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Who Wore It Best?: the history of No. 25 with the Pittsburgh Penguins

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The latest installment of which Penguins player wore that number best.

Stanley Cup Finals - Pittsburgh Penguins v Detroit Red Wings - Game Seven Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Last summer, Pensburgh featured an article asking the question who wore the No. 3 the best. After over 700 votes, Ron Stackhouse took the honors with 47-percent of the votes, followed by Olli Maatta with 34-percent. This summer, we’ll check the pulse of Pensburgh again with a new installment of “Who wore it best?”

Here’s the introduction from last year’s article:

There have been many memorable jersey numbers given out in the history of the Penguins franchise. Only two numbers in the Penguins franchise have been retired, No. 21 of Michel Briere, whose life was unfortunately cut short at the young age of 21 when he was involved in a car accident in 1970. No player has ever worn the No. 21 for the Penguins since, and Briere’s jersey was officially retired in January of 2001. The other number retired is of course the No. 66 of former great Penguins player, and current team owner, Mario Lemieux. There are no words necessary to explain the reasoning behind his jersey hanging in the rafters, as he’s one of the greatest athletes of all time. The next number to be retired is most likely going to be Jaromir Jagr’s famous No. 68, which there’s plenty of time to argue one way or the other as Jagr may play until he’s 68 if a team is willing to give him a contract.

According to hockey-reference.com, the Penguins have given out 77 out of 99 98 possible numbers. Numbers 1-52 have all been assigned to current or former Penguin players. That brings me to the question, who wore it best?

Last year was No. 3 because it’s a number usually worn by defensemen l, which kept the playing field level. This year will be a little more different and will feature No. 25. It has a long history in Pittsburgh and is a very historic number in hockey. This list features several well-known forwards and defensemen. One player has a clear advantage in stats, one did something no other defensemen has ever done with Pittsburgh, and a certain one is noted for his unbelievable playoff run and memorable moments that make him a lifelong icon in Pittsburgh.

There have been 18 players who’ve worn No. 25 in Penguins’ franchise history. This list will be in chronological order and will only feature the players who played more than 40 games wearing the No. 25. Without further adieu, which Penguins player wore it the best?


Darryl Edestrand, LHD 1971-73

158 GP, 25 G, 47 A, 72 PTS, 140 PIM, 5 GWG

  • First player to wear No. 25 full-time with Pittsburgh.
  • Traded to Pittsburgh from Philadelphia for minor-league defenseman Barry Ashbee on May 22, 1970. Ashbee went on to play 270 games with the Flyers, recording 15 goals and 67 assists and also winning the Stanley Cup with the Flyers in 1974.
  • Traded from Pittsburgh to Boston for Nick Beverly on October 25, 1973, who also took No. 25 and is obviously the next player on this list.
  • Played in four Stanley Cup Playoff games with Pittsburgh in 1972 and recorded two assists.

Nick Beverly, RHD 1973-74

67 GP, 2 G, 14 A, 16 PTS, 21 PIM, 1 GWG

  • Played one game with Boston in 1973 and was traded to Pittsburgh on October 25, 1973 for Darryl Edestrand.
  • Played 67 games in Pittsburgh and was traded on May 27, 1974 to the New York Rangers for forward Vic Hadfield. Hadfield would play his final three NHL seasons with Pittsburgh, scoring 61 goals and 79 assists, totaling 140 points in 163 games. Hadfield became the sixth player in NHL history to record a 50-goal season in 1972 with the New York Rangers. He finished that season with 106 points in 78 games, finishing fifth for the Hart Trophy. His NHL career ended with Pittsburgh in 1976 when he injured his knee.
  • Was named General Manager of the Los Angeles Kings on June 25, 1992 until May 18, 1994. The Kings made it to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in their existence under his management in 1993, losing to the Montreal Canadiens in five games.

