After Chris Chelios' jersey retirement, which Blackhawks legend is next?

After Chris Chelios' jersey retirement, which Blackhawks legend is next? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Chicago Blackhawks have officially retired their eighth jersey (since Keith Magnuson and Pierre Pilote share No. 3), sending Chris Cheilos' No. 7 up to the rafters on Sunday afternoon.

He joined Glenn Hall (No. 1), Keith Magnuson (No. 3), Pierre Pilote (No. 3), Bobby Hull (No. 9), Denis Savard (No. 18), Stan Mikita (No. 21), Tony Esposito (No. 35) and Marian Hossa (No. 81).

Chelios spent nine of his 26 NHL seasons in his hometown of Chicago, where he produced 487 points (92 goals, 395 assists) in 664 regular-season games and added 48 points (12 goals, 36 assists) in 65 postseason contests. His 487 points rank fourth among defensemen in franchise history.

During his time with the Blackhawks, Chelios appeared in five NHL All-Star Games, captured two Norris Trophies as the league's top defenseman, and even garnered Hart Trophy votes — for league MVP — in two of the seasons. He also served as the team captain from 1995-99.

Chelios was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 8, 2013.

Naturally, the decision to retire Chelios' number begs another question for Blackhawks fans: Which players will be next to see their jersey numbers hoisted to the rafters of the United Center?

Here are our best guesses as to which players could potentially be considered for that honor.

2 – Duncan Keith

It’s a foregone conclusion that his number will be retired as one of, if not the best, defensemen to ever play for the Blackhawks.

In addition to his three Stanley Cups, Keith is second on the Blackhawks in games played at 1,192, sixth in assists with 520, and 10th in career points with 625.

He will also, in all likelihood, be a Hall of Famer thanks to his two Norris Trophies and his 2015 Conn Smythe Trophy, so that will punch his ticket into Blackhawks immortality.

4 – Niklas Hjalmarsson

While the Blackhawks tend to stick to Hockey Hall of Famers when it comes to retiring jerseys (Magnuson is the only retired legend not to be enshrined in Toronto), Hjalmarsson has a good argument as a key cog in three Stanley Cup winners in Chicago.

7 – Brent Seabrook

Although the Blackhawks didn't opt to retire both Chelios and Brent Seabrook together, like the Chicago Cubs did with Greg Maddux and Ferguson Jenkins, there's still an argument to be made that Seabrook deserves the honor, too.

Seabrook played an important role on three Stanley Cup-winning teams, was an Olympian, and played 1,114 games with the Blackhawks, eclipsed only by Mikita and Keith.

Chelios has already stated he would "be more than happy to share another No. 7" in the United Center rafers

10 – Patrick Sharp

Sharp would be considered a long shot for a jersey retirement, but with four 30-goal seasons and three Stanley Cups to his credit, along with his huge popularity among fans, one cannot rule out this type of honor for the winger.

19 – Jonathan Toews

While it’s blindingly obvious that the captain of three championship-winning teams would be honored with a jersey retirement, we’ll throw out some numbers anyway. Toews is one of eight players to play at least 1,000 games with the Blackhawks, is sixth all-time in goals with 355, is eighth all-time in assists, and is tied with Patrick Kane with 67 game-winning goals.

The only real question would be whether the Blackhawks would also honor Troy Murray by retiring his number. In addition to being the team’s radio analyst, he also scored 197 goals and dished out 291 assists in 688 games. He also won a Selke Trophy in 1986 and finished in the top 10 in voting for that award on three occasions.

27 – Jeremy Roenick

While Roenick is not a Hockey Hall of Famer, he has a really strong resume, with 513 goals in 1,363 NHL games. He scored 267 of those goals in eight seasons with the Blackhawks, including back-to-back 50-goal seasons in the 1990’s.

28 – Steve Larmer

Any list of potential honorees by the Blackhawks has to include Larmer. He played 891 games in Chicago, with 406 goals and 517 assists to his credit. He won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie in 1983, finished in the top-ten in Hart Trophy voting in 1991, and was a finalist for the Selke that same year.

He’s in the top 10 for the Blackhawks in goals and assists.

50 – Corey Crawford

While Tony Esposito is considered by many to be the greatest goaltender in Blackhawks history, Crawford also has a compelling argument to be considered for that honor. He is third all-time in wins with 260, second all-time in save percentage at .918, and third in goals against average with a 2.45 in that category.

He already had his No. 29 retired by the IceHogs early this year.

Crawford had a compelling argument to win the Conn Smythe during the 2013 playoffs, with a .932 save percentage and a sparkling 1.84 goals against average, and back-stopped the team to two Stanley Cup titles.

But that award was ultimately won by none other than...

88 – Patrick Kane

It seems clear that Kane and Toews will someday have statues outside the United Center next to those honoring Mikita and Hull, and there’s a good reason for that. Kane has played 1161 games for Chicago, third-most all-time, and is third on the team in goals and second on the team in assists in the history of the organization.

In addition to the fact that he’s the first American-born player to win the Hart Trophy and the Art Ross, he will have his jersey retired when he hangs up his skates. Plus, Chelios said he will be the greatest American-born player of all time.

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