Sconnie Sports Talk

Top Five Badger Hockey Players of All-Time

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With Badger hockey season already into its second weekend, we decided to put together the top five Badger hockey players of all-time.

The List

5) Dany Heatley 

The second overall pick in the 2000 NHL entry draft comes onto the list at number five. Following in his father Murray’s legacy at UW, Heatley enjoyed a tremendously successful two seasons with the Badgers in which he was both an NCAA West All-American and WCHA Rookie of the Year. After forgoing his final two years with the Badgers, the left-winger had a sensational rookie campaign with the Atlanta Thrashers in which he scored 61 points and was rewarded the Calder Memorial Trophy as the best rookie in the NHL. After being traded to the Ottawa Senators, Heatley was united with Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson to form the CASH Line. This line dominated NHL defenses and helped Heatley set Ottawa team records for goals in a season (50), which he achieved in back to back seasons, and points in a season (105). The five seasons spent with Ottawa were by far Heatley’s most productive seasons in the NHL, but he also had success in international competition. Heatley stands not only as the all-time leading goal scorer for Canada in world championships, but was also a big contributor to Canada’s gold medal in 2010.

4) Mike Richter

Playing two seasons with the Badgers and allowing a mere 2.89 goals per game over 650 plus games in the NHL, Mike Richter goes down as one of the best American goaltenders in hockey’s history. Richter was drafted 28th overall in 1985 to the New York Rangers, where he spent his entire professional career. In his first season as the Rangers’ full time goaltender, Richter accumulated a team record 42 wins in route to the ending of the Rangers’ 54-year championship drought. He was a 3-time NHL All-Star and also won a silver medal in the 2002 Olympic Games. As a result of his great career, Richter was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008 and also had his jersey retired by the Rangers in 2004 for bringing the Rangers a Stanly Cup. He is currently an environmental advocate in charge of Healthy Planet Partners.

3) Chris Chelios

With a playing career spanning over 26 years, 309 points and 1651 games played, Chris Chelios is not only one of the top Badger hockey players ever, he is also one of the top NHL defensemen in history. Spending a majority of his career with the Montreal Canadians, Chicago Blackhawks, and Detroit Red Wings, Chelios was able to guide all three teams to Stanley Cup Final appearances. Of these appearances, Chelios lead his teams to victory with Montreal in 1986, and with the Re Wings in both 2002 and 2006. His 2006 playoff appearance marked his 24th time skating in the post season and establishes an astounding statistic of only missing the playoffs twice in 26 seasons. As a result of Chelios’s success on the ice, he was selected into the NHL All-Star game 11 times and received the Norris Trophy three times (1989, 1993, and 1996), which is dedicated to the top NHL defenseman. As a three-time winner, Chelios joins elite company as only eight other players have ever won the award three times or more.

2) The Suter Family: Ryan Suter/Gary Suter/Bob Suter 

A family of hockey Olympians, NHL All-Stars, a Calder Trophy winner, and a Norris Trophy winner, it doesn’t get much better than this. The Suters are one of the greatest hockey families of all time, and they’re all Badgers. It all started with Bob Suter, who was a starting defenseman for the Badgers when they won the 1977 NCAA Championships under Bob Johnson. Although the eldest Suter never played a game in the NHL, he is recognized primarily as a member of the 1980 “Miracle On Ice” gold medal Olympics team.

His brother Gary, on the other hand, enjoyed a much more lucrative NHL career. He spent 18 years in the league, playing over 1000 games, winning the Stanley Cup in 1988 and being selected to the NHL All-Star Game five times. His most impressive year in the NHL was his rookie season in which he won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the Rookie of the Year. As a result of his successes, Gary was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.

The youngest Suter and Madison Native is probably the most recognized name on this list in Ryan Suter. He was the 7th pick in the 2003 NHL entry draft by the Nashville Predators and is currently a star defenseman for the Minnesota Wild. He has spent 10 years in the NHL, accumulating 354 points and has consistently been regarded as a top five defender in the league. Suter has played in the past two Olympic games as the alternate captain helping the USA to get a silver medal in the Vancouver Games.

1) Mark Johnson

Photo by: Jeff Miller

The number one slot on the list of top Badger hockey players of all time is the most obvious choice of them all in Mark Johnson. As an Olympic gold medalist, an NCAA National Champion, and NHL All-Star, the competition for best Badger hockey player simply isn’t fair. As a Badger hockey player, Johnson played under his father, Bob Johnson, accumulating 256 points in only three seasons (2nd all time) and leading the team to the 1977 National Championship. What Johnson is most highly regarded for, however, was his role in the 1980 Winter Olympics U.S Hockey Team, where he scored two goals in the widely known semi-final “Miracle on Ice” game against the Soviet Union. He later helped the U.S. team past Finland by recording the winning assist in the gold medal match. For the past 13 years, Johnson has served as the head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers Woman’s Hockey Team, where he has lead the team to four NCAA Championship victories and five WCHA regular season titles. In this time, Johnson has also been a coach of the U.S. Olympic Women’s Hockey Team, winning a silver medal in the 2010 Vancouver Games. His play and dedication to Badger hockey, both men’s and women’s, puts him on the top of the list.

Other Notable Alumni


References

http://www.uwbadgers.com/sports/w-hockey/mtt/mark_johnson_489224.html

The Power of Twenty

The Power of Twenty

http://www.uwbadgers.com/sports/m-hockey/Badgers-in-the-NHL.html

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/nhl/2007-05-31-ottawa-sidebar_N.htm

Photos Courtesy Of: olympictalk.nbcsports.com; Bleacher Report; centralparknj.com

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