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‘Who Wore It Best?’: Blackhawks legend Denis Savard named best No. 18 in NHL history

Savard had 13 of the 19 first-place votes, while Serge Savard had five and Marian Hossa one.

Chicago Black Hwaksv Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images

Denis Savard is the best player to wear No. 18 in Blackhawks history, and in the entire NHL, according to an panel.

Savard, a center, earned the honor with 51 points over defenseman Serge Savard’s 39 points. First-place votes were worth three points, second-place votes worth two points and third-place votes worth one point.

Denis Savard received 13 of the 19 first-place votes and six for second, while Serge had five for first, 11 for second and three for third. Former Blackhawk Marian Hossa, who wore No. 18 during the first 11 years of his career with the Senators, Thrashers and Penguins, had the last first-place vote. Hossa wore No. 81 with the Red Wings and Blackhawks, and his play led him to being named the best No. 81 in NHL history.

“Especially in the old Chicago Stadium, it seemed as though every time he touched the puck the people would get up out of their seats,” Sportsnet analyst Kelly Hrudey said. All the creativity he had, he terrorized all of us whenever we had to play against him.”

Savard played the first seven years of his 17-year career with the Blackhawks, scoring at least 32 goals and 90 points from 1981-88. In five of those seven seasons, he had at least 105 points with a career-high 131 points (44 goals, 87 assists) in 1987-88. He ranks third in points (1,096), second in assists (719) and fifth in goals (377) in Blackhawks history.

Savard was traded to the Canadiens for Chris Chelios and a second-round pick (Mike Pomichter) on June 29, 1990. Savard won the Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1993, but he missed the majority of the postseason due to an ankle fracture. He signed as a free agent with the Lightning and wore No. 9 in Tampa because Rob DiMaio had No. 18 already. Savard played a season and a half with the Lightning before he was traded back to Chicago for a 1996 sixth-round pick (Xavier Delisle) to play out the final two seasons of his career.

The Blackhawks retired No. 18 in Savard’s honor March 19, 1998. He was inducted into the Pro Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 13, 2000.

Others receiving votes: Serge Savard, 39 (5-11-2); Dave Taylor, 10 (0-0-10); Marian Hossa, 8 (1-1-3); Walt Tkaczuk, 2 (0-1-0); Sergei Brylin, 1 (0-0-1); James Neal, 1 (0-0-1); Ed Westfall, 1 (0-0-1); Mike Ricci, 1 (0-0-1)