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Who Wore it Best

'NHL's Who Wore It Best?': Nos. 60-46

Letang, Foote, Crawford among top vote-getters for his uniform number by NHL.com writers

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

Wayne Gretzky's No. 99 is retired throughout the NHL not only because he is considered the greatest player in League history, but because the number and his name are synonymous.

Though there is no debate over who the best player to wear that number is, there are 98 other numbers with more than one worthy candidate. That is where the "NHL's Who Wore It Best?" comes in.

NHL.com writers and editors have cast their votes, each selecting his or her top three for each number, with the top vote-getter receiving three points, second place receiving two points and third place receiving one point. 

Candidates will be debated, and the winners revealed, in a weekly, five-part series first airing on Sportsnet, NHL.com and League platforms each Friday at 5 p.m. ET, and re-airing each Tuesday on NBCSN (5 p.m. ET) and NHL Network (6:30 p.m. ET). NHL.com will provide the list of winners each Friday at 5:30 p.m ET following the premiere of each episode, beginning this week. 

Today, we look at Nos. 60-46:

 

[RELATED: Who Wore It Best? | Nos. 99-81 | Nos. 80-61 | Nos. 45-31]

 

No. 60 -- Jose Theodore 

Seasons worn: Montreal Canadiens 1996-2006; Colorado Avalanche 2006-08; Washington Capitals 2008-10; Minnesota Wild 2010-11; Florida Panthers 2011-13

Career stats: 286-254-39 with 30 ties, 2.68 GAA, .909 save percentage in 648 games

Voting points: 57 (All 19 first-place votes)

The skinny: Theodore had four seasons with at least 30 wins, including in 2001-02, when he won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goalie and the Hart Trophy as most valuable player. That season, he went 30-24 with 10 ties, and among goalies to play at least 25 games, he led the NHL with a .931 save percentage, was fourth with a 2.11 GAA, and tied for second with seven shutouts.

Fun fact: Theodore wore No. 37 in his NHL debut on Feb. 21, 1996, but wore No. 60 in every other game of his NHL career.

Others receiving votes: Markus Granlund, 31 (0-14-3); Jason Demers, 11 (0-1-9); Vladimir Sobotka, 5 (0-2-1); Mikael Backlund, 2 (0-1-0); Kevin Poulin, 2 (0-0-2); Mark Stone, 1 (0-0-1); Chris Driedger, 1 ( 0-0-1); Collin Delia, 1 (0-0-1)

Analysis: "Jose Theodore's best work for his five NHL teams was in 2001-02 with the Canadiens, winning the Hart and Vezina trophies while not just surviving, but thriving in the goaltending cauldron of Montreal." -- Dave Stubbs, NHL.com columnist 

 

No. 59 -- Roman Josi 

Seasons worn: Nashville Predators 2011-present 

Career stats: 413 points (109 goals, 304 assists) in 632 games

Voting points: 57 (All 19 first-place votes)

The skinny: Josi has been one of the NHL's most steady defensemen since he entered the League in 2011-12, but this season he reached another level. The 29-year-old established himself as one of the favorites for the Norris Trophy as the League's top defenseman by setting NHL career highs in goals (16), assists (49) and points (65) while ranking third in the League in average ice time (25:47).

Fun fact: Josi wore No. 90 (his birth year) for Bern in the National League, Switzerland's top professional league, before coming to North America in 2010-11. That season, he wore No. 33 for Milwaukee of the American Hockey League, but he has worn No. 59 since making his NHL debut Nov. 26, 2011.

Others receiving votes: Jake Guentzel, 36 (0-18-0); Tyler Bertuzzi, 11 (0-0-11); Chad LaRose, 8 (0-1-6); Tom Fitzgerald, 1 (0-0-1); David Karpa, 1 (0-0-1)

Analysis: "It's a good thing Josi wears No. 59 instead of a more popular number. It sets him apart, like his play does, and gives him some attention, like his play should more often." -- Nick Cotsonika, NHL.com columnist

 

No. 58 -- Kris Letang 

Seasons worn: Pittsburgh Penguins 2006-present

Career stats: 537 points (127 goals, 410 assists) in 808 games

Voting points: 57 (All 19 first-place votes)

The skinny: A three-time Stanley Cup champion with the Penguins (2009, 2016, 2017), Letang was particularly valuable during their run in 2016, when he had 15 points (three goals, 12 assists) in 23 playoff games and led the NHL in average ice time (28:53, minimum 10 games played). The 33-year-old defenseman has played in the All-Star Game six times and was selected to the NHL Second All-Star Team in 2012-13 and 2015-16.

