Pierre-Edouard Bellemare is the best to wear No. 78, and we decided to give the former Vegas Golden Knights player some love.
The NHL, in their latest Hockey At Home initiative, are debating the best player to wear each number with the Vegas Golden Knights having a couple of players involved.
Max Pacioretty was selected as the best player in the NHL to wear No. 67, and you can see why given that he ranks eighth in goals since 2011-12 with 260.
The only player in the history of the Montreal Canadiens to wear No. 67, Pacioretty was carving out a career-year prior to the hiatus with 32 goals and 66 points in 71 games for Vegas, so it is a worthy honor.
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But it is a former Golden Knights player that is getting a lot of attention after Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was chosen as the best player in the history of the NHL to wear No. 78.
Now, some hockey fans have chirped that there couldn’t have been many great players to have sported #78 on their back, although we beg to differ given that the late, great Pavol Demitra began his glittering NHL career wearing No. 78 before switching to No. 38.
So, we decided it was only right to do a Pierre-Edouard Bellemare appreciation post.
After all, Bellemare was a bedrock of the Golden Knights team that made a stunning run to the Stanley Cup Final in the franchise’s inaugural year.
Now, granted, Bellemare didn’t wear No. 78 with the Knights after switching to No. 41 after being selected in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft, but we’re going to still sing the praises of the faceoff specialist.
The undrafted center, who only began his NHL career in 2014 with the Philadelphia Flyers, was a lynchpin of the bottom-six for the Golden Knights in 2017-18, putting up 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 72 regular-season games.
He also blocked 63 shots, laid out 41 hits and had 49 takeaways, in addition to recording a win percentage of 51.2% in the faceoff circle.
Furthermore, Bellemare finished his two years in Sin City with 31 points (12 goals, 19 assists) and a faceoff win percentage of 52.9% in 148 regular-season games for the Knights.
He was a real glue guy in the locker room too and will go down as one of the most underrated players in the short history of the Golden Knights, as well as one of the most underrated players in the entire NHL.
Plus, looking at the damage Bellemare did while wearing No. 78 for the Flyers, the center had 34 points (17 goals, 17 assists), 192 blocked shots, 259 hits and 93 takeaways in 237 regular-season games to really get his NHL career started.
He was also impressive for the Colorado Avalanche in 2019-20 prior to the NHL going on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, putting up nine goals and 13 assists for 22 points with a 53.0% win percentage in the faceoff circle in 69 games.
In all, Bellemare has carved out a reputation as a steady and reliable shutdown forward who excels in the faceoff circle, while being able to play a key role on the penalty kill.
So, while Pierre-Edouard Bellemare may not have worn No. 78 during his time with the Vegas Golden Knights, we still wanted to give a shout out to one of the true unsung heroes of that amazing and historic 2017-18 season.