full season as a member of the Black Hawks/Blackhawks was 70 (his last season with the team). Overall in 891 games played for the Black Hawks/Blackhawks, Larmer accrued 923 points (406 goals, 517 assists). Those are some remarkable numbers.
Number 28 played a critical part of the Black Hawks/Blackhawks regular playoff appearances. During Larmer's tenure, the Blackhawks never missed the postseason. In 107 postseason games with Chicago, Larmer collected 111 points (45 goals, 66 assists). Of course, despite four deep playoff runs with the Hawks, Larmer always fell short of Stanley Cup glory until 1993-94 when he won the Cup with the New York Rangers.
As for his accomplishments, outside of winning the Calder Memorial Trophy that I mentioned earlier, Larmer was in the running for 5 Byng Awards, 5 Selke Awards (1 with the Rangers), and 1 Hart Trophy, though he won none of them. He also was a 7-time All-Star.
Personally, I just don't see how you can look at his success and impact he had on the team and come to the conclusion that he should not be honored in some way. He is clearly one of the best Blackhawks of all time and you can see why so many longtime Blackhawks fans love him. In fact, I feel like based on his accomplishments in a fairly short career (15 seasons, 2 of those never had more than 4 games played), Larmer should be heavily considered for the Hockey Hall of Fame. I'm actually very surprised he hasn't found his way in yet.
So for me, definitely not a statue, but his jersey should be in the rafters. In fact, it should have been in the rafters over a decade ago. Larmer is 28 and 28 is Larmer. That's the way it should always be with the Blackhawks. If they're not going to put him in the Hall of Fame, grant him this honor. He is more than deserving of it.