28 on 28: Steve Larmer Excelled in the Playoffs, too

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28 on 28: Steve Larmer Excelled in the Playoffs, too

Chicago Blackhawks

It’s the 28th of October, so happy #Retire28 day to those who celebrate (that includes me).

The Blackhawks haven’t made the real playoffs for a while now (I don’t count the bubble), but some people have wondered about whether or not this year’s roster could make that interesting after a couple impressive games against Florida and Edmonton — two top teams — some people are already throwing out the rebuild and wanting more right now.

When we look back at playoff history for the Blackhawks, most of the records are owned by the latest generation of players because a) they were a dynasty, and b) the number of games played. But once again it’s impossible to ignore how good Steve Larmer was when the postseason lights turned on.

The Blackhawks made the playoffs in every season Larmer was in the lineup. And he produced — big time.

I’ve noted previously that the list of right wings who averaged a point per game for 1,000 regular-season games who aren’t in the Hockey Hall of Fame is incredibly short. Larmer and Theo Fleury are the only two who aren’t in the Hall of Fame from a list of only ten players.

Larmer appeared in 107 playoff games in 11 years with Chicago. He scored 45 goals and added 66 assists in those games, good for 111 points — better than a point-per-game. In the playoffs.

Only five players in Blackhawks history have more postseason points than Larmer: Stan Mikita (150 in 155 games), Denis Savard (145 in 131 games), Patrick Kane (132 in 136 games), Bobby Hull (129 in 116 games) and Jonathan Toews (119 in 137 games). If you do the math, only Savard and Hull averaged a point per night on that list. And Larmer has the best plus-minus (+22) of those six players; Hull was +21 and Savard was +20.

Larmer also had six postseason game-winning goals. Only five players in Blackhawks history scored more decisive goals in the playoffs: Kane, Toews, Mikita and Hull all scored 11 and Jeremy Roenick scored eight. Savard and Marian Hossa also scored six.

Sadly, Larmer never won a Stanley Cup in Chicago. Even though the Blackhawks teams he was on were really good, they ran into some buzzsaws in the postseason and only reached the Cup Final once (they were swept by Pittsburgh… we try to not dwell on that series).

When Larmer left and landed with the Rangers, though, he became a critical part of their historic run in 1994. He gave the Rangers 16 points in 23 games that postseason and, when the chips were on the table and the Rangers were trying to hang on to end their championship drought, Mike Keenan had two forwards he trusted most on the ice to end the game: Mark Messier and Steve Larmer.

And, at 32 years old, he was still able and willing to score greasy goals when his team needed them.

If you’re making a case for Larmer’s number to be retired in Chicago, his postseason resume is strong enough that (again) it should have been done at least two decades ago.

If you’re making a case for Larmer to have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, his play in more than a decade’s worth of playoffs adds more to an already strong case. And, like his number being in the rafters next to Savard — next to whom he skated for years — this is long overdue as well.



Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab