The Chicago Blackhawks have won a total of six Stanley Cups over the years, dating back to their first in 1934. Impressively, they won half of those over the course of five seasons (2010, 2013, 2015) - this has made them known as one of the best franchises in the league right now and an arguable dynasty.
"Chi-Town" is currently known as one of the biggest offensive powerhouses in the NHL, led by names like Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and of course their captain, Jonathan Toews. "Captain Serious" took over as captain in 2008 and has become labeled as one of the best players in the league and arguably the best captain, in contention with Sidney Crosby.
The Blackhawks have a long list of 34 captains who are among some of the greatest players to have ever played the game. As I've touched on in a previous article, the captain of a club needs to be able to take over hockey games in one way or another - Chicago has had no shortage of capable captains.
In this list we will be reviewing and ranking the last 15 captains of the Chicago Blackhawks, dating back to 1975, based on their careers and contributions to the team as captain.
With all of that out of the way, let's get into it!
15 Adrian Aucoin (2005-07)
First up is the 18-season NHL defenceman, Adrian Aucoin - an Ottawa, Ontario product. Aucoin played for seven different NHL teams and didn't exactly standout on any of them, positively or negatively. Aucoin put up a total of 121 goals and 399 points in 1,108 games. His career-best season was with the New York Islanders for the 2003-04 season where he tallied 13 goals and 44 points in 81 games. He would only end up stopping in Chicago for two fairly disappointing seasons.
Aucoin landed in Chicago for the 2005-06 season and was immediately awarded captaincy alongside a later entry, Martin Lapointe. Aucoin would only end up playing 33 games that season, chalking up a meager six points and an unlucky -13 rating. The following season saw to similar misfortunes for Aucoin as he played in only 59 games, racking up 16 points and a -22 rating. The tribe definitely needed much more out of their chief.
14 Martin Lapointe (2005-07)
In at the #14 spot is Martin Lapointe (Pictured Left), the French-Canadian winger. Lapointe was selected 10th overall in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by the Detroit Red Wings and was known as a power forward that was pretty decent with the puck. In his 17-season NHL career, Lapointe scored 181 times and added exactly 200 helpers on top of his 1,417 PIMS. Lapointe peaked just past the halfway point of his career with 57 points in 82 games for the 2000/01 Red Wings. After that season, his career went steeply downhill.
Following his departure from the Wings, Lapointe stopped off in Boston and played two of his worst professional seasons. For some reason, Chicago then picked him up and instantaneously threw a 'C' on his sweater (split with Aucoin). Lapointe captained the Blackhawks for two out of his three seasons in Chicago - in his 216 games as a Blackhawk, Lapointe contributed 30 goals and 62 points while carrying an ugly -47 rating.
13 Bob Murray (1985-86)
In at the lucky #13 spot is Bob Murray, a Kingston, Ontario product. Murray was a Blackhawk for his entire 15-season career. An offensive defenceman, Murray regularly contributed 30-50 points and reached a career high of 60 points in 77 games (1980-81). With Murray on the back end, Chicago finally achieved a moderate amount of playoff success (since the 1960s) - they made the semi-finals three times during the mid 1980's. In just over 1000 games (1008), Murray totalled 132 goals and 514 points.
Murray was named chief for only one season (1985-86), a captaincy he split with another entry, Darryl Sutter. That season was one of Murray's least productive and he only chalked up nine goals and 38 points in 80 games. Bob Murray was easily one of the best offensive D-men to play for Chicago but his contributions as captain were borderline forgettable - this is why I have him so low on this list.
12 Doug Gilmore (1999-00)
Next up is one of the greatest players of all time, Doug Gilmore. Out of Kingston, Ontario, Gilmore and his infamous #93 tore up the NHL despite being fairly undersized at 5'11" and 177 lbs. In 1,474 games, the talented center notched 450 goals and 1,414 points while sitting on a cushy +132 rating. Gilmore played an impressive total of 20 NHL seasons for seven NHL teams, stopping off in Chicago for just about two seasons.
Gilmore was named chief for his second season as a Blackhawk - the 1999/00 season. He racked up 22 goals and 34 helpers in 63 games before being shipped off to the Buffalo Sabres. Despite being the All-Star that he was, Gilmore did not shine as a leader in Chicago - the Blackhawks missed the playoffs and finished with only 33 wins. Unfortunately, when Gilmore arrived in Chicago he was only a shade of his former Toronto Maple Leafs self.