Dennis Owchar, RHD 1974-77

168 GP, 18 G, 49 A, 67 PTS, 146 PIM, 0 GWG

  • First Penguins draft pick to wear the number. Selected 55th overall in the 1973 draft.
  • Traded by Pittsburgh to Colorado Rockies for defenseman Tom Edur on December 2, 1977. Edur scored five goals and 38 assists, totaling 43 points in 58 games with the Penguins in 1977-78. According to Hockey Reference, Edur retired after that season at the age of 23 to study Christianity and was then selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1979 expansion draft. He did not return to professional hockey, however.
  • Played in eight Stanley Cup Playoff games with Pittsburgh in two seasons, recording one assist in 1975.

Randy Carlyle, LHD 1978-84

397 GP, 66 G, 257 A, 323 PTS, 582 PIM, 6 GWG

  • First and only Penguins defenseman to win the Norris Trophy in 1981. Recorded 16 goals and 67 assists for 83 points in 76 games. Also registered 136 PIM.
  • Was Penguins’ Captain from 1980-84.
  • Traded to Pittsburgh on June 14, 1978 with forward George Ferguson from Toronto for defenseman Dave Burrows. Burrows would play 151 games in three years with Toronto before being traded back to Pittsburgh in 1980. Ferguson played 310 games with Pittsburgh over five years, recording 89 goals and 106 assists, totaling 195 points. He was traded to Minnesota with what turned into the 1983 first overall pick (Brian Lawton) for defenseman Ron Meighan, forward Anders Hakansson, and Minnesota’s first-round pick in 1983. Meighan and Hakansson played a total of 103 games for Pittsburgh and combined for 11 goals and 18 assists. Hakansson woud play a bigger role later. Funnily enough, that first-round pick from Minnesota turned out to be Bob Errey.
  • Traded to Winnipeg on March 5, 1984 for Winnipeg’s first-round pick and defenseman Moe Mantha. The first-round pick turned into Doug Bodger, who was mentioned in last year’s article featuring No. 3. Moe Mantha would play four years with Pittsburgh, recording 37 goals and 131 assists totaling 168 points in 232 games. Mantha’s 168 points are good for seventh-most in Penguins’ history by defenseman (Bodger is eighth with 167 points, Carlyle is fourth with 323). Mantha was traded by the Penguins on November 24, 1987 with Craig Simpson, Dave Hanna, and Chris Joseph to Edmonton for Paul Coffey, Dave Hunter, and Wayne Van Dorp. Paul Coffey would end up scoring 108 goals and 332 assists for 440 points in only 331 games as a Penguin. Coffee’s 440 points are three more than Kris Letang’s 437 points in 682 games for the Penguins’ franchise lead in points by defenseman.
  • Played in 22 Stanley Cup Playoff games with Pittsburgh in four seasons, recording six goals and eight assists, totaling 14 points.
  • Current head coach of the Anaheim Ducks. Entering his 13th season as an NHL head coach. Has a career coaching record of 454-308-106 which equals a .584 career win percentage.
  • Won the Stanley Cup as head coach with the Ducks in 2007. Has a 49-41 career playoff record, equaling a .544 win percentage.

Kevin McCarthy, RHD 1984-85

64 GP, 9 G, 10 A, 19 PTS, 30 PIM, 0 GWG

  • Wore No. 24 in 1983-84 before switching to No. 25 in 1984-85.
  • Resigned with the Flyers in 1985 after being drafted by them 17th overall in the 1977 NHL Draft. He would only play in six more NHL games in two seasons before retiring with the Hershey Bears in 1988.

Norm Schmidt, RHD 1985-87

91 GP, 17 G, 21 A, 38 PTS, 61 PIM, 0 GWG

  • Drafted 70th overall by Pittsburgh in 1981.
  • Was also mentioned in last year’s article, wore No. 3 for 34 games in 1983-84.
  • Switched to No. 25 for the 1985-86 season and wore it until he retired in 1987 at the age of 25 after suffering a career ending back injury.
  • Played 112 games with Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliate, Baltimore Skipjacks, and 125 games with Pittsburgh from 1983-87.

