Welcome to your first of many Steve Larmer appreciation posts here at Bleacher Nation. With the Blackhawks announcing they will retire Marian Hossa’s No. 81 in the coming season, the discussion is once again open regarding which other numbers should be in the rafters at the United Center.
Larmer’s No. 28 should have been there years ago.
Larmer was a beast for the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1980s, but he has been left out of the Hockey Hall of Fame and his number has yet to be retired by the organization. In 2014, when Marian Hossa reached 1,000 points in his Hall of Fame career, Ken Campbell at The Hockey News compared Hossa’s career to Larmer’s.
At the time, Campbell wrote of Hossa:
“Perhaps a better comparison would be Steve Larmer, another player who excelled at both ends of the ice without winning a Selke Trophy and won one Stanley Cup during his career. Despite the fact his name seems to come up every year, Larmer isn’t in the Hall of Fame yet and may never find his way there.”
Like Hossa, Larmer played right wing. Only 23 players who were predominantly a right wing have reached 1,000 points in their career — Larmer and Hossa are among them (as is Patrick Kane). Hossa is already an inducted member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and Kane will undoubtedly join him someday. But, unlike Larmer, Hossa did not average one full point per game during his legendary career.
Here’s the list of right wings in NHL history (according to NHL.com) who averaged 1.0 points per game in at least 1,000 regular season games:
1. Jaromír Jágr – 1,921 points in 1,733 games
2. Gordie Howe – 1,850 points in 1,767
3. Teemu Selanne – 1,457 points in 1,451
4. Jari Kurri – 1,398 points in 1,251 games
5. Brett Hull – 1,391 points in 1,269 games
6. Guy Lafleur – 1,353 points in 1,126 games
7. Patrick Kane* – 1,180 points in 1,107 games (active)
8. Theo Fleury – 1,088 points in 1,084 games
9. Joe Mullen – 1,063 points in 1,062 games
10. Steve Larmer – 1,012 points in 1,006 games
Of the 10 names on the list, four are not in the Hockey Hall of Fame: Jágr, Kane, Fleury, and Larmer. Two of those — Jágr and Kane — haven’t been on the ballot yet.
Among right wings who played in at least 1,000 regular season games, Larmer ranks third in short-handed goals (55) behind only Jari Jurri (82) and Ed Westfall (66).
Larmer’s 367 career power play points are only seven behind Hossa, who appeared in 303 more regular season games than Larmer. And his 162 power play goals still rank in the top ten all-time among right wings who appeared in at least 1,000 games.
Plus-minus wasn’t always a stat that was calculated (it started at some point in the 1950s), but according to the records at NHL.com only four right wings with 1,000 games on their resume have a better rating than Larmer’s +203: LaFleur (+446), Jágr (+322), Kurri (+304) and Hossa (+245).
Larmer played in the postseason each year he was a member of the Blackhawks. He was named one of the right wings on the Blackhawks 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. And, after the 1990-91 season, Larmer was awarded The Hockey News/Inside Hockey “Man of the Year.” He didn’t miss a game for a decade. His 884 consecutive regular season games is an NHL record with a single franchise.
On the 28th of each month, we plan on celebrating the career of Larmer and reminding Blackhawks fans that his number should be in the rafters next to the other icons in franchise history.