Hossa was a ‘special player,’ and the ‘Hawks are going to miss him

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This post is part of Blackhawks Day on PHT…

Marian Hossa is one of the greatest two-way wingers of his generation.

A strong statement, no doubt. But absolutely true, all the same.

The Chicago Blackhawks are going to miss this guy.

It was announced in June that Hossa would skip the 2017-18 season due to a “progressive skin disorder and the side effects of the medications involved to treat the disorder.”

At 38, it’s likely he’s played his last game in the NHL.

And while many have noted the convenience of the announcement’s timing, what with Hossa’s front-loaded contract diving to a salary of just $1 million for next season and the three after that, there’s still the matter of replacing all the things he brought, even as he got older.

Last season, Hossa finished with 26 goals, the third most on the ‘Hawks behind Patrick Kane (34) and Artemi Panarin (31), the latter of whom is a Blue Jacket now.

During his younger years, Hossa helped the ‘Hawks to three Stanley Cup titles. The last one came in 2015, when he finished with 17 points (4G,13A) in 23 playoff games.

Though he’s often been overshadowed by the likes of Jonathan Toews, Kane, and Duncan Keith, it’s fair to wonder how many Cups the ‘Hawks would’ve won if Hossa hadn’t signed with them in the summer of 2009.

Recall that less than a year after he put pen to paper, there was a pretty massive parade in Chicago.

Of course, Hossa isn’t the only three-time Cup winner that will need to be replaced next season. Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson is gone, too, traded to Arizona.

But at least in Connor Murphy the ‘Hawks received a candidate to fill Hjalmarsson’s spot. Even if the ‘Hawks are granted cap relief for Hossa, it’s not like Bowman can just snap his fingers and make magic happen.

“It’s not as simple as people might think that we just have this ability to suddenly replace Marian with another player,” Bowman said, per CSN Chicago. “It’s way more involved than that.”

Great players are tough to replace. Just ask the Detroit Red Wings, whose dynasty began to crumble the moment Nicklas Lidstrom retired.

That’s not to say the Blackhawks are doomed. But make no mistake, Hossa’s loss will be felt in a big way. He was a “special player,” in the words of head coach Joel Quenneville, and players of that ilk don’t come around very often.

“You lose 17 minutes of playing the right way,” Quenneville said, per the Daily Herald. “You lose young kids watching how he plays.

You lose a heck of a lot.