Fun fact: Letang is the only player in Penguins history to wear No. 58.

Others receiving votes: David Savard, 35 (0-16-3); Robert Kron, 11 (0-2-7); David Desharnais, 3 (0-1-1); Jeff Petry, 2 (0-0-2); Patrick Bordeleau, 1 (0-0-1); Connor Carrick, 1 (0-0-1); Kevin Rooney, 1 (0-0-1); Oliver Kylington, 1 (0-0-1)

Analysis: "Letang has at times been overshadowed by his future Hockey Hall of Fame teammates Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. However, that should not take away from the fact he's one of the elite defensemen of his generation." -- Mike Zeisberger, NHL.com staff writer

Video: DET@PIT: Letang hammers slap shot for PPG

 

No. 57 -- David Perron 

Seasons worn: St. Louis Blues 2007-13, 2016-17, 2018-present; Edmonton Oilers 2013-14; Pittsburgh Penguins 2015-16; Anaheim Ducks 2016; Vegas Golden Knights 2017-18 

Career stats: 550 points (223 goals, 327 assists) in 850 games

Voting points: 55 (17-2-0)

The skinny: Perron has scored at least 20 goals five times in the NHL, including last season, when he had 46 points (23 goals, 23 assists) in 57 regular-season games and 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 26 playoff games to help the Blues win the Stanley Cup for the first time in their 51-season history. With 60 points (25 goals, 35 assists) in 71 games before this season was paused on March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, the left wing was on pace to surpass his NHL career high of 66 points he set with the Golden Knights in 2017-18.

Fun fact: Perron has worn No. 57 for each of his NHL teams, but he initially wore No. 39 with Pittsburgh after being acquired in a trade with Edmonton on Jan. 2, 2015, because Marcel Goc was already wearing No. 57. However, the Penguins traded Goc to the Blues later that month, and although Perron kept No. 39 for the remainder of that season, he resumed wearing No. 57 for the 2015-16 season.

Others receiving votes: Tyler Myers, 40 (2-17-0); Tommy Wingels, 6 (0-0-6); Blake Comeau, 5 (0-0-5); Trevor van Riemsdyk, 4 (0-0-4); Steve Heinze, 1 (0-0-1); George Parros, 1 (0-0-1); Gabriel Bourque, 1 (0-0-1)

Analysis: "Perron has more speed and better skill than many think, but what tips this in his favor is that over the past three seasons, he has learned to impact nearly every game he plays." -- Tim Campbell, NHL.com staff writer

 

No. 56 -- Sergei Zubov 

Seasons worn: Pittsburgh Penguins 1995-96; Dallas Stars 1996-2008

Career stats: 771 points (152 goals, 619 assists) in 1,068 games

Voting points: 57 (All 19 first-place votes)

The skinny: After finishing in last place in the Central Division, the Stars acquired Zubov in a trade with the Penguins on June 22, 1996, a move that would help catapult them to their first Stanley Cup championship in 1999. Zubov, who also won the Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers in 1994, ranks second among Russia-born defensemen in points behind Sergei Gonchar (811) and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2019.

Fun fact: Zubov wore No. 21 in his first three NHL seasons with New York, then wore No. 3 (his number with the Soviet Red Army team) and No. 56 during his one season in Pittsburgh. He wore No. 56 during his 12 seasons with the Stars, who will retire it at some point next season. 

Others receiving votes: Erik Haula, 30 (0-14-2); Kailer Yamamoto, 7 (0-2-3); Magnus Paajarvi, 4 (0-0-4); Claude Giroux, 3 (0-1-1); Erik Gustafsson, 3 (0-0-3); Nikita Kucherov, 2 (0-1-0); Marko Dano, 2 (0-0-2); Kevin Fiala, 1 (0-0-1)

Analysis: "A Hockey Hall of Famer and two-time Stanley Cup champion, Zubov was one of the most talented offensive defensemen of his generation." -- David Satriano, NHL.com staff writer 

 

No. 55 -- Larry Murphy 

Seasons worn: Pittsburgh Penguins 1990-95; Toronto Maple Leafs 1995-97; Detroit Red Wings 1997-2001

Career stats: 1,217 points (288 goals, 929 assists) in 1,615 games

Voting points: 55 (17-2-0)

The skinny: Murphy won the Stanley Cup twice each with Pittsburgh (1991, 1992) and Detroit (1997, 1998) while wearing No. 55. A skilled offensive defenseman, Murphy ranks fifth in NHL history among defensemen in points and is fourth in assists. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004.

