Hossa was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the first round, 12th overall, of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. After spending his first seven NHL seasons with the Senators, he played for the Atlanta Thrashers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, and Chicago Blackhawks. Over the course of his career, he made five NHL All-Star Game appearances and played in three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals with three different teams, finally winning the Stanley Cup in 2009–10 with Chicago. He won two additional Stanley Cup championships with Chicago during the 2012–13 and 2014–15 seasons. Hossa accumulated 525 goals and 609 assists for 1,134 points in 1,309 regular-season games over his 19-year NHL career. He was the 44th player in NHL history to score 500 goals, and the 80th player to score 1,000 points. He was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2020.
Prior to the 2017–18 season, the Blackhawks announced that Hossa was suffering from a progressive skin disorder and would miss the entire 2017–18 season. He announced he would no longer play professional hockey in May 2018 and intends to retire after his contract expires in 2021. Hossa’s contract was traded to the Arizona Coyotes in July 2018 as part of a seven-player deal.
Ottawa Senators (1998–2004)
Hossa was drafted in the first round, 12th overall, by the Ottawa Senators in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft from Dukla Trenčín of the Slovak Extraliga. Shortly thereafter, he was selected fifth overall in the 1997 Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Import Draft by the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL), acquiring his major junior rights in the event that he did not immediately stick with the Senators in the NHL.
After seven games in the NHL, the Senators assigned Hossa to junior, where he tallied 45 goals and 40 assists for 85 points in 53 games with the Winterhawks in 1997–98, earning him the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as WHL rookie of the year, as well as CHL and WHL West First Team All-Star honors. He led the Winterhawks to a President’s Cup as WHL champions en route to the 1998 Memorial Cup championship. Late in the third period of a tied championship game against the Ontario Hockey League (OHL)’s Guelph Storm, Hossa collided with Guelph forward Ryan Davis and suffered a serious knee injury, forcing him out of the game. The Winterhawks went on to clinch the championship in overtime and Hossa returned to the ice on a chair as his teammates pushed him around with the Memorial Cup to celebrate the victory. With seven points in four tournament games, Hossa was named to the Memorial Cup All-Star team, along with teammate Andrej Podkonický.
The injury kept Hossa from joining the Senators for his rookie season in 1998–99 until December. Despite missing two months, Hossa managed 15 goals and 15 assists for 30 points in 60 games to earn NHL All-Rookie honours and finish second to the Colorado Avalanche‘s Chris Drury in Calder Memorial Trophy voting for rookie of the year.
The following year, in 1999–2000, Hossa improved to 29 goals and 56 points. However, late in the season, on 11 March 2000, he was responsible for an on-ice accident in which he high-sticked Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Bryan Berard on the follow-through of an attempted shot. The resulting one-inch laceration nearly forced doctors to remove the eye and nearly ended Berard’s playing career. Deeply regretful and concerned, Hossa went to visit Berard in hospital the next day to offer an apology to which Berard absolved him of any responsibility.
Hossa recorded 32 goals and 75 points in 2000–01, finishing second in team scoring behind Alexei Yashin and earning his first NHL All-Star Game appearance in Denver. In the subsequent off-season, his rookie contract expired and Hossa became a restricted free agent. Unable to come to terms before training camp for the 2001–02 season, Hossa sat out the first two weeks before signing a three-year, $8.5 million contract on 26 September 2001. Despite Hossa’s lucrative new contract, his production would dip to 66 points in the first year of the deal.
Hossa would regain form in 2002–03 with a career-high 45 goals and a team-leading 80 points, while competing in the 2003 NHL All-Star Game in Sunrise, Florida. He then led the Senators to a long playoff run where they were ultimately eliminated in seven games by the eventual Stanley Cup-champion New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals. Hossa led the Senators with 16 points in 18 post-season games. The following season, he led the Senators in scoring for the second consecutive season with a personal best 82 points, then added four points in seven games in the playoffs as the Senators were eliminated by the Maple Leafs in the first round.
Due to the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Hossa spent the 2004–05 season playing in Europe. Beginning the season in Slovakia, he joined Mora IK of the Swedish Elitserien to play with his younger brother Marcel after 19 games with former club Dukla Trenčín. After 32 points in 24 games with Mora IK, Hossa returned to Dukla Trenčín, where he completed the season for a total of 42 points in 22 games with the team.