11 Keith Magnuson (1976-80)
Out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is the eleventh entry for this list, Keith Magnuson. This intimidating D-man was known for being one of the toughest players in the NHL and his willingness to drop the gloves. Racking up a franchise record of 1,442 PIMS, Magnuson became a fan favourite and earned himself the nickname of "The Red Headed Barbarian". A leader on and off the ice, Magnuson earned himself captaincy of Chicago eight seasons into his 11-season career.
Magnuson was named chief for the 1976-77 season alongside later entries, Pit Martin and Stan Mikita - Magnuson took over fully in the next season and remained captain until his early retirement in 1980. Magnuson patrolled the blue line for the Blackhawks for his entire 589 NHL game career and unfortunately had his career ended early due to knee injuries. In December of 2003, at the early age of 56, Magnuson was tragically killed in a motor-vehicle accident - he will be remembered as the true warrior and great man that he was.
10 Alex Zhamnov ( 2002-04)
Next up is a long-time Blackhawk and Moscow, Russia product, Alex Zhamnov. The big Russian played the better part of eight seasons in Chicago and cracked the 60-point mark four times. Zhamnov was a very versatile forward that played power play, key situations, and penalty kill - he tallied 277 special teams points in his career. The 13-season, four-team, NHL veteran scored 249 times and added 470 helpers in just 807 games.
Zhamnov captained the Blackhawks for about one-and-a-half seasons before being shipped off to the Pittsburgh Penguins. During his short-lived ride as chief, Zhamnov managed to mark up 76 points in 97 games. To his credit, Zhamnov did lead his team to the playoffs - unfortunately, they were eliminated in the first round. Zhamnov certainly gave his best years to Chicago and will undoubtedly go down in history as one of their better players.
9 Denis Savard (1988-89)
The next entry is the Chicago Blackhawks' first round, third overall pick of the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, Denis Savard. French-Canadians are notorious for being gifted with the puck and Savard was no exception, racking up 473 goals and 1,338 points in his 1,196 career games. Out of his 17 NHL seasons, Savard played 13 with his draft team. As a member of the Blackhawks, the undersized forward (5'10" and 175 lbs) achieved the 100-point milestone five times with a career-best of 131 during the 1987-88 season - one season before he was named captain.
Savard became captain of the Blackhawks during the 1988-89 season, a captaincy he split with another entry, Dirk Graham. Savard played 58 games in that season and still managed to record 82 points. After three consecutive first round exits, under Savard and Grahams leadership, Chicago would make it all the way to the third round of playoffs - an achievement they would repeat in the following season. Savard was easily one of the best players to ever wear a Blackhawks sweater.
8 Tony Amonte (2000-02)
In at the #8 spot is another All-Star, Tony Amonte - a Hingham, Massachusetts native. The big winger played in 16 NHL seasons for five different teams - in 1,174 games, he contributed 416 goals and exactly 900 points. Amonte stopped off in Chicago for the better part of nine seasons and easily played his best hockey, reaching a career-high of 43 goals and 84 points in 82 games during the 1999-00 season - one season prior to being named captain.
At the start of the 2000-01 season, Amonte became chief of the Blackhawks. He would remain captain until the end of the next season when he was traded to the, at the time, Phoenix Coyotes. During his reign of captain, Amonte would tally 64 points in his first season, followed by 66 in the following campaign. Also in his second campaign, Amonte would lead his team tot heir first playoff birth in four seasons.
7 Stan Mikita (1975-77)
Coming in at the unlucky #7 spot is one of the greatest players to ever play the game, Stan Mikita. The undersized, 5'9" and 169 lbs Slovakian tallied an impressive 541 goals and 1,467 points in 1,394 games all while being a +159. This legend played his entire 20-season career in Chicago and helped them win a cup back in '61. Mikita was incredibly well-rounded and an asset in all situations - to illustrate that point, Mikita is a four-time Art Ross Trophy winner, a Lester Patrick Trophy winner, a two-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner, and a two-time Lady Byng Memorial Trophy winner.
After going captain-less for five consecutive seasons, the Blackhawks decided to award captaincy to Stan Mikita and the next entry, Pit Martin for the 1975-76 season. They would tag team the captaincy for one more season before it was handed off fully to earlier entry, Keith Magnuson. Under Mikita and Martin's leadership, the Blackhawks would make it to the second round of playoffs and then the first round in the next season.
6 Pit Martin (1975-77)
Up next is the aforementioned, Pit Martin - a Noranda, Quebec product. Although not as offensively gifted as Stan Mikita, Pit Martin brought equally as much to the table during his tenure in Chicago. Martin pitched in 809 points during his 1,101 games and definitely peaked with the Blackhawks - he reached a career-high of 90 points in 78 games during the 1972/73 season. Martin played just about 11 of his 17 NHL seasons in Chicago - one of his four stops.
