Teemu Selanne is set to step on the ice in Winnipeg for the first time in nearly 16 years when the Anaheim Ducks visit the new version of the Jets on Saturday.
The former Jets superstar’s return to the ‘Peg has many fans filled with a sense of nostalgia and has many wondering who the greatest Jets of all-time are.
In honour of Selanne’s return to Winnipeg, here is a list of the top 10 Winnipeg Jets of all-time, as voted on by sportsnet.ca users:
1) Dale Hawerchuk
The first overall pick in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft was the face of the Jets for nearly a decade. In nine seasons with Jets, Hawerchuk reached the 100-point mark six times. Hawerchuk eventually moved on to the Buffalo Sabres and finished his career with the Philadelphia Flyers, but number 10 will always be a Jet to the fans in Winnipeg. The centre was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.
2) Bobby Hull
Although he spent most of his career with the Chicago Blackhawks, Hull played eight seasons with the Jets. Hull was the first player to register 50 goals in a season and is lauded as the man that revolutionized how players shot the puck. Hull played for the Jets from 1972-1979 when the Jets were a part of the World Hockey Association (WHA).
3) Teemu Selanne
The Finnish Flash is turning into one of the ageless wonders of hockey as he is still putting up solid numbers at age 41. Selanne scored 76 goals in his remarkable 132-point rookie season with the Jets, setting the foundation for his Hall of Fame caliber career. Selanne spent the better part of four seasons with the Jets before being traded to Anaheim during the 1995-96 season. His iconic goal celebration when he threw one of his gloves in the air and proceeded to shoot it with his hickey stick remains one of the most iconic moments in Winnipeg sports history.
4) Thomas Steen
Steen played 14 seasons in the NHL and every time he laced up his skates it was for the Jets. In 950 games Steen totaled 817 points. He is regarded as the one of the most underrated players in NHL history. Although born in Sweden, Steen has called Winnipeg home since the 1980s. Steen is currently a city councillor for the Elmwood – East Kildonan district in Winnipeg.
5) Anders Hedberg
The Swedish winger only played with the Jets from 1974-1978, but those four seasons were quite memorable. In 286 games with Winnipeg in the WHA, Hedberg scored an incredible 236 goals and had 458 points. Hedberg went on to finish his hockey career with the New York Rangers but never put up numbers like he did during his time with the Jets.
6) Shane Doan
The Phoenix Coyotes captain is the only player left that is still with the original Jets franchise. Doan only spent one season in a Jets uniform — his rookie year — before the team moved to Phoenix. Still, Doan represented the modern face of the Jets franchise prior to the Atlanta Thrashers moving to Winnipeg in the summer and becoming the new Jets.
7) Keith Tkachuk
The American power forward was drafted 19th overall by the Jets in 1990 and spent his first five seasons playing in Winnipeg before the team relocated to Phoenix. Tkachuk steadily improved with the Jets and in the 1995-96 season scored 50 goals and 98 points, his best year with the Jets. Tkachuk could one day find himself in the Hockey Hall of Fame and it all started in Winnipeg.
8) Phil Housley
The American defenceman only played three seasons in Winnipeg but is undoubtedly one of the most talented players to ever put on a Jets uniform. Housley had 259 points in 232 games with the Jets. Impressive numbers from a blueliner.
9) Dave Babych
Babych was selected second overall by the Jets in 1980 and played five-and-a-half season with the team before being traded to the Hartford Whalers midway through the 1985-86 campaign. Fans were not happy with the trade as the deal wasn’t beneficial to the team and Babych played well for the Whalers for six seasons. Babych never put up huge point totals but was a leader on an off the ice and remains in the hearts of Jets fans to this day.
10) Ulf Nilsson
Nilsson, like his former teammates Anders Hedberg, was one of the first European players to have a significant impact on North American hockey. In four seasons with the Jets, Nilsson put up excellent numbers, totaling 484 points in 300 games. He was the WHA playoff MVP with the Jets in 1976.