Fresh off the NFL Network's special about the top ten Pittsburgh Steelers, what would happen if you ranked the city's best hockey players? Below are the top ten Pittsburgh Penguins of all time.
10. PAUL COFFEY (1987/88 - 1991/92)
331 games played, 108 goals, 332 assists, 440 points, 573 penalty minutes, -50 plus/minus
When Paul Coffey joined the Penguins, they were a team that hadn't made the playoffs in five years. Coming from the Edmonton Oilers dynasty of the 1980s, Coffey helped elevate the Penguins into Stanley Cup contenders themselves with his awesome skating and ability with the puck. Though he only played four and a half seasons in Pittsburgh, Coffey is easily the franchise's leading defenseman scorer in goals, assists and points.
9. KEVIN STEVENS (1987/88 - 1994/95, 2000/01-01-02)
522 gp, 260g, 295a, 555p, 1,048 PIMs, -40
For a short time in the early '90s, before being derailed by injury, Kevin Stevens was the most powerful force in hockey. No player (other than a certain tall, French-Canadian center) recorded more points in the playoffs for the Pens in their early '90s Cup runs. Big "Artie" still ranks number one in franchise history in penalty minutes and is one of a select few players to ever score 50 goals and get 250 PIMs in the same season.
8. EVGENI MALKIN (2006/07 - current)
341 gp, 156g, 257a, 413p, +27, 354 PIMs
As Malkin's career continues to blossom he should improve his ranking on this list, but for now we'll slot the Russian No. 8 for all-time Pens. Malkin is quickly climbing the all-time team leader board in all categories, and other than Mario Lemieux, he's the only player that earned a Conn Smythe trophy wearing black and gold. Blessed with size and skill, there's no reason to think Malkin wouldn't wind up among the team's greats if he spends his career in Pittsburgh.
7. RICK KEHOE (1974/75 - 1984/85)
722gp, 312g, 324a, 626p, -86, 88 PIMs
Kehoe was a model of consistency for the Pens in the pre-Lemieux days, and he is near the top of the ledger in several key offensive categories. Only three men have more games played for the Pens, only two have scored more goals for the franchise, and Kehoe's still ranks third for all-time points. He wasn't flashy or a star, but he stuck around for a long time, including 15 seasons as a coach after his playing days were over.
6. TOM BARRASSO (1988/89 - 1999/00)
460 gp, 226 wins, 153 losses, .896 save percentage, 3.27 goals against average, 22 shutouts
Though the Pens' current goalie is quickly catching up to his numbers, Tom Barrasso remains the single franchise record holder for every meaningful goaltending statistic in team history. Most games, wins, shutouts? All Tommy B. Of course, there's a flip side to it too - no Penguin goalie has currently lost more games or ceded more goals than Barrasso. Still, Barrasso held the fort for an incredibly offensive-minded Penguins juggernaut and he was often called on to bail them out for miscues. Without Barrasso's contributions, there's no way the Pens would have won their first pair of Stanley Cups.
5. JEAN PRONOVOST (1968/69 - 1978/79)
753gp, 316g, 287a, 603p, +32, 306 PIMs
Jean Pronovost was the Pens first star in the early days of the franchise, He had four 40-goal seasons as a Penguin and he set the bar for games played and goals for the team. (Both have since been surpassed, but Pronovost still ranks third in both categories.) In 1975-76, Pronovost and teammate Pierre Larouche became the first players in franchise history to break 100 points in a single season.
4. RON FRANCIS (1990/91 - 1997/98)
533 gp, 164g, 449a, 613p, +70, 235 PIMs
The deadline addition of Ron Francis propelled the Penguins to the Stanley Cup in 1991 and another the following year, when many felt Francis was the best player on the ice at times. A natural playmaker, Francis tallied 92 assists in 1995-96, the most for any Penguin not named Lemieux in a single season. Ronnie Franchise topped 62 helpers in five of his six full seasons in Pittsburgh. Francis was largely outshined by higher-profile teammates, but his steady play and uncanny puck presence earns him a spot near the top of this list.
3. SIDNEY CROSBY (2005/06 - current)
408gp, 213g, 354a, 567p, +63, 385 PIMs
Arriving with all the hype in the world, Sidney Crosby has not only lived up to expectations, he's even exceeding them. The former No. 1 overall pick cracked 100 points in the NHL as an 18-year-old, has won a scoring title and league MVP, shared the Rocket Richard Trophy, and captained his team to a Stanley Cup. All of that in the first five years of his NHL career. With a tireless work ethic he's turned weaknesses of his game like his shot and faceoff abilities into now ranking amongst best in the league in those categories. The sky is seemingly the limit for what Crosby can accomplish in Pittsburgh, and though he's only 23 years old and has more chapters of his story unwritten, he's already proven to be one of the greatest Penguins of all time.
2. JAROMIR JAGR (1990/91 - 2000/01)
806gp, 439g, 640a, 1,079p, +207, 593 PIMs
Almost a decade after his departure, Jaromir Jagr still leaves a bitter taste for many fans. His mercurial and strange attitude aside, though, what the right winger accomplished on the ice can not be denied. He ranks second in team history in practically every major offensive metric, and he's even first in some, like game-winning goals. Jagr was the most dominant and best offensive player in the entire league for the latter half of his Penguin career, and while he left something to be desired with his moodiness, there's no doubt he was one of the most important, and best players Pittsburgh will ever be fortunate to see.
1. MARIO LEMIEUX (1984/85 - 1996/97, 2000/01 - 2005/06)
915gp: 690g, 1,033a, 1,723p, +115, 834 PIMs, 49 SHG,
It's no stretch to say Lemieux has meant more to the Pittsburgh Penguins than any one athlete has meant to any professional franchise. In the 1980's he saved the team from relocation when he captured a city's imagination with his grace and skill. In the '90s he brought two Stanley Cups and took over the team in a bankruptcy court. In the 2000's he returned to the ice but more importantly hammered out a deal to secure funding for what became the CONSOL Energy Center. Omitted from this is three Hart trophies, four Lester B. Pearson awards, and five scoring titles - one of which Lemieux earned while undergoing treatment for the cancer that he beat. Lemieux turned Pittsburgh into a hockey town, he's the reason the team is still around to this day. "Le Magnifique," indeed.
Honorable Mention: Syl Apps, Marc-Andre Fleury, Martin Straka, Ron Stackhouse