Fun fact: Murphy wore No. 5 with the Los Angeles Kings, and No. 8 with the Washington Capitals and Minnesota North Stars. However, with each number already being worn when the Penguins acquired him in a trade with Minnesota on Dec. 11, 1990, he opted for No. 55 and kept it for the rest of his NHL career.

Others receiving votes: Sergei Gonchar, 33 (2-13-1); Keith Primeau, 8 (0-3-2); Mark Scheifele, 8 (0-1-6); Ed Jovanovski, 7 (0-0-7); Niklas Kronwall, 3 (0-0-3)

Analysis: "He was ahead of his time. He was a unique player and often would allow you to go into the corner first. He made great teams better." -- Keith Jones, NBCSN analyst 

 

No. 54 -- Adam McQuaid 

Seasons worn: Boston Bruins 2009-18; New York Rangers 2018-19; Columbus Blue Jackets 2019

Career stats: 73 points (16 goals, 57 assists) in 512 games

Voting points: 45 (14-1-1)

The skinny: Although McQuaid never had more than 15 points in a season, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound defenseman still played a key role for the Bruins when they won the Stanley Cup in 2011.

Fun fact: McQuaid wore No. 27 with Providence of the American Hockey League, but he chose No. 54 after being called up because Steve Begin was already wearing No. 27 for Boston.

Others receiving votes: David Jones, 32 (3-10-3); Paul Ranger, 14 (0-3-8); Bobby Ryan, 5 (1-1-0); Cam Fowler, 4 (1-0-1); Charles Hudon, 3 (0-0-3); Daniel Briere, 2 (0-1-0); Brett Pesce, 2 (0-1-0); Oskar Lindblom, 1 (0-0-1)

Analysis: "Adam McQuaid was one of those defensemen many people took for granted until he was out of the lineup, then you really missed him." -- Pete Jensen, NHL.com senior fantasy editor

 

No. 53 -- Jeff Skinner 

Seasons worn: Carolina Hurricanes 2010-18; Buffalo Sabres 2018-present

Career stats: 465 points (258 goals, 207 assists) in 720 games

Voting points: 53 (15-4-0)

The skinny: The left wing won the Calder Trophy in 2010-11 after leading all NHL rookies with 63 points (31 goals, 32 assists) in 82 games. Skinner has scored at least 30 goals four times in his 10 NHL seasons, including in 2018-19, when he had a career-high 40 in his first season with Buffalo. 

Fun fact: Skinner has worn No. 53 since he played in junior with Kitchener of the Ontario Hockey League, and he recently donated $53,000 to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region to help during the coronavirus pandemic.

Others receiving votes: Bo Horvat, 26 (3-4-9); Derek Morris, 20 (0-8-4); Shayne Gostisbehere, 9 (0-3-3); Nikolai Khabibulin, 3 (1-0-0); Casey Cizikas, 2 (0-0-2); Zdeno Chara, 1 (0-0-1)

Analylsis: "Skinner made solid contributions in Carolina and won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 2010-11, but he really hit his stride that first season in Buffalo." -- Mike G. Morreale, NHL.com staff writer

Video: BUF@VGK: Skinner backhands puck home in 3rd

 

No. 52 -- Adam Foote 

Seasons worn: Quebec Nordiques 1991-95; Colorado Avalanche 1995-2004, 2008-11; Columbus Blue Jackets 2005-08

Career stats: 308 points (66 goals, 242 assists) 1,154 games

Voting points: 53 (15-4-0)

The skinny: One of the leaders for the Avalanche when they won the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001, Foote provided size (6-foot-2, 220 pounds), toughness (1,534 penalty minutes) and stability as a stay-at-home defenseman. During Colorado's championship run in 2001, Foote (28:22 per game), Ray Bourque (28:32), and Rob Blake (29:26) carried the load on Colorado's back end (no other Avalanche defenseman averaged more than 16:15 per game).

