Best Detroit Red Wings by Jersey Number: 71-80


The Detroit Red Wings have a storied history as an Original Six Franchise. Many have worn the Winged Wheel on the front of the sweater and shared a number with another on the back. Some of those numbers hang proudly in the rafters. Others are forgotten and given to the next person on the roster.

Over the next week and a half, Octopus Thrower will write-up the greatest names to wear every number (where applicable). Today we continue with #’s 71-80.

#71-Jiri Slegr

Playing a grand total of 9 games for the Detroit Red Wings, Jiri Slegr has one of the shortest but more successful stints in Red Wings history. Acquired near the trade deadline in March of 2002, Slegr joined a Red Wings team destined to lift the Stanley Cup. Slegr did not have a major impact on the eventual outcome of the season only tallying one assist in his 9 total games with Detroit. Nevertheless Slegr added depth to an unbelievable roster and eventually hoisted the cup. Doing so he became a member of the exclusive “Triple Gold Club”.

Other notables who wore #71 – Wendel Clark and Dan Cleary

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#72-Brad Smith

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How can “Motor City Smitty” not make the cut out of the 6 Detroit Red Wings to ever wear a number 71-80? Brad Smith was a hard-nosed, hard-working, defensive forward that spent most of his career splitting time between the NHL and AHL. Detroit was no exception where Smith spent most of his time with the Adirondack Red Wings. Smith ended his time in Detroit on a high note by earning a spot on the 1984-1985 AHL All-Star Team with 72 points for Adirondack. He was then rewarded by being called up for the final game of the season and the rest of the playoffs with Detroit. Smith did well enough to earn a free agent contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs where he had his best NHL seasons.

Other notables who wore #72 – Erik Cole

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#77-Paul Coffey

Definitely the most deserving candidate on today’s list, Paul Coffey’s resume speaks for itself. Holding the record of most goals in a season by a defenceman with 48, Paul Coffey was one of the most offensively gifted players of all time at his position. Amassing 396 goals and 1,135 assists in 1,409 games Coffey ranks 2nd all time to Ray Bourque in NHL history for a defenceman. What is more impressive is that Coffey actually had a higher career point per game average than Bourque. Even though Coffey never helped Detroit win the cup, he was still an early mentor to Nicklas Lidstrom and an alternate captain for the Red Wings. Coffey did have success earlier winning the Stanley Cup three times with the Edmonton Oilers and once with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Coffey cemented his legacy as a clutch performer in the 1985 Stanley Cup Playoffs by setting the record for goals (12), assists (25), and points (37) by a defenceman in a single playoff campaign. Paul Coffey’s speed and skill will likely not be matched in the near future.

Other notables who wore #77 – N/A

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Next: Numbers 61-70