Steve Larmer isn’t a Hockey Hall of Famer, but he’s the best player to wear No. 28 in NHL history, according to an NHL.com panel.
Larmer, a right wing, topped Claude Giroux for the top spot with 46 points to the Flyers captain’s 31 points across 19 voters. First-place votes were worth three points, second-place votes worth two points and third-place votes worth one point.
Larmer received 11 first-place votes, six second-place votes and one for third. Giroux had five first-place votes, six for second and four for third. Brian Rafalski and Steve Duchesne each earned one first-place vote.
“When you live in Chicago and you play for the Blackhawks, that No. 28 belongs to Steve Larmer,” said Patrick Sharp, a former Blackhawks forward and current NBC Sports Network analyst. “I don’t know how many times you have to call a guy underrated until he’s no longer that but that’s kind of what Steve Larmer is.”
Larmer, who played 884 consecutive games with Chicago for the third-longest streak in NHL history, won the Calder Trophy as the League’s top rookie with 90 points (43 goals, 47 assists) in 80 games in 1982-83. He went on to score at least 40 goals five times and at least 30 goals nine times with the Blackhawks before he was traded to the Rangers in 1993. He scored 60 points (21 goals, 39 assists) in 68 regular-season games and 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 23 playoff games to help the Rangers win the Stanley Cup in 1994. He played one more season with New York before he retired in 1995.
Larmer became the first Chicago player to wear No. 31 in 1980 and kept it for seven games during brief stints in 1980-81 and 1981-82. He was give No. 28 at training camp in 1982 and kept it the rest of his career.
Blackhawks fans have vocally expressed their desire for the franchise to retire Larmer’s No. 28 for years, but the organization hasn’t done so. Eight players have wore No. 28 since Larmer left Chicago with Henri Jokiharju (2019) being the most recent. Each time a player is given No. 28 the fan base has become more vocal in wanting to see it not on the ice, but hanging in the United Center rafters.
Others receiving votes: Claude Giroux, 31 (5-6-4); Brian Rafalski, 16 (2-2-6); Steve Duchesne, 10 (1-2-3); Reed Larson, 3 (0-0-3); Tomas Sandstrom, 2 (0-1-0); Tie Domi, 2 (0-1-0); Mark Recchi, 2 (0-1-0); Pierre Larouche, 2 (0-0-2).