Sept 28, 2011; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Red Wings right wing Patrick Eaves (17) skates with the puck during the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. The Blackhawks beat the Red Wings 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

Number 17 on the Roster, But Number One in Your Heart

With the news coming out about how Patrick Eaves is still having trouble with his concussion. I thought it would be a good time to look at the previous Red Wings who have donned the number 17.


Gerard Gallant – Gallant played with the Red Wings from 1984-93. During his tenure with the Red Wings he was a power forward recording less than 100 PIM only once, which was during his rookie season. In his rookie season, he split time between Detroit and Adirondack, recording 66 PIM in the NHL and another 131 PIM in the AHL. He was a team leader and served as an alternate captain to Danny Gare and Steve Yzerman. He was also a fixture of the Detroit Red Wings top line alongside Yzerman. Currently he is coaching the St. John Sea Dogs.


Doug Brown – Brown was claimed off of waivers from the Penguins and instantly made his mark on the team. He was not counted on to put up a lot of points for the Red Wings, but he was a solid contributor to the team with his fast paced play and solid defensive skills. He helped the Red Wings win back to back Stanley Cups with 6 points in each playoff run. In 1998 he was selected in the NHL Expansion draft by Nashville. The Red Wings promptly traded Petr Sykora, a 3rd round pick, and a 4th round compensatory pick to bring Brown back to the team. Brown’s skills and leadership were a large part of the Red Wings success. Brown was not a flashy player, but he wore down the other team and became a fan favourite.


Brett Hull – He is Brett Hull. Is there anything else I have to say about him? Hull was a prolific scorer in the NHL and came to Detroit after the Stars chose not to exercise their 7 million dollar option. Hull ended up passing on stronger financial offers to join the Red Wings for a chance to win the Cup one more time. In his first season Hull played on the “Two Kids and a GOAT” line with Pavel Datsyuk and Boyd Devereaux. He helped mentor Datsyuk and Boyd while tallying 30 goals and 63 points. In the playoffs he led the Red Wings with 10 goals and was able to lift Lord Stanley over his head once more. After his two year deal ended, he re-signed with Detroit for another season. During his time in Detroit he scored his 700th goal. The 2004-05 lockout effectively ended his illustrious NHL career. He played 5 more games with Phoenix before retiring, but his last full season was as a Red Wing.

1992-1994, 2007-2008

Dallas Drake – Dallas Drake first joined the team in 1992 after being drafted in the 6th round in the 1989 draft. He was with the Red Wings for a year and a half before being traded to the Winnipeg Jets along with Tim Cheveldae for Bob Essensa and Sergei Bautin. A trade in which the Red Wings lost heavily as Cheveldae played a few more years and Drake went on to have a solid career in the NHL. In 2007 The St. Louis Blues placed him on waivers and bought out the remainder of his contract. Drake decided to sign with Detroit, who had drafted him, because he wanted to win a Stanley Cup. Drake became a fan favourite because of his previous ties to the Red Wings and because he fought Corey “Sore Loser” Perry. He went on to win his Stanley Cup and had the trophy handed to him first by Nick “TPH” Lidstrom.


Patrick Eaves – Eaves had not been the same player since April 2007. He received a concussion from Pittsburgh Penguin Colby Armstrong and had to be carried off the ice with a stretcher. In the two seasons that followed he bounced from Ottawa to Carolina and then to Boston where he never played, because Boston bought out his contract. Patrick was then signed by the Red Wings to a one year deal in 2009. In his first season with the Wings he looked like he was turning back into the player that the Ottawa Senators had drafted. The Wings re-signed him to a new one year deal after the season was over and Eaves once again proved his worth to the organization. In 2011 the Wings signed Eaves to a three year contract to solidify the Wings 3rd and 4th lines. Sadly just 22 games into the season Eaves was hit in the head with a puck which broke his jaw and gave him another concussion. Eaves did not play another game with the Red Wings last season and is still side-lined with concussion symptoms.

While, the strongest candidate for the best Red Wings player to ever wear 17 is Brett Hull, my favourite #17 is Doug Brown. He was not a flashy player and he never put up a lot of points, but he did what he had to do. He contributed to the team offensively and most importantly defensively. Eaves is a close second because he has a great defensive game and a quick, smooth shot. While he is currently on the side-lines and not cleared to play, he is not forgotten by the Red Wings fans. Here is to hoping that once the season starts Eaves will on the ice.

Who is your favourite Red Wing to wear the number 17?

  • Brett Hull (28%, 22 Votes)
  • Doug Brown (22%, 17 Votes)
  • Patrick Eaves (19%, 15 Votes)
  • Gerard Gallant (17%, 13 Votes)
  • Dallas Drake (13%, 10 Votes)
  • Other (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 78

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Tags: Brett Hull Dallas Drake Detroit Red Wings Doug Brown Gerard Gallant Patrick Eaves

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