Kevin Stevens, LW 1987-95; 2001-2002

522 GP, 260 G, 295 A, 555 PTS, 1,048 PIM, 27 GWG

  • Penguins acquired his rights on September 9, 1983 from the Los Angeles Kings for Anders Hakansson, mentioned above in the George Ferguson to Minnesota trade under Randy Carlyle.
  • Bounced between Penguins and minor leagues for first two professional years before becoming a full-time NHL player in 1989.
  • Played pivotal role with the Penguins in back-to-back Stanley Cup victories in 1991 and 1992. Led team with 17 goals in 24 games in 1991 Playoffs. His 17 goals are a franchise record and tied for fourth- most all-time for one Playoff. His 17 goals are also the most by an American in one Playoff.
  • Recorded 46 goals and 60 assists for 106 points in 103 playoff games with Pittsburgh. His 106 points are the fifth-most in franchise history.
  • Ranks seventh all-time in goals with the Penguins with 260, and ranks eighth all-time in points with 555 points. Tied with Jagr for fourth-most power-play goals with 110.
  • Recorded 11 hat tricks with the Penguins, including one in the 1992 playoffs against Boston and three four-goal games. Scored the game-winning OT goal in the 1991 playoffs against the Capitals in Game 2.
  • Penguins all-time leader in PIM with 1,048 penalty minutes.
  • Scored the second-most goals (54) in the NHL in 1991-92 and finished second to Lemieux in points. Became only the second player, besides Mario, to outscore Gretzky since Gretzky entered the NHL in 1979.
  • Traded to Boston on August 2, 1995 with forward Shawn McEachern for forwards Glen Murray, Bryan Smolinski, and Boston’s 1996 third-round pick (Boyd Kane). Murray played 135 games with Pittsburgh, scoring 25 goals and 26 assists, totaling 51 points. He played 18 Stanley Cup Playoff games with Pittsburgh in 1996, scoring two goals and six assists. Murray was traded to L.A. on March 18, 1997 for Eddie Olczyk. Smolinski played 81 games in 1995-96 with Pittsburgh, scoring 24 goals and 40 assists, totaling 64 points. He also played 18 Stanley Cup Playoff games with Pittsburgh in 1996, scoring five goals and four assists. Smolinski was traded to the New York Islanders on November 17, 1996 for defensemen Darius Kasparaitis and forward Andreas Johansson.
  • Traded from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh on January 14, 2001 for defenseman John Slaney. Slaney would play five games in two seasons with Philadelphia. He was also the highest scoring AHL defenseman at the time he signed to play in Europe. He is currently third in AHL history in scoring by a defenseman with 519 points in 631 AHL games.
  • Retired as a Penguin in 2002. Worked in the front office as a scout from 2005-2011.

Alek Stojanov, RW 1996-97

35 GP, 1 G, 4 A, 5 PTS, 79 PIM, 0 GWG

  • Traded by Vancouver to Pittsburgh on March 20, 1996 for Markus Naslund. Had to put it in here. One of the worst trades of all time. Not that we need to be reminded again, but Naslund scored 869 points in 1,117 games. Stojanov was drafted seventh overall in 1991 and finished with two goals and seven points in 107 NHL games. Not a good look.

Marc Bergevin, LHD 2002-04

121 GP, 3 G, 13 A, 16 PTS, 63 PIM, 0 GWG

  • There seems to be a theme here. He was also mentioned last year in the No. 3 article; he played 36 games in 2000-01 with the Penguins wearing No. 3 after being traded to Pittsburgh from St. Louis on December 28, 2000 for Dan Trebil. That was one day after one of the most memorable regular season games in NHL history when Lemieux returned from his 44-month absence on December 27, 2000 against Toronto. I’m sure you remember that one.
  • Played 1,000th career game with Pittsburgh shortly after arriving.
  • Bergevin then resigned in the 2001 offseason with St. Louis for the 2001-02 season.
  • Bergevin signed with Pittsburgh the next summer in 2002 and began wearing No. 25.
  • Traded to Tampa Bay on March 11, 2003 for Brian Holzinger. Holzinger would score 7 seven goals and 17 assists, totaling 24 points in 70 games in two years (the Dick Tarnstrom Era) with Pittsburgh before being traded to Columbus on March 9, 2004 for forward Lasse Pirjeta. Pirjeta scored 10 goals and nine assists, totaling 19 points in 38 games with Pittsburgh. He then began playing in Europe after the 2005-06 NHL season.
  • Traded back to Pittsburgh from Tampa Bay on May 12, 2003 for a 2003 ninth-round pick.
  • Named General Manager and Executive V.P. of the Montreal Candiens on May 2, 2012. Is currently still the same position with Montreal.