Atlanta Thrashers (2005–2008)
With NHL play set to resume the following season in 2005–06 and Hossa’s previous contract expired, he signed a three-year, $18-million deal with the Senators. However, the contract only precipitated a deal that sent him that same day to the Atlanta Thrashers along with defenseman Greg de Vries for all star forward Dany Heatley, who had requested a trade following the death of teammate Dan Snyder in a car crash for which Heatley was ruled responsible. Hossa joined star winger Ilya Kovalchuk and scored 39 goals and 53 assists for 92 points, surpassing his previous personal best by ten points, in his first season with the Thrashers.
In the 2006–07 season, Hossa made franchise history as the first Thrasher to score 100 points in one season, finishing with 43 goals and 57 assists; along with a plus/minus rating of +18. He was named to his third All-Star Game in Dallas where he notched four assists. In the final game of the regular season, Hossa recorded two assists against the Tampa Bay Lightning to achieve the 100-point mark, which still stands as the franchise’s single-season points record. The season also marked the first division title and post-season appearance for the Thrashers, clinching the Southeast Division title for the third playoff seed. Hossa, however, only managed one point in four games as the Thrashers were eliminated in the first round by the New York Rangers.
Pittsburgh Penguins (2008)
In the last year of his contract with the Thrashers in 2007–08, the team and Hossa could not agree on an extension, Hossa was acquired by the Pittsburgh Penguins at the trade deadline on 26 February 2008, along with Pascal Dupuis, in exchange for Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, prospect Angelo Esposito and the Penguins’ first-round pick in 2008 (Daultan Leveille). In his Penguins debut two days later, Hossa injured his medial collateral ligament (MCL) in a knee-on-knee collision with Glen Murray of the Boston Bruins. Hossa missed the next six contests before rejoining the team for the conclusion of the regular season, playing on a line with Dupuis and Sidney Crosby. Hossa completed the regular season with 66 points in 72 games split between the Thrashers and Penguins. He had also appeared in his fourth All-Star Game while still with the Thrashers as the host-city.
Complementing an already high-powered offence led by Evgeni Malkin and Crosby, Hossa proved to be a vital cog in the Penguins’ run to the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals. He scored his first playoff overtime goal in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, his second of the contest, against Henrik Lundqvist to clinch the series, putting the Penguins into the Conference Finals against the Philadelphia Flyers. Eliminating the Flyers in five games, Hossa and the Penguins met the Detroit Red Wings in the Final. After scoring the opening goal in game five to help stave off elimination in a triple-overtime victory, Hossa scored his team-leading 12th and final post-season goal in the sixth and deciding game to pull the Penguins within one goal. However, the Penguins were ultimately defeated by the Red Wings 3–2. Hossa nearly forced overtime with the tying goal, but was stopped by goaltender Chris Osgood in the final seconds of the game. He finished third in playoff scoring with 26 points, behind Conn Smythe Trophy-winner Henrik Zetterberg of the Red Wings and linemate Sidney Crosby. Hossa’s performance helped shed a reputation for post-season underachievement, as indicated by previous playoff dry spells with the Senators and Thrashers.
Detroit Red Wings (2008–09)
Despite a reported five-year contract offer worth $7 million annually from the Penguins in attempts to retain his services, on 1 July 2008, Hossa signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings worth $7.45 million. Hossa had also reportedly turned down a multi-year offer from the Edmonton Oilers worth at least $9 million per season. Hossa explained that he opted for the shorter-term contract in hopes of a better opportunity to win a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings. With Red Wings’ veteran forward Kirk Maltby already wearing Hossa’s number 18, Hossa switched to 81 with Detroit. Hossa notched his first goal as a Red Wing on 18 October, an overtime winner against the New York Rangers, which also marked the 300th goal of his career. Hossa scored a goal in his return to Pittsburgh with the Red Wings on 8 February, where he was heavily booed by the Pittsburgh fans.
After missing two games due to a neck injury late in the season, Hossa was taken off the ice in a stretcher after falling head first into the boards following a check from St. Louis Blues defenceman Roman Polák on 3 March 2009. Escaping serious injury after having laid motionless on the ice for several minutes, it was revealed that in addition to minor neck complications, Hossa also suffered a bruised knee and was listed as day-to-day. Despite the injury, Hossa returned to finish the season with a team-leading 40 goals for his third career 40-goal season.
