Chicago Blackhawks: Was Marian Hossa the most important signing ever?


While Chicago Blackhawks fans celebrated Marian Hossa Day recently, I look back and tell you why he was the most important free agent in Chicago sports history.

If you wanted to tell a modern history of the Chicago Blackhawks, a logical starting point might be before and after Bill Wertz. However, if you zoomed out a bit, you may realize the Blackhawks didn’t become the Blackhawks until July 1, 2009 — the day they signed Marian Hossa.

The most important free agent in Chicago sports history.

After losing to Hossa’s Detroit Red Wings team that summer in the conference finals, Chicago seemed to be on the doorstep of something special. Two young, up-and-coming stars in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews had the Hawks going in the right direction, but then-general manager Dale Tallon knew he still lacked something in his organization. Hossa was the perfect player to fit into head coach Joel Quenneville’s system, who had just taken over for Hawks legend Denis Savard a year earlier.

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Hossa’s Blackhawks career speaks for itself. He will walk into the Hockey Hall of Fame (likely wearing the Indian Head sweater), but it is hard to imagine what the Hawks would look like if No. 81 never took his talents to the Windy City.

There was no bigger moment than Hossa’s game-tying goal in 2010 against the Nashville Predators. If Chicago does not win that game, there is a good chance that they don’t win the series or even one Stanley Cup. That goal changed the history of the Chicago Blackhawks. That goal changed the history of Chicago sports.

So often you hear of teams that had all the talent to win multiple championships but for some reason just couldn’t get it done. Look no further than the 1985 Chicago Bears. This team had the talent and they got it done. Three cups in five years is worthy of being called a dynasty. What other free agent in Chicago can claim they were apart of something even remotely as special? What other player can you look at as the defining moment of turning a franchise around? Obviously, that goes assuming you are not named Michael Jeffrey Jordan.

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For all he did on the ice, 554 games played, 186 goals, 229 assists and a staggering plus-133, it can’t be understated the impact he had on the rest of his team. Patrick wouldn’t be Kane and the captain wouldn’t be as serious if they didn’t have Hossa to look up to.

The Hawks wouldn’t have had the greatest run in Chicago sports outside of the 90’s Bulls if not for No. 81. Thank you, Marian, the most important free agent in Chicago sports history.