Maxime Talbot, C 2005-11

388 GP, 55 G, 56 A, 108 PTS, 324 PIM, 9 GWG

  • Drafted 234th overall in the 2002 NHL Draft by Pittsburgh.
  • Scored both goals in 2-1 victory over Detroit to win the Stanley Cup in 2009.
  • His 12 short-handed goals are tied for fifth-most in Penguins history with George Ferguson, mentioned above.
  • Played in 66 Stanley Cup Playoff games with Pittsburgh, scoring 14 goals and 19 assists totaling 33 points. He also recorded 87 penalty minutes and four GWG.
  • Played last two years with Yaroslavl in the KHL and announced recently he will be playing another year in the KHL this season with Omsk.
  • Fan favorite and legend for big moments during the Penguins Stanley Cup victory in 2009.

Eric Tangradi, LW 2012-13

44 GP, 1 G, 4 A, 5 PTS, 26 PIM, 0 GWG

  • Traded to Pittsburgh with Chris Kunitz on February 26, 2009 for Ryan Whitney.
  • I was in attendance for his one and only goal as a Penguin. It happened to be scored in the first-ever win at the newly built, and formerly named, CONSOL Energy Center on October 15, 2010.
  • Played in three career Stanley Cup Playoff games with Pittsburgh, recording one assist.
  • Traded to Winnipeg on February 13, 2013 for Winnipeg’s sixth-round pick in 2013 NHL Draft (Dane Birks.)
  • SIgned one-year deal with New Jersey on July 25, 2018.

Two other players have worn No. 25 since Tangradi: Andrew Ebbett from 2013-15 and Tom Sestito in 2016-17. Ebbett played in 33 games and scored one goal and six assists. Sestito played 13 games wearing No. 25 and scored two assists and registered 48 penalty minutes.

There are several candidates for which player wore it best. Kevin Stevens was one of the most feared power forwards of his time. Randy Carlyle is the only Penguin defenseman to win the Norris Trophy, and he was traded for Doug Bodger and Moe Mantha. Those two were then players involved in trades to bring in Tom Barrasso and Paul Coffey. Carlyle is also a Stanley Cup winning coach, and is behind the bench for a Ducks team this year that could be a serious contender out west.

This list also includes the current GM in Montreal, Marc Bergevin. That is one of the most cherished positions in hockey. His days may be numbered, but he’s still the one calling the shots.

And then of course there’s Max Talbot, who’s a hero and legend in Pittsburgh. He may not have the pretty stats or hardware, but he’ll forever be remembered for winning the Cup for Pittsburgh in 2009.

The poll represents three main players from three different eras who are all very different from one another. There isn't a criteria for who you think wore it best, it's entirely up to you. No matter who you choose, there is no wrong answer.

Poll

Number 25. Who wore it best?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Darryl Edestrand, ‘71-73
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Nick Beverly, ‘73-74
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Dennis Owchar, ‘74-77
    (1 vote)
  • 6%
    Randy Carlyle, ‘78-84
    (120 votes)
  • 0%
    Kevin McCarthy, ‘84-85
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Norm Schmidt, ‘85-87
    (0 votes)
  • 71%
    Kevin Stevens, ‘87-95; 01-02
    (1351 votes)
  • 4%
    Marc Bergevin, ‘02-04
    (84 votes)
  • 17%
    Maxime Talbot, ‘05-11
    (326 votes)
  • 0%
    Eric Tangradi, ‘12-13
    (9 votes)
  • 0%
    One of the 8 not listed.
    (3 votes)
1898 votes total Vote Now