Hooked On Hockey Magazine

Top 5 Pittsburgh Penguins Players of All-Time

It’s no secret that the Pittsburgh Penguins are a talent-filled franchise. Not even fifty years into existence, they’re already famous for having some of the greatest names to ever play, such as Les Binkley, Pierre Larouche, Jean Pronovost, Syl Apps, Rick Kehoe, Jaromir Jagr, Marc Andre Fleury, Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin. Honestly, the list could go on and on.

Despite that, though, there are a certain five players who stick out from the rest – who are the greatest of the great and thus deserve some extra recognition for it. Take a look at them below.

5. Paul Coffey

He may have only been with the organization for five years, but it doesn’t show.

Coffey is the lone defenseman in team history to score over 100 points in a single season – and he did it twice. He’s also seventh all-time on the team in assists (332) and 11th all-time in points (440). His best season with the pens was 1988-89, with a total of 30 goals and 83 assists. Two years later, he went on to become one of the vital forces on the Penguins’ first two Cup-winning teams.

Overall, Coffey scored 440 points in the 331 games of his career in Pittsburgh – well over an average of one point a night – which is safe to say impacted the organization greatly.

4. Tom Barrasso

As starting goaltender for twelve straight years and one of the most important players behind two of the organization’s three Stanley Cups – the first being due to his infamous, series-ending 8-0 shutout against Minnesota in the ’91 Finals – Barrasso is by far one of the most beloved Penguins in team history.

Aside from earning the aforementioned two Cups as well as leading the franchise to its very first Presidents’ Trophy in the 1992-93 season, Barrasso reigned first on the team for all-time number of games won (226), shutouts recorded (22) and games played among goalies (460), as well as for number of shutouts in a single season (7), until Marc Andre Fleury recently surpassed them all.

His phenomenal goals against average of 3.27 must also be mentioned – as well as his incredible love for the franchise. Anyone remember that pro forma contract?

Next 3 Players In The List

3. Ron Francis

A center from 1991-98, Francis was practically a second Mario Lemieux – which makes sense since he’s the only player on the team other than Lemieux to ever score more than 90 assists in a season.

Ranking sixth all-time for number of team points (613), fourth all-time for number of team assists (449) and putting up six seasons where he scored at least 90 points, he’s by far one of the best offensive players the Penguins have ever had.

But Francis was good defensively, too, as he showed when he became the first Penguin to win the Selke Trophy in 1995. Also that same year, he won the Lady Byng, becoming the first player in NHL history to win both awards in the same season. During that time, Francis was also serving as the team’s captain in Lemieux’s absence, which he would go on to do yet again in 1997-98, thus proving how much of a leader he truly was.

2. Sidney Crosby

As the best player in the world since about the first night he stepped on the ice, it’s no wonder Crosby falls second here.

His accomplishments go on and on, and they’re only going to grow even more. So far, Crosby has 627 games under his belt, with 302 goals and 551 assists. He holds top-twenty spots for seven different team records and has won a Stanley Cup, six NHL awards and two Olympic gold medals. He’s also about to mark a whole decade playing with the Penguins, yet he’s showing no signs of quitting any time soon. He’s truly remarkable.

With all that aside, though, Crosby is just a generally great guy that the organization and all of its fans are proud to call their own. Sure, he may not have had the easiest career, especially health-wise, but he’s overcome, choosing to always stick with the Penguins anyway, which says a lot.

1. Mario Lemieux

Of course the greatest man to ever play hockey tops this list.

Lemieux’s track record is even longer than Crosby’s. Playing in the Penguins organization for a total of 17 years – even despite severe injuries and cancer – Lemieux landed himself two Stanley Cups, six NHL scoring titles, three league MVP awards and two Conn Smythes, as well as six other honors.

He’s the franchise’s all-time leader in goals (690), assists (1033), points (1723), power-play goals (236), shorthanded goals (49), shots on net (3633), and games played (915). He also holds four of the team’s single-season records. And let’s not forget that he’s the only player ever to score five goals in five different ways during only one game.

The naming of all his on-ice NHL achievements could go on for the next hour, but it’s also important to note how Lemieux purchased the Penguins in order to save the team from bankruptcy. He then went on to win a third Stanley Cup in 2009 as owner. Now that is truly something.

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Leah Devorak

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Leah Devorak is an avid hockey lover who is studying journalism at one of the city's many universities. Aside from reporting on the Penguins, she spends her time blogging and writing for her university's award-winning newspaper, where she is an editor.
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