There have been many Hall-of-Fame players to walk through Detroit and play for the Red Wings. Some are still playing, but most are retired. We are blessed as fans to have watched many of these players wear the Winged Wheel.
Here is a list of the top ten forwards to call Detroit home.
SID ABEL 1938-1952 (LW)
Sid Abel spent 12 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings. At one point and time, he was on a line with other Red Wing greats Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay.
Abel won three Stanley Cups with the Red Wings in 1943, 1950, 1952. He was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for cash in 1952 but returned to the Red Wings after he retired to be the head coach from 1957-1970.
The Red Wings honored Abel’s #12, and no other Red Wings will ever wear it again.
BRENDAN SHANAHAN 1996-2006 (LW)
One of the best trades in Detroit Red Wings history was when the Wings traded Paul Coffey and Keith Primeau to the Hartford Whalers for Brendan Shanahan, defenseman Brian Glynn and a first-round pick.
Shanahan was the last piece of the puzzle that the Wings needed to form their dynasty. Detroit made the trade the night of the home opener during the 1996-1997 season. Shanahan made his presence known his first year with the Wings when he scored 46 goals and added 41 assists.
He may have started and ended his career with the New Jersey Devils, but he will always be a Detroit Red Wing at heart.
Shanahan remains at number ten on the Detroit Red Wings all-time points list with 633 points in 783 games.
NORM ULLMAN 1955-1968 (C)
Norm Ullman started his career with the Detroit Red Wings in 1955. He played twelve and a half seasons with the Detroit Red Wings before being moved to the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1967-1968 season.
Ullman is still number eight in points in Red Wings history with 758. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall-of-Fame in 1982, made two all-star game appearances (64-65, 66-67), and came close to winning the Hart Memorial Trophy many times during his career.
During his NHL career, Ullman played in 1410 games scoring 490 goals and 739 assists for a total of 1229 points.
TED LINDSAY 1944-1957, 1964-1965 (LW)
Ted Lindsay will always be a Red Wing’s Legend. He played a total of 14 seasons with Detroit and appeared in 862 games with the Wings. Lindsay is currently number nine on the all-time points list for the Detroit Red Wings with 728.
Lindsay accomplished many things as a Wing. He appeared in nine all-star games, he was a top ten finalist for the Hart Trophy three times and won the Art Ross Trophy during the 1949-1950 season.
He was a part of a Red Wings dynasty in the 1950s when the Wings won four cups (1950, 1952, 1954, 1955).
HENRIK ZETTERBERG 2002- PRESENT (LW/C)
Henrik Zetterberg still has time to climb this list because he still has a couple more years in the tank.
Zetterberg is the current captain of the Detroit Red Wings and was their best player last season. He is on the back-end of his career, but if you watched him this past season, you wouldn’t have guessed that.
So far, Zetterberg has spent his entire NHL career with the Wings. He currently sits at number seven on the Red Wings all-time points list with 904. He has won a few awards so far, winning the Stanley Cup and Conn Smyth in 2008. He also won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy during the 2014-2015 season for Leadership and Humanitarian Contribution.
SERGEI FEDOROV 1990-2003 (C)
Many fans may never be happy with the way things ended in Detroit for Fedorov, but you can’t deny how good he was.
Fedorov played 13 years for Detroit. He was part of three Stanley Cups (1997, 1998, 2002) and he is currently number five on the Red Wings all-time points list with 954. During the 1993-1994 season, Fedorov won three trophies (Hart, Ted Lindsay, Selke). He was the MVP that year with 120 points as well.
It’s time to hang his number in rafters because of the success he had with the Wings.
PAVEL DATSYUK 2001-2016 (C)
Where do we start with Datsyuk? It’s hard to say. Datsyuk was one of the best two-way players in the NHL during his career. He was “The Magician” when it came to scoring and backchecking. The opposition always needed to be aware when Datsyuk was on the ice because he could take the puck from you and score instantly. Datsyuk is currently number six on the list for all-time points with the Detroit Red Wings with 918.
He won two Stanley Cups with the Wings (2002, 2008), four Lady Byng trophies, and three Selke trophies. He played 14 seasons in the NHL, all of which were with the Wings.
ALEX DELVECCHIO 1950-1974 (C/LW)
Delvecchio is another player that spent his entire career with Detroit. He is currently third all-time in points for the Red Wings and will probably stay there for a while.
He finished his career with 456 goals, and 825 assists for a total of 1,281 points in 1,549 games. Delvecchio won four Stanley Cups (1950, 1952, 1954, 1955), three Lady Byng’s (1959, 1966, 1969), and appeared in two all-star games.
STEVE YZERMAN 1983-2006 (C)
We have now reached god status of the Detroit Red Wings. Picking between one and two on this list is hard.
Steve Yzerman “The Captain” is second all-time in points with the Detroit Red Wings with 1,755 in 1,514 games. It’s hard to talk about the Red Wings and not mention Yzerman and what he meant to Detroit.
During the 1988-89 season, Yzerman scored 155 points. Yes, you read that right, 155 points. He won three Stanley Cups in his career (1997, 1998, 2002), one Ted Lindsay Award, one Conn Smythe, and one Selke.
GORDIE HOWE 1946-1971 (RW)
No one will pass Howe or Yzerman as the best players in Detroit Red Wings history. Gordie Howe could have played until he was 60 if he had the chance.
It will be tough for anyone to top Gordie Howe on the Red Wings all-time points list. He scored a total of 1,809 points with Detroit.
Howe won six Hart Trophies, six Art Ross Trophies, and four Stanley Cups with Detroit.
There is a huge gap between the top two on this list and three through ten. We can label Yzerman and Howe as 1A and 1B.