As previously mentioned, Martin took over as captain alongside Mikita for the 1975/76 season and remained chief until the end of the next season. Why I have Martin one spot ahead of Mikita is simply because of his point production in comparison to Mikita's during their reign as captain - Martin chalked up 124 points while Mikita only put up 106. They led almost in unison, from their identical sizes of 5'9" and 169/170 lbs all the way to their similar point output.
5 Terry Ruskowski (1979-82)
Out of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan is Terry Ruskowski, more commonly known as "Roscow". He only played the better part of a decade of hockey but started it all with "Chi-Town" in 1979. "Roscow" could play hockey - the young man tallied 70 points in 74 games in his rookie season and portrayed himself as the asset that he was. In his short 630 game career, Ruskowski scored 113 times while adding 313 helpers.
On top of his stellar rookie season numbers, "Roscow" was also named captain alongside earlier entry, Keith Magnuson - talk about pressure, eh? Ruskowski proved himself to be cool under pressure though and helped lead the Blackhawks to three consecutive playoff births under his leadership - this included a third round entry. Ruskowski would only play five games with Chicago in the 1982-83 season before being traded to the Los Angeles Kings and passing the captaincy torch on to the next entry.
4 Darryl Sutter (1982-87)
Following Ruskowski in the line of captaincy was Darryl Sutter, the Viking, Alberta product. Sutter played his entire very short NHL career in Chicago, all eight seasons of it. In his 406 professional games, Sutter managed to contribute 161 goals and 279 points. Unfortunately, Sutter was plagued with knee problems and could never overcome them to reach his full potential. Where he lacked in health, he certainly made up for in leadership.
In just his third NHL season, Sutter was named chief of the Chicago Blackhawks - he would keep the coveted 'C' on his sweater until his early retirement in 1987. Sutter would end up leading his team to the playoffs in each season under his captaincy. Here's a fun fact for you - Sutter was never expected to make the NHL but his willingness to drop the gloves with earlier entry and notorious tough guy, Keith Magnuson really impressed Chicago's brass, despite him being absolutely destroyed by Magnuson.
3 Chris Chelios (1995-99)
In at the bronze spot is one of the greatest NHL players of all time, Chris Chelios. Born and raised in Chicago, it was only fitting that he spent time with the Blackhawks for the better part of 10 of his remarkable 26-season career. In his career 1,651 games, the defender contributed 185 goals and 948 points while resting on a cushy +350 rating. Chelios really could do it all, from putting the puck in the net, to defending against star players, and even leading hockey clubs deep into the playoffs.
Chelios was named captain of the Blackhawks for the 1995-96 season - his sixth season in "Chi-Town". Under his leadership, the Blackhawks made the playoffs in three-out-of-five seasons, including a third round failure. To contribute as much as he did and as often as he did is truly remarkable, let alone from the blue line.
2 Dirk Graham (1988-95)
The man with the 'C' before our previous entry, Chelios was Dirk Graham, a Regina, Saskatchewan product. Graham played the better portion of eight of his career 12 seasons with Chicago and undoubtedly played his best hockey for them. In total, Graham contributed 219 goals and 270 helpers in 772 games. He reached a career high of 33 goals and 78 points in 80 games with Chicago in 1988 - the season he took over as captain.
After having the 'C' sewn onto his tarp, Graham did not hesitate to lead by example - with his aforementioned point production but also his leadership. Graham would lead his Blackhawks to the playoffs in each of the seven seasons under his leadership - this included three third round entries and even a trip to the finals that the Blackhawks unfortunately lost. Funnily enough, three of those seasons were coached by the #4 entry, Darryl Sutter.
1 Jonathan Toews (2008-Present)
Let's be honest, we all knew who was going to be #1 on this list - the current captain of the Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews. Also known as "Captain Serious", Jonathan Toews has proven himself as arguably the best captain (Toews vs. Crosby) and one of the best players in the NHL. In 717 NHL games, Toews has contributed 272 goals and 350 helpers while carrying a good looking +194 rating. The 28-year-old averages 62 points-per-season but gives so much more than points to his squad.
In just his second season (2008-09), Toews was named captain of the Blackhawks. Under the leadership of "Captain Serious", Chicago has made the playoffs in every season, won an incredible three Stanley Cups, and had two third round exits. At the helm was Toews, who has notched 110 points in 128 career playoff games. Just to add to his remarkable resume, Toews has won the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, the Frank J. Selke Trophy, and the Conn Smythe Trophy. "Captain Serious" is seriously an incredible hockey player and easily the best captain the Blackhawks have ever had.
Thanks for reading!
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