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Call to the Hall Honourable Mention: Marian Hossa

CALL TO THE HALL: Honorable Mention

Welcome to LWOS Hockey’s summer series, Call to the Hall, where we take a look at the next great player from each NHL franchise to get called to the Hockey Hall of Fame. There are a few caveats, the player must be active, and must have played 300 games (or 150 for goaltenders) with the franchise. Here, we take a look at some honorable mentions that could also have a case but did not make the cut in the regular series for a particular franchise.

The Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers have only a handful of memorable talents in the 16 years the franchise has been around. Players such as Dany Heatley, who’s career deteriorated over time spent in the NHL. Vyacheslav Kozlov, who doesn’t fit the bill in our ‘Call to the Hall’ series by being an active player in the NHL and Marc Savard, who unfortunately is in the same circumstance as Kozlov. As well, there’s also the notable Ilya Kovalchuk, but again regardless of him being arguably the greatest player in the franchise’s history, he isn’t an active player within the NHL, even if there are rumors indicating that he may return to the league sometime in the future.

However, there is still a player that has spent time playing as a member of the Thrashers, is still an active member of the NHL, and will more than likely be a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame sometime in the future, Marian Hossa.


Marian Hossa was first noticed in the pro hockey world playing in the Slovak Extraliga with Dukla Trencin. The season in which before he was drafted by the Ottawa Senators, Hossa scored 25 goals, 19 assists, good for 44 points in 46 games in Slovakia. After the regular season, his team would move on into the playoffs where he was able to rack up 10 more points, split evenly (five goals, five assists), in just seven games. This would help elevate Hossa in the 1997 NHL entry draft rankings, as he was the third European player to be drafted that year (after Olli Jokinen and Sergei Samsonov) and 12th overall. Shortly afterwards, Hossa would also go on to be drafted fifth overall in the 1997 Canadian Hockey League import draft by the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League.

After starting out the 1997-98 campaign with the Ottawa Senators and playing only seven games, Hossa would only land one lowly assist. The Senators’ management at the time thought it would be best for Marian to go to Portland and work on his game in the major juniors. From there, Hossa would ticket himself plenty of success. He ended his time with the Winterhawks on the highest of notes imaginable where he was able to tally 45 goals, 40 assists, good for 85 points, in just 53 games. That success of a season earned Hossa the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as the WHL rookie of the year. As well, Hossa was honoured with being on the WHL and CHL first team all star. This was all a major factor that helped lead the Winterhawks to a President’s Cup (WHL champions) and then on route to becoming the 1998 Memorial Cup champions. With having seven points in four tournament games, this would land Hossa to be named on the Memorial Cup All Star team. Unfortunately, during the championship game, Hossa suffered a knee injury which would still affect him and keep him out of action at the beginning of the next season.

Due to that knee injury from the Memorial Cup championship game, it would keep Hossa out of action for the next season (1998-99) for the first two months where he would legitimately begin his career in the NHL. Marian would still be able to pull through playing 60 games, tallying 15 goals and 15 assists in his first campaign with the Ottawa Senators. He would receive NHL All-Rookie honors and finish second in voting to Chris Drury for the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year. During the course of the next two seasons, Hossa continued to improve, scoring 29 goals, 56 assists in 1999-2000, and 32 goals, 75 points in 2000-01, which was second on team scoring to teammate Alexei Yashin and earning him his first NHL All-Star appearance.

Despite Hossa’s performance dropping to 66 points (31 goals, 35 assists) in the 2001-02 season, he would return to form in 2002-03 scoring a career high of 45 goals, with an added 35 assists for an even 80 points in 80 games, good for the best on the Senators, and again would appear in a NHL All-Star game. The next season of 2003-04 would be his last as a member of the Ottawa Senators but he went out with a bang. He racked up 36 goals and 46 assists for his very best of 82 points and again the team’s leading scorer. After the 2004-05 lockout, hockey was set to begin again but Hossa needed to sign a new contract. Hossa ended up signing a new three-year deal but would later find out that on the very same day, he would be dealt to the Atlanta Thrashers along with defenceman Greg de Vries in exchange for Dany Heatley.

