There’s been a load of players whose numbers have been retired by their teams this season. Shane Doan and Jarome Iginla just had their numbers retired by the Arizona Coyotes and Calgary Flames, respectively, and I started thinking about other players who are going t have their numbers retired.
Of course no one will wear numbers 87 or 71 for the Pittsburgh Penguins ever again, along with 88 or 19 in Chicago. So we’re not going to chew your ear off about Sidney Crosby or Patrick Kane today. Instead, let’s take a look at some players that I feel are going to have their number retired by their teams.
Jack Eichel, 9 for the Buffalo Sabres
A number of greats have warn the #9, Bobby Hull being the most remembered one and Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel lives up to Hull’s ability. Drafted 2nd overall back in 2015, Jack Eichel has been a big deal for the Buffalo Sabres, giving their struggling team the speed and skill it has been lacking for a while (thanks Craig).
In his rookie season alone, Eichel played in 81 games with 24 goals and 32 assists putting him at 4th in the Calder trophy race. Eichel’s rookie season was the only one where he didn’t lead the team in points (4 behind Ryan O’Reilly). Since that season, Eichel has led the team in points come the end of every season.
Going into his 4th season, Eichel was names captain of the Buffalo Sabres. Eichel helped carry the team through a hot streak earlier on this season which has kept the team relevant throughout this season. From just what Eichel has done for the Sabres in his first 4 seasons, he’s going to be a pivotal payer for this team’s future. That’s why he’s on this list. He’s a great leader with an excellent hockey IQ and if the rest of the Sabres can get their feet under them, Eichel is going to lead them to a brighter future.
Jamie Benn, 14 for the Dallas Stars
Benn was drafted 129th overall back in 2007. Scouts had said that Jamie wasn’t worth drafting but the Stars took a chance and look what it brought them. Benn has brought a hockey resurgence to the Lone Star State, playing with an aggressive attitude and a big body that he uses to lay devastating hits. In his 10 seasons in the NHL, the hockey world has taken notice and marked Benn in the “Do Not Fuck With” category.
Benn isn’t just spectacular with his hits, he’s a fantastic goal scorer as well. He get’s at least 20 goals a season and even won the Art Ross back in 2015. He can dance through opponents half his size and take out anyone who tries to stand in his way. Off the ice, Jamie leads his team with quiet humbleness and a laid back attitude.
There’s no doubt in my mind that his guy is going to lead his team to a Stanley Cup and when all is said and done he’s going to have at least one Stanley Cup ring on his finger and his number in the AAC rafters.
Brendan Gallagher, 11 for the Montreal Canadians
Brendan Gallagher is another player that’s an underdog. Drafted high at 147th overall in 2010 by the Montreal Canadians, not much was expected from him. But if you don’t know anything about Gallagher, I’ll tell you the one thing you need to know: The man is relentless.
Gallagher is an absolute pest to face off against. He’s in everyone’s face and parking himself right in front of the net racking in rebound goals. Gallagher is often disregarded because of his 5’9″, 184 lbs stature but what he lacks in height, he makes up for in heart. He’s unafraid of any player (See: Chara) and will give his heart and soul up to get the puck into the net.
Absolutely dedicated to the game, Gallagher is vital for the Canadians both on and off the ice. Gallagher has always been a big voice in the locker room, even more so now as a seasoned veteran in his 7 seasons, offering jokes and a light-hearted chirping that brings up any room. Gallagher’s hockey IQ is unbelievable as well, he’s great at seeing plays and making goals happen.
Gallagher’s positive mindset and scoring ability has been a strong point for this struggling Canadians team. Gallagher has given so much to this team and, knowing the type of driven player he is, he’ll give so much more over the course of his career. It’s only fair to such a fantastic player that he gets the recognition right back.
And Many More
These are just 3 of a number of players that I believe will be retired. They all have room to grow as well, everyone does, and they’re stuck in the middle when it comes to playoff points but they’re all great leaders that can achieve so much. All 3 of these players have the heart and drive of some of the greats and by the end of their careers, it will be amazing to look back on them when their numbers hang in the rafters of each arena.
Featured Image: AP Photos/ Ross D. Franklin