It’s October 10 – 10/10 – and in this week’s THN.com Top 10, we’re honoring the best NHL players to ever wear No. 10. They are:
10. Gary Roberts
Now one of the premier fitness gurus on the hockey scene, Roberts struggled with injuries late in his NHL career, yet still managed to post 438 goals and 910 points in 1,224 regular season games, as well as 93 points in 130 playoff contests.
9. Tom Johnson
He never amassed a ton of points in his career, but make no mistake – Johnson was a key cog in the Montreal Canadiens’ 1950s-era dynasty squad and won six Stanley Cups. He also won the Norris Trophy in 1959 and, after his playing career ended, coached the Boston Bruins to the 1972 Stanley Cup.
8. George Armstrong
Now 82, Armstrong served as the Maple Leafs captain for a record 11 seasons and won four Cups before being welcomed into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975. No player in Toronto’s storied history played as many Leafs games as ‘The Chief’ (1,187).
7. Esa Tikkanen
Regarded as arguably the greatest agitator of all time, Tikkanen played on five Cup-winning teams (four in Edmonton and one in Manhattan) and on three occasions was a runner-up for the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward. The Finnish native had more regular season assists (386) than goals (244) in 877 career games, but in the playoffs, he had 72 goals and 60 assists in 186 games.
6. Alex Delvecchio
The Red Wings legend played all 1,549 career games in Detroit, setting a league record for games with one team that stood until fellow Wing Nicklas Lidstrom (1,564) broke it last season. Delvecchio’s 1,281 points have him 33rd among all-time NHL scorers and he played in 13 all-star games.
5. Pavel Bure
The ‘Russian Rocket’ had a relatively short career compared to some others on this list, but Bure still carved out an impressive legacy for himself in 702 career regular season games: he was the NHL’s leading goal-scorer in three of his 12 seasons; he won the 1992 Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie; he broke the 50-goal barrier five times and reached the 60-goal plateau twice.
4. Dale Hawerchuk
Yes, Hawerchuk played the game during the high-scoring, run-and-gun 1980s era, but he didn’t post a better than point-per-game average (1,409 points in 1,188 career games) because of the style of the game back then. Hawerchuk likely will be passed by Teemu Selanne (1,406 points) for 18th on the all-time scoring list when the lockout ends, but his prominent place in the sport’s history is assured.
3. Syl Apps
Very few people still alive got to see Apps play during his 10-year NHL career, but the lifelong Maple Leaf (who won three Stanley Cups in Toronto) and Calder Trophy winner put up 432 points in 423 career games and was No. 34 on THN’s list of the Top 100 NHLers of all time.
2. Ron Francis
Francis’ 1,798 career regular season points have him fourth in NHL history behind only Gordie Howe (1,850), Mark Messier (1,887) and Wayne Gretzky (2,857). The Sault Ste. Marie native won two Stanley Cups, three Lady Byng Trophies, one Selke Trophy and one King Clancy Trophy in 23 seasons.
1. Guy Lafleur
‘The Flower’ is one of the greatest Canadiens and NHLers in history for a number of reasons: he is Montreal’s all-time leading scorer (1,246 points in 961 games); he was the first NHLer in history to score 50 or more goals and 100 or more points in six consecutive seasons; and he won three Art Ross Trophies, three Lester B. Pearson/Ted Lindsay Awards, two Hart Trophies and one Conn Smythe Trophy. For that reason, it shocked no one to see him at No. 11 on THN’s list of the Top 100 NHLers ever.
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on TheHockeyNews.com.