In his first season with the Thrashers in 2005-06, being lined up with the Russian superstar, Ilya Kovalchuk, Hossa was able to top his best season by 10 points, notching 39 goals, and 53 assists, for a solid 92 points. To top that great first impression in Atlanta, Hossa would go on to be the first ever Thrasher to record the 100 point mark when he nailed 43 goals and 57 points in 2006-07, in which that record still stands in franchise history today as a single season record (something that even that mighty Kovalchuk was unable to do, being shy by two points at 98). During that season, he went off to his third All-Star game.  That performance helped push Atlanta to it’s first division clinch and playoff appearance. On top of that, Hossa, was named to Georgia’s Own Credit Union 3 Stars of the Year Award on both of those campaigns as the leading point scorer for the team.

In Hossa’s last year of his contract, the team and himself were unable to agree on an extension, forcing the Thrashers to move Hossa to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the trade deadline of 2007-08 along with Pascal Dupuis in exchange for Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, prospect Angelo Esposito, and a 2008 first round draft pick. However, before Hossa left for Pittsburgh he did leave on a high note recording 26 goals, and 56 points in 60 games with the Thrashers, appeared in his fourth All-Star game as a member of the Thrashers, and left an impression on the franchise that aforementioned, still stands today.

Marian went on and proved to be a helping hand of offense to a Penguins team that had a catalyst of help in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. He helped the Penguins rally to a 2008 Stanley Cup Finals appearance where he scored his first ever overtime playoff goal, and gather 26 points (third in the post-season behind Crosby and the Conn Smythe trophy winner, Henrik Zetterberg) in 20 post-season games for the Steel City’s hockey team. Unfortunately, the Penguins fell short to the Stanley Cup winning Detroit Red Wings in 6 games. After his stint in Pittsburgh, Hossa would find himself to be a free agent, where he decided to side with the Cup winning Wings.

Hossa had only went on to sign a one-year deal with Detroit. Hossa again would be prove to be a reliable and helpful piece on a team was wanting to repeat as champions. He eneded the 2008-09 regular season with 40 goals, 71 points in 74 games. Marian again would find himself to be a helping hand to push his team to the Stanley Cup finals, albeit his post-season performance wasn’t as strong as the year before with only amassing six goals, 9 assists in 23 games. During the finals, he would meet up to play against his old team, the Penguins, in a rematch for the cup. Again, Hossa was on the wrong end of the ice as he saw Pittsburgh celebrate this time with Lord Stanley.

Again, Hossa’s contract was up, he was a free agent, and was on the losing side in the finals. This time he would go on to ink a large 12-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. Hossa played 57 regular season games, racking up 51 points and helping the Chicago Blackhawks clinch a playoff spot and another run to the final showdown for Lord Stanley’s mug. Hossa became the first ever player to go the Stanley Cup Finals three consecutive times with three different teams. In the end, the Blackhawks were able to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers, captain Jonathan Toews raised the cup and passed it to Marian Hossa where only one word would probably come to his mind, finally.

Hossa, still a current member of the Blackhawks would go on to win two more cups with the Blackhawks in 2013 and just recently in 2015. In total, Hossa has played 1172 NHL career games while scoring 486 goals, 570 assists. That doesn’t include his 194 post-season games where he’s packed away 144 points. He’s won a memorial cup, appeared in five NHL All-Star games, five Stanley Cup Finals, winning three of them, and continues to write his legacy in the hockey world and in his home country of Slovakia. However, for Jets and old Thrashers fans, no one should forget or go without knowing what he had accomplished with the little tools and little time he had in Atlanta and most certainly know they’ll have a former player most undoubtedly headed to Hockey Hall of Fame in the future.

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