Fun fact: Foote is the only player in Nordiques/Avalanche history to wear No. 52. 

Others receiving votes: Mike Green, 40 (4-14-0); Craig Rivet, 11 (0-0-11); Jonathan Ericsson, 5 (0-0-5); Dave Andreychuk, 2 (0-1-0); Dave Lewis, 1 (0-0-1)

Analysis: "Foote was fearless and relentless, an essential piece of the Avalanche teams that won the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001." -- Jon Lane, NHL.com staff writer

 

No. 51 -- Brian Campbell

Seasons worn: Buffalo Sabres 1999-2008; San Jose Sharks 2008; Chicago Blackhawks 2008-11, 2016-17; Florida Panthers 2011-16

Career stats: 504 points (87 goals, 417 assists) in 1,082 games

Voting points: 51 (15-3-0)

The skinny: A skilled offensive defenseman, Campbell had three seasons with at least 50 points, including an NHL career-high 62 (eight goals, 54 assists) in 83 games with Buffalo and San Jose in 2007-08, when he was selected to the NHL Second All-Star Team. 

Fun fact: Campbell wore No. 44 when he played junior for Ottawa of the Ontario Hockey League, who retired it on Nov. 2, 2017. However, he wore No. 51 through all 17 of his NHL seasons, including in 2009-10, when he helped Chicago win the Stanley Cup for the first time in 49 years. 

Others receiving votes: Valtteri Filppula, 35 (3-11-4); Frans Nielsen, 18 (1-4-7); Andrei Kovalenko, 6 (0-1-4); Jake Gardiner, 2 (0-0-2); Ryan Getzlaf, 1 (0-0-1).

Analysis: "Campbell was an excellent, but underrated, player for 17 seasons. He had the kind of speed that plays well in any era, and that speed became even more useful as his career went along." -- John Kreiser, NHL.com managing editor

 

No. 50 -- Corey Crawford 

Seasons worn: Chicago Blackhawks 2006, 2008, 2010-present

Career stats: 260-162-53, 2.45 GAA, .918 save percentage in 488 games

Voting points: 56 (18-1-0)

The skinny: Sometimes overlooked as a key part of Chicago winning the Stanley Cup in 2013 and 2015, Crawford fell one first-place vote short of being the fourth unanimous selection in the 50s. During the Blackhawks run in the 2013 playoffs, he went 16-7 with a 1.84 GAA, .932 save percentage and one shutout. In the 2015 playoffs, he was 13-6 with a 2.31 GAA, .924 save percentage and two shutouts. 

Fun fact: Crawford is the fourth goaltender in Blackhawks history to wear No. 50, but the only one to play more than two NHL games. 

Others receiving votes: Antoine Vermette, 29 (1-10-6); Jordan Binnington, 21 (0-8-5); Jonas Gustavsson, 4 (0-0-4); Chris Mason, 2 (0-0-2); Adam Pelech, 1 (0-0-1) 

Analysis: "Crawford falls under the radar among NHL goaltenders, but the Blackhawks don't win the Cup in 2013 and 2015 without him." -- Tracey Myers, NHL.com staff writer

Video: ANA@CHI: Crawford robs Henrique with his pad

 

No. 49 -- Brian Savage

Seasons worn: Montreal Canadiens 1994-2002; Phoenix Coyotes 2002-04; St. Louis Blues 2004; Philadelphia Flyers 2005-06

Career stats: 359 points (192 goals, 167 assists) in 674 games

Voting points: 46 (12-4-2)

The skinny: Selected by Montreal in the eighth round (No. 171) in the 1991 NHL Draft, Savage scored at least 20 goals in five of seven seasons from 1995-2002 before his career was slowed by injuries. 

Fun fact: Savage wore No. 17 at Miami University and No. 14 when he won the silver medal with Canada at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics, but he wore No. 49 for his entire NHL career. 

