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The Best Players by Uni Number for the NHL

Reader Marc Mayntz, who previously created a “best player by uni number” graphic for the NFL, has now turned his attention from the gridiron to the ice. He provided the following background info:

I tried to match the graphic with the best season of the player’s career. The only real exception was showing Mark Messier as a Ranger, despite his best years being in Edmonton, simply because the most famous image of him is his lifting of the Cup in 1994.

Only Gretzky is shown in white.

The list is predominantly Original Six, but some modern names made the list too. I also added belly striping where appropriate, because sweaters need belly stripes, so that compressed some of the NOB’s, especially the Rangers/Wings with their arched NOB typography.

From an aesthetic standpoint, it’s interesting to see how much red there is. Also weird to see how three of the green jerseys are vertically stacked at Nos. 36, 46, and 56.

As for the player choices, I’ll let the readers weigh in on that.

If you want to see more “Best Players by Uni Number” graphics, look here.

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Comments (54)

    Johnny Bower was my childhood sports hero. And he was exceptional. But not as good over the course of his career as Terry Sawchuk.

    I’d agree with these. Stamkos is close but Federov was just amazing. That’s coming from a Blues fan he routinely terrorized.

    Adam McQuaid. Played mostly for the Bruins. Wasn’t a horrible player. Wasn’t a very good player. I’m guessing #45 & #54 aren’t that often used in the NHL.

    There are many goalies that wore #1, but the top of the list starts and ends with Jacques Plante,

    Do I not see any Vancouver Canucks jerseys. Bure did wear 96 for a period when he was still an elite player.

    I completely forgot about Bure’s brief time wearing # 96. Very strange, but not as strange as seeing him playing for the Rangers and wearing # 9.

    Fedorov over Stamkos.
    Brett Hull over Clarke.
    Sawchuk over Bower … but a great argument.
    Shore, Fetisov, Harvey or MacInnis over Leetch … this seems like the worst of the low numbers.

    You gave me an idea to purchase a UW+ membership and use it to just post comments demanding more purple. Paul would be so conflicted LOL.

    1) “Brett Hull over Clarke.”……………..Uh, no.

    2) “Sawchuk over Bower … but a great argument”……………..No. As stated by others, Plante.

    Yzerman and Joe Sakic would be neck and neck in my mind for 19. I’ll agree with Stevie Y. because he played 2 years longer than Sakic.

    No love for the late 90s rounded numbers and font version of Sundin’s Leafs jersey, I thought it looked better than the usual block font

    Sundin had comparable seasons before and after the three with the Kabel numbers.
    It was an interesting idea to match the name and number typeface with the logo at the time, but I wasn’t terribly keen on the outlines, as they were unnecessary, and made the numbers look a bit too bulky.

    I doubt the Leafs will ever bring the Kabel typeface back, though, given how they’ve seemed to distance themselves from the “Ballard leaf”.

    Neil Sheehy’s number zero was a flex. The zero is used by the NHL offices to code bench minors, and the league banned the number zero because of this.

    Hmm. Would have put Gretzky in Edmonton colors, and might have gone for Rookie Teemu Selänne and his 76 goals over Mats Sundin at 13.

    When Dale Hunter gets mentioned, the first uniform that comes to my mind is the Washington Capitals… mainly because the first image of Dale that comes to my mind is his cheap shot on Pierre Turgeon.

    Absolutely. As soon as I saw the name “Dale Hunter,” first though… “cheap shot on Pierre Turgeon.”

    Eddie Shore eats Brian Leetch for breakfast. Doug Harvey I could have lived with.

    Jared Spurgeon over David Krejci is also very wrong.

    Everyone can debate the number choices, but I’m going to be more critical of the graphic itself. As someone who’s been working on stuff in this vein for a few decades now (even if as a hobbyist), I feel the quality of the graphic could be better, so I’m going to attempt some constructive criticism here.

    The individual jersey images look like they were created at the resolution they’re presented at – 100×100 pixels. I’d recommend creating them as larger images so that the fine details can be cleaned up, then scaling them down. As for the image format, I’d suggest saving them and submitting them as PNG files instead of JPEGs, as PNG is a lossless compression format more suited for these types of graphics.

    Off the top of my head:
    1 Sawchuk, Hall, Plante – pick one
    13 Selanne since Ovy deserves 8
    16 Bobby Hull since 9 belongs to Howe
    21 Mikita
    46 Krejci

    Not sure if I was sadder when I realized there are only two Flyers on the graphic, or when I realized that that was the correct number of Flyers on the graphic.

    Jacques Plante a way better #1 than Bower. 6 cups, 7 Vezinas, a Hart, Hockey HOF. Case closed. Bower has not even half of these.

    Carl Hagelin won back to back cups with the Pens. As a Rangers fan, I’d say he’s more memorable as a Pen or Cap at this point.

    Karlson at #65 is still an active player, but you put him in the jersey of the team he no longer plays for? I get that he was better with the Sens and has basically not been the same in San Jose, but still.

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