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Red Wings To Retire Red Kelly’s No. 4

Come February 1, 2019, there will be another number hanging from the rafters of Little Caesars Arena. Chris Illitch announced today that the Red Wings will be retiring number 4 this season, in honor of legendary defenseman Red Kelly.

Kelly played for almost 13 seasons in the Winged Wheel, amassing 162 goals and 472 points in the 862 games that he suited up for. He was the Norris Trophy winner after the Red Wings 1953-54 season in which they won the Stanley Cup and a Norris Trophy finalist in the three seasons that followed. Kelly also won the Lady Byng Trophy three times as a Red Wing, was a Hart Trophy finalist, a Calder Trophy finalist in his rookie season, and made eight All-Star Game appearances.

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When his time was up with the Red Wings in the 1959-60 season, Kelly was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs where he was moved to center and added another 119 goals and 351 points in 470 games. He won another Lady Byng Trophy as a Leaf and added four Stanley Cups to the four he had already won in Detroit.

Overall, Kelly played in 1,316 NHL games, recording 281 points, 542 assists, and 823 points. He has his name on the Stanley Cup eight times, the Lady Byng four times, and the Norris Trophy once. He was a legendary player who was a key cog in Detroit’s dynasty team through the ’50s.

Fittingly, the Wings’ February 1st game is against the Toronto Maple Leafs, so both of the teams he played for will be present to honor him.

It’s not often that a player gets his number raised to the rafters in Detroit, so this is a huge deal for the Kelly family. Illitch acknowledged that the franchise is very deliberate about making these decisions.

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So what does that mean about Sergei Fedorov?

“Let’s see what the future holds,” said Illitch.

In the meantime, we’ll have to get used to seeing number four hanging from the rafters, a well-deserved addition.