It is the United States of America’s Independence Day. Many of you reading this may not care but if you know an American, you know just how important today is to them. Hockey may be the last thing on everyone’s mind today, luckily I am here to remind you of the five best American players that have stepped on the ice for the Detroit Red Wings. Let’s make it happen, America.
5. Justin Abdelkader
I am sure the inclusion of Justin Abdelkader will ruffle more than a few feathers. On the current version of the Red Wings, he is only a complimentary player that hasn’t scored more than 44 points in a season. That doesn’t change the fact that Abdelkader is fifth among Americans in scoring all-time for the Red Wings though. He will most likely be remembered as a pest that frustrated a lot of NHL teams, not a terrible legacy to leave. If he can keep this pace up though, he may end up higher on this list in the year’s ahead. Who would’ve thought?
4. Brett Hull
Brett Hull may be remembered more for his time with the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars, it shouldn’t be forgotten, that he had a very successful campaign in Detroit. Second in scoring among Americans in team history, his time was short and sweet with the Wings. He will mostly be remembered for the Stanley Cup he helped deliver in his first year with the team. When you do that, you’ll always be a legend in Motown.
3. Brian Rafalski
If you are a Devils fan, turn away now. This may not be the time to read this next little blurb. He is third in scoring among Americans in team history, falling only a few points short of Brett Hull. Much like Hull, his time with the team was short lived. Also like Hull, he got a Stanley Cup in his first year with the team. The trend of legendary Americans coming to the Wings and succeeding isn’t so bad, right? (Erase Mike Modano out of your head, people.)
2. Chris Chelios
After many successful years with the Canadiens and Blackhawks, Chelios was traded to the Red Wings where he immediately became beloved in the Motor City. After two Stanley Cups and a career that spanned 578 games, it isn’t hard to figure out why he was so beloved. He epitomized what Detroit was about during his time with the team, hard working and strong willed. He will forever be a staple in this mid-western town. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that he is high on this list.
1. Reed Larson
Since I was only born in 1992, my memory of Reed Larson is non-existent. That isn’t to say he isn’t a great player, just before my time. Looking over the history books, Larson should be considered an American legend for what he was able to do on a bad Wings team in the 80’s. Larson owns almost every single American record in team history including points, goals and assists. He also owns all of those records as a defenseman, not too easy of an accomplishment if you ask me. While you appreciate everything you have on July 4th, makes sure to also appreciate the best American player in Red Wings history, Reed Larson. A true unsung hero.