From being an offensive dynamo early on, to being a dominant two-way forward later in his career, Marian Hossa was deserving of being a hall of famer and having his #81 retired in Chicago.
The Slovak played 19 seasons of hockey, spanning 1998-99 to 2016-17, including 5 different teams; Ottawa, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Chicago. To put that into perspective, Hossa played in Wayne Gretzky’s last season, and played in Auston Matthews’ first season.
Back in 1998-99, Hossa was the runner up for the Calder Trophy, recording 30 points in 60 games. He would put up more offense in the following seasons, including two 80+ point campaigns, though that’d be it for him in Ottawa. After the lockout, Hossa signed in Atlanta, putting up his best offensive seasons, including a 100 point campaign in 2006-07. Though, despite all the regular season success, there wasn’t much playoff success.
At the 2008 trade deadline, Hossa was traded to Pittsburgh, where they’d make the Stanley Cup Final, losing to Detroit. Seeking a Stanley Cup, he’d sign with the defending cup champion Red Wings, but ironically losing to Pittsburgh in 2009.
In the 2009 offseason, Hossa and the Blackhawks made the best decision they’ve both ever done. Chicago signed him to a 12 year, 63.3 million dollar contract. And the rest as they say, is history.
Rarely have we seen a winger in the NHL have such a two-way impact that Hossa has. Hell, even a forward in general. Though unfortunately he was never recognized for his game. The closest Hossa ever came in Frank J. Selke voting was 5th in 2013-14. But the most important thing is, Hossa helped make a good team, a great team, and since he’s been gone, the Blackhawks have never been the same. No playoffs in a full 82 game season since 2016-17, Hossa’s last season. It's fitting he'll have been the first and only Blackhawk to have worn #81.
Apparently Hossa will be back with the Blackhawks in some sort of capacity. It'll be interesting to see if it's front office, or coaching staff.