Ranking the 5 Best Wingers in Detroit Red Wings History

Isaac SmithAnalyst IDecember 2, 2013

Ranking the 5 Best Wingers in Detroit Red Wings History

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    The Detroit Red Wings, being an Original Six franchise, have had some Hall of Fame players play at every position.

    This slideshow will examine the best wingers in Red Wings history. As players can sometimes shift from one wing to the other over the course of their careers, it makes it impractical to differentiate between the two wings.

    Some of these players have only ever played for Detroit, while some have spent only a few seasons with the Red Wings.

    Here are the best five wingers in Detroit Red Wings history.

    Note: the qualifications for meeting this list are that the winger played for Detroit for at least two different seasons (no one-hit wonders, e.g. Marian Hossa) and was otherwise one of the best players in the NHL at the time.

Honorable Mention: Henrik Zetterberg

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Henrik Zetterberg is climbing the Red Wings' all-time points list with each passing season as a Red Wing.

    Zetterberg is currently ninth on that list with 702 points in 740 regular-season games and 114 points in 123 playoff games.

    Although he may not be guaranteed to hit 1,000 points in his NHL career, Zetterberg has earned the respect of his teammates and the respect of the Red Wings management enough to be made only the third captain since the 1986 offseason.

    By the time the dust has settled, Zetterberg could likely move into the top five in all-time Red Wings scoring, needing just another 253 points over his NHL career to pass Sergei Fedorov for that spot.

    While his story is still being written, Zetterberg's accolades deserve some honorable mention, to say the least.

5. Ted Lindsay

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    Ted Lindsay here at the 2012 NHL Awards with Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
    Ted Lindsay here at the 2012 NHL Awards with Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning.Dave Sandford/Getty Images

    Ted Lindsay was a team player and had the best interests of his teammates in mind. Lindsay finished his career as a Red Wing, five years after last playing for the Chicago Blackhawks

    With 728 points in 862 games as a Red Wing, Lindsay ranks eighth on the Red Wings all-time scoring list and is the top-scoring left wing in Detroit's illustrious history.

    Lindsay is a four-time Stanley Cup champion, an NHL Hall of Fame inductee and one of the few to get his No. 7 jersey retired by the Detroit Red Wings.

4. Luc Robitaille

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    Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

    Luc Robitaille is the highest-scoring left wing in NHL history with 668 goals and 1,394 points over his NHL career.

    He joined the Detroit Red Wings in the 2001 offseason, and his 30 goals helped Detroit win the President's Trophy and eventually the Stanley Cup.

    Although he played just two seasons in Detroit, Robitaille gets the nod at this position for his offensive dominance at the left wing spot.

3. Brendan Shanahan

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    Dave Sandford/Getty Images

    Brendan Shanahan finished his NHL career with 1,354 points in 1,524 games played.

    With the Detroit Red Wings, Shanahan had 633 points in 716 games played, as well as three Stanley Cup championships.

    Shanahan was the missing piece, offensively, as the Red Wings acquired him from the Hartford Whalers early in the 1996-97 campaign. Detroit would go on to win back-to-back championships.

    Shanahan currently serves in the NHL Department of Player Safety, handing down suspensions to players as necessary.

    He was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in November 2013. 

    Shanahan is No. 3 on this list and ahead of Robitaille because Shanahan had a longer tenure in Detroit.

2. Brett Hull

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Brett Hull might have had the best shot in NHL history. His "office" of sorts was along the half boards where he could let his deadly one-timers go at will.

    His 741 goals are the third-most goals in NHL history and the second-most goals for a winger behind Gordie Howe. 

    In his two seasons in Detroit, he put up 92 goals and 207 points, averaging 69 points a season.

    Although in the twilight of his career, Hull didn't hesitate to show that he was still a dominant offensive force that had to be reckoned with, helping Detroit to a Stanley Cup win in 2002 with 18 points in 23 playoff games.

1. Gordie Howe

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    Dave Reginek/Getty Images

    Gordie Howe is an ageless wonder.

    With 1,767 games played in an NHL career that spanned five decades, Howe is the all-time NHL leader for games played by 11 games over Mark Messier and is second on the all-time points list with 1,850.

    Howe scored 1,809 of those points with the Detroit Red Wings in just 1,687 games.

    The numbers really don't do Gordie Howe justice for what he did over the course of his NHL career, as he won four Stanley Cups and helped the Red Wings win seven consecutive league championships in the late 1940s and early to mid-1950s.

    He is an obvious No. 1 on this list.

    All statistics via NHL.com.