Others receiving votes: Michael Leighton, 21 (2-6-3); Joe Juneau, 17 (4-2-1); Victor Rask, 12 (0-3-6); Samuel Girard, 6 (0-1-4); Rich Peverley, 4 (0-1-2); J.T. Brown, 3 (1-0-0); Ivan Barbashev, 2 (0-1-0); Matthew Lombardi, 2 (0-1-0)

Analysis: "From an eighth-round pick to 'Mr. October', Brian Savage had a career full of noteworthy highlights making him the best to wear No. 49, specifically becoming the first player to score a Canadiens' hat trick at the Bell Centre on Oct. 7, 1996." -- Rob Reese, NHL.com fantasy editor

 

No. 48 -- Daniel Briere 

Seasons worn: Buffalo Sabres 2003-07; Philadelphia Flyers 2007-13; Montreal Canadiens 2013-14; Colorado Avalanche 2014-15

Career stats: 696 points (307 goals, 389 assists) in 973 games

Voting points: 55 (17-2-0)

The skinny: Briere overcame his size (5-foot-9, 174 pounds) to become a consistent producer in the regular season, scoring at least 60 points five times in his 17 NHL seasons, including a career-high 95 points (32 goals, 63 assists) with Buffalo in 2006-07. But the center was always at his best in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, scoring 116 points (53 goals, 63 assists) in 124 postseason games. In the 2010 playoffs, Briere led the League with 30 points (12 goals, 18 assists) in 23 games to help Philadelphia advance to the Cup Final. 

Fun fact: Briere was the first player in Sabres history to wear No. 48. 

Others receiving votes: Scott Young, 30 (2-10-4); Tomas Hertl, 20 (0-5-10); J.J. Daigneault, 5 (0-1-3); Shea Weber, 2 (0-1-0); Brendan Lemieux, 1 (0-0-1); Tyler Kennedy, 1 (0-0-1)

Analysis: "Danny Briere always played far bigger than his 5-foot-9 frame. There was a fearlessness to his game that allowed him to create and produce, especially in the biggest moments." -- Adam Kimelman, NHL.com deputy managing editor

 

No. 47 -- Torey Krug 

Seasons worn: Boston Bruins 2012-present

Career stats: 337 points (67 goals, 270 assists) in 523 games

Voting points: 51 (15-3-0)

The skinny: Krug made an immediate impact as a 22-year-old rookie by scoring six points (four goals, two assists) in 15 playoff games during Boston's run to the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. The 5-foot-9, 186-pound defenseman has had at least 40 points in six of his seven seasons since, including an NHL career-high 59 (14 goals, 45 assists) in 76 games in 2017-18.

Fun fact: Krug wore No. 44 at Michigan State and with Providence of the American Hockey League. However, with that number being worn by defenseman Dennis Seidenberg when he joined the Bruins late in the 2011-12 season, he was assigned No. 47.

Others receiving votes: Alexander Radulov, 32 (3-10-3); Marc-Andre Bergeron, 8 (0-2-4); Hampus Lindholm, 7 (0-1-5); Jean-Sebastien Giguere, 3 (1-0-0); John Grahame, 3 (0-1-1); Rich Pilon, 2 (0-1-0); Andrew MacDonald, 2 (0-1-0); Leo Komarov, 2 (0-0-2); Stephan Lebeau, 2 (0-0-2); Viktor Kozlov, 1 (0-0-1); Claude Lapointe, 1 (0-0-1)

Analysis: "Torey Krug's willingness to play with a controlled recklessness all over the ice while delivering in the offensive end makes him among the most exciting players to watch, and the most exciting to ever wear No. 47." -- Shawn P. Roarke, NHL.com Senior Director of Editorial

 

No. 46 -- David Krejci 

Seasons worn: Boston Bruins 2007-present

Career stats: 686 points (207 goals, 479 assists) in 911 games

Voting points: 56 (18-1-0)

The skinny: Krejci set an NHL career high with 73 points (22 goals, 51 assists) in 82 games in 2008-09, his second full season, and tied it with 20 goals and 53 assists in 81 games in 2018-19. During the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he led the NHL with 12 goals and 23 points to help Boston win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1972.

Fun fact: Krejci wore No. 23 while playing for Providence of the American Hockey League, but that number was being worn by Paul Mara when the Bruins called him up, so he was assigned No. 46 and has worn it ever since.

Others receiving votes: Jared Spurgeon, 28 (0-11-6); Andrei Kostitsyn, 13 (0-4-5); Roman Polak, 13 (0-3-7); Mark Giordano, 3 (1-0-0)

Analysis: "Perpetually underrated, Krejci was one of the biggest reasons the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011 (in addition to Tim Thomas). As former coach Claude Julien used to say: As Krejci goes, so go the Bruins." -- Amalie Benjamin, NHL.com staff writer

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