STH YesterYears Series - Team

10 Best Defenders in Chicago Blackhawks’ History

Blueliners don’t always get the praise they deserve: it’s usually their forward teammates that bask in the glory. But without solid defense, even the best offenders on the roster can’t bring a win for the team, no matter how many goals they try to score.

The Blackhawks have been lucky to have some of the best defenders on their roster throughout the decades. You’ll find Hall-of-Famers and Stanley Cups champions in their midst – but those are hardly the only titles these defenders can boast.

So, enough with the intrigue. Let your friendly neighborhood team behind the college paper writing service Essaypro tell you everything you need to know about the ten best defenders in the Hawks’ history. (For this list, the defenders are ranked by their points.)

markus-spiske-Hockey-unsplashMarkus Spicke

10. Dick Redmond (1972-1977)

  • Games played: 341
  • Goals: 71
  • Assists: 156
  • Points: 227

The brother of another NHL player, Mickey Redmond, Dick spent five seasons playing left defense for the Hawks. This was a step-up in his career at the time: he was traded from the now-defunct California Golden Seals.

His time with the Hawks was productive, to say the least. During the 341 games played for the Hawks, he managed to score 71 goals and 156 assists.

Unfortunately, Redmond’s career had to finish before its time. His elbow injury didn’t respond to treatment, making him retire in 1982.

9. Phil Russell (1972-1979)

  • Games played: 504
  • Goals: 53
  • Assists: 176
  • Points: 229

Russell started playing for the Hawks at the same time as Redmond. But, unlike him, Russell stayed on the team for two more seasons, until he was traded to the Atlanta Flames.

Throughout his career, Russell managed to earn a particular reputation for himself and his playing style. He wasn’t treating the opposing teams’ players kindly, often bruising them and earning penalty minutes as a result. That’s why, by the time he retired, he had accumulated more than 2,000 penalty minutes on his stats board!

8. Pat Stapleton (1965-1973)

  • Games played: 545
  • Goals: 41
  • Assists: 286
  • Points: 327

Pat “Whitey” Stapleton remained on the team for eight seasons, but he made his time on the team count. He had the honor of being named the Second Team All-Star three times and was there for the Stanley Cup finals twice during his stay with the Hawks.

Furthermore, he broke the defenders’ record for the assists in one season in 1969 (he scored 50 assists that season). That’s not to mention he’s still in the lead in the plus/minus category among the Hawks’ defenders with an astonishing +201.

7. Keith Brown (1979-1993)

  • Games played: 812
  • Goals: 64
  • Assists: 266
  • Points: 330

Keith Brown is a great example of team spirit and loyalty: out of 16 seasons in his NHL career, he spent the first 14 of them playing the defense for the Hawks.

Brown has become known for his competitiveness, and this personality trait eventually helped the team make it to the Stanley Cup finals in 1992. But apart from that, he was a robust two-way defense player. That’s why he still ranks in the top 10 among Hawks’ defenders in all categories (except for the plus-minus).

6. Brent Seabrook (2005-2020)

  • Games played: 1,114
  • Goals: 103
  • Assists: 361
  • Points: 464

Seabrook is another unparalleled example of team loyalty: he spent his whole professional ice hockey career with the Blackhawks. Selected in the first round by the Chicago team, Seabrook stayed on the roster for 15 seasons until he had to retire due to an injury in 2020.

His stay at the Chicago Blackhawks was a fruitful one. Thanks to him, the Hawks made it to the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2009 after seven years of no success. But that’s not the end of the story: Seabrook was key to the team’s success in three separate Stanley Cup championships.

At the end of 2018, Seabrook also made history with his teammate, Duncan Keith: they became the first pair of defenders to spend a total of 1,000 games on the rink together.

5. Pierre Pilote (1955-1968)

  • Games played: 821
  • Goals: 77
  • Assists: 400
  • Points: 477

Pierre Pilote started his professional career with the Hawks in 1955 and remained on the team for 13 consecutive seasons. During his stay, he proved himself to be a formidable defenseman and a world-class hockey player overall. He went on to be the team’s captain for seven seasons, from 1961 to 1968.

His abilities didn’t go unnoticed, of course. He was named an All-Star multiple times and was awarded the James Norris Trophy three times – in a row, no less. (There are only three other players in the NHL history that managed such a feat.) He also became a Hall-of-Famer in 1975.

4. Chris Chelios (1990-1999)

  • Games played: 664
  • Goals: 92
  • Assists: 395
  • Points: 487

Chelios’ passion for the game – and the respect of the opposing teams’ members – also earned him the nickname “The Godfather of USA Hockey”. But there’s more to him than just the reputation: for one, he holds the record for most games played in the NHL by a defenseman.

During his career at the Hawks, Chelios won two Norris Trophies and earned the All-Star status every season he was on the rink. Up to his day, he remains in the top ten of Hawks defenders in assists, goals, and points.

3. Bob Murray (1975-1990)

  • Games played: 1,008
  • Goals: 132
  • Assists: 382
  • Points: 514

An all-time top-ten offensive defenseman, Murray was the fourth to spend more than 1,000 games with the Hawks. His whole NHL career was tied to this Chicago team.

While he couldn’t boast any trophies, he knew how to make himself useful on the rink. That earned him stats that keep him in the top-ten blueliners of the Chicago Blackhawks of all times to this day – namely, assists, goals, and points.

2. Duncan Keith (2005-2021)

  • Games played: 1,192
  • Goals: 105
  • Assists: 520
  • Points: 625

Keith is currently holding the record for the number of games played for the Hawks among defenders, but that’s not the only feat he can boast. Over the sixteen seasons on the team, Keith helped it win three Stanley Cups and was awarded two Norris Trophies and one Conn Smythe Trophy.

But Keith’s achievements don’t stop at that. He was also on Team Canada at two Winter Olympics and secured a win for it over the United States in 2010. That earned the team a gold medal.

1. Doug Wilson (1977-1991)

  • Games played: 938
  • Goals: 225
  • Assists: 554
  • Points: 779

Wilson may not have scored the highest number of games for the Hawks. But no other Blackhawks defenseman has managed to beat his assists, goals, and points over the past three decades.

Over his fourteen-season stay with the Blackhawks, Wilson won the Norris Trophy twice and participated in eight NHL All-Star Games. His accomplishments were recognized by the Hockey Hall of Fame – Wilson was inducted in 2020.

In Conclusion: 10 Honorary Mentions

seth-hoffman-Hockey-unsplashSeth Hoffman

These ten defenders are just the cream of the crop. The Hawks have been blessed to have had numerous other outstanding players in their almost one-century-long history. It just wouldn’t be fair to leave them out of this story.

So, here are 10 more Hawks’ blueliners whose names you should know:

  • Doug Jarrett (1964-1975);
  • Earl Seibert (1935-1945);
  • Bill Gadsby (1946-1955);
  • Moose Vasko (1956-1966);
  • Gary Suter (1993-1998);
  • Bill White (1969-1976);
  • Dale Tallon (1973-1978);
  • Dave Manson (1986-2000);
  • Behn Wilson (1983-1988);
  • Niklas Hjalmarsson (2007-2017).