Steve Yzerman is a former NHL superstar who played 22 seasons in the league, all with the Detroit Red Wings. He played in Detroit from 1983 to 2006 and captained the team for 19 of his 22 seasons. Yzerman led the Red Wings to three Stanley Cup championships during his career and helped make them an NHL powerhouse for over two decades. He is an all-time great player and often regarded as one of the most underrated players in NHL history.
Steve Yzerman was drafted fourth overall in the 1983 NHL Draft by the Detroit Red Wings. He began playing for Detroit the following season in 1983-84. He quickly became a star for the Red Wings, scoring 87 points in 80 games in his rookie year. Throughout the 1980s, Yzerman showed what a tremendous player, and leader, he would be for Detroit. Just prior to the start of the 1986-87 season, Yzerman was named team captain at just 21 years old. The next year, in 1987-88, he would have his first 100+ point season.
Yzerman had his best NHL season in 1988-89, when he scored 65 goals, 90 assists, and 155 points. Despite Yzerman’s rise to prominence, the Red Wings struggled to find playoff success. He continued to put up 100+ point seasons in the early 1990s, but the Red Wings did not make it to a Stanley Cup Final until 1995. Ultimately, they lost to the New Jersey Devils.
The Red Wings made it back to the Stanley Cup Finals two years later in 1997. Yzerman finally led the team to the promised land, sweeping the Philadelphia Flyers and winning Detroit’s first Stanley Cup in 42 years. The Red Wings would win again in 1998, bringing back to back Cups home to Detroit.
By this point, Yzerman was getting older, but he was still a star forward and leader of the Red Wings. In 2002, he would win his third and final Stanley Cup as a player. He continued to play for Detroit through the 2005-06 season, but injuries and age caught up to him. After the 2005-06 season, he announced his retirement from the NHL after 22 seasons.
Records and Awards
Steve Yzerman won numerous awards throughout his NHL career. The most notable of those awards are:
Stanley Cup three times (1997, 1998, 2002)
Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP) once (1998)
Selke Trophy (Best Defensive Forward) once (2000)
Lester B. Pearson Award (Most Outstanding Player) once (1989)
Masterton Trophy (Dedication to Hockey) once (2003)
Yzerman also holds the record for longest-serving captain in NHL history. He was the Red Wings captain for 19 seasons and a whopping 1,303 games. He is also top ten in NHL history in career goals, assists, and points.
On top of his tremendous NHL career, Yzerman represented Team Canada internationally throughout his career. He won a bronze medal at the 1983 World Junior Championships, a gold at the 1984 Canada Cup, a silver at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, and an Olympic gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in the twilight of his career. Yzerman found much success in his international career with Team Canada, just like he did in the NHL.
Steve Yzerman is one of the greatest players in NHL history. He is an icon in Detroit and is now the general manager of the Red Wings, after many successful years in the same position for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
He is one of the few superstar athletes that spent his entire career with a single franchise. Yzerman is known for being one of the greatest leaders ever, not just in hockey, but across all sports. His #19 is retired by the Red Wings and he is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.