Late in the regular season, on 23 March 2009, Hossa was quoted as saying he would like to sign a long-term career deal with the Red Wings for the upcoming season. He also stated he is willing to take less money to continue to play for Detroit, saying, “I know if I go somewhere else, I could have more, but I’m willing to take less to stay here. Hopefully things work out.” Hossa’s comments came just several months after the Red Wings signed forward Henrik Zetterberg to a 12-year contract extension.
As the Red Wings attempted to defend their 2008 Stanley Cup championship, Hossa met his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, as the two clubs met for the second straight year in the Final. The prospect of Hossa losing to the team he left in order to secure a Stanley Cup championship received considerable media attention. Prior to eliminating the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Finals, Hossa admitted meeting the Penguins in the finals “would definitely be very interesting.” Ultimately, Hossa did, in fact, lose to his former team, falling by a 2–1 score in the seventh game. Immediately following the game, Hossa was asked whether he regretted his decision to leave the Penguins, to which he replied, “Regret? I don’t regret it. It could be different circumstances if I sign in Pittsburgh, they probably couldn’t sign some other players and they’d be a different team.” Hossa finished the 2009 playoffs with six goals and nine assists for a total of 15 points over 23 games.
Chicago Blackhawks (2009–2017)
On 1 July 2009, Hossa signed a 12-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks worth $62.8 million. The contract was front-loaded with $59.3 million due in the first eight years for an average cap hit of $5.2 million per season. It was also the most lucrative deal in team history until defenceman Duncan Keith signed a 13-year, $72 million contract several months later in December 2009. The signing of Hossa by the Blackhawks coincided with the departure of the team’s leading scorer and MVP from the previous season, Martin Havlát, to the Minnesota Wild that same day. Shortly after signing Hossa, the team disclosed that the veteran forward was still rehabilitating a shoulder injury he sustained during the previous post-season. The injury required Hossa to undergo surgery, and caused him to miss the first eight weeks of the season.
Hossa’s contract negotiations became the subject of controversy in early August. On 31 July, the Ottawa Sun originally reported that the NHL launched an investigation on Hossa’s long-term deal. Because the contract is front-loaded and expires by the time Hossa is 42, it was speculated whether retirement before expiry of the contract was part of the Blackhawks’ negotiations. Such an agreement would be considered by the NHL to be a circumvention of the salary cap and the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which would be subject to fines or the loss of draft picks. Even though the NHL did not fine or punish the Blackhawks, they later introduced a new rule preventing teams from front-loading contracts as lucratively as the Blackhawks did with Hossa.
During the Blackhawks’ first playoff series in 2010, Hossa received a five-minute major penalty for boarding Nashville Predators defenceman Dan Hamhuis. With 13.6 seconds left in regulation, Hossa’s teammate Patrick Kane tied the game. In the ensuing overtime, Hossa scored the game-winning goal shortly after exiting the penalty box. Since Hamhuis was not injured, the NHL did not fine or suspend Hossa. On 23 May 2010, the Chicago Blackhawks swept the San Jose Sharks to earn a trip to the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, sending Hossa to the Final for the third-straight year with his third different team, a first in the NHL. Fans and the media had dubbed Hossa’s inability to win the Stanley Cup while going to the finals the “Hossa Curse” or the “Hossa Hex.” According to Hossa’s agent, Ritch Winter, Hossa’s third consecutive year in the Stanley Cup Finals was no coincidence, with Winter stating that they had used a mathematical model to determine the teams most likely to get at least 100 points in the 2009–10 regular season. On 9 June 2010, Hossa finally lifted his first Stanley Cup. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews handed the Cup to Hossa first during the team pass-around.
In 2011–12, Hossa was picked eighth overall by Team Chara in the second annual All-Star Fantasy Draft for the 2012 All-Star Game. In the Game, Hossa scored one goal and two assists in a 12–9 win against Team Alfredsson. On 20 March 2012, Hossa scored his 900th NHL career point (417 goals and 483 assists) in his 970th game played via a goal scored against the Columbus Blue Jackets. In the first period of Game 3 of the opening round of the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals, he was taken off the ice on a stretcher and briefly hospitalized after being hit by the Phoenix Coyotes‘s Raffi Torres. Torres was suspended 25 games by the NHL for the hit, though it was later reduced to 21 games after an NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA) appeal.
Hossa recovered in time for the start of the lockout-shortened 2012–13 season. He recorded 17 goals and 14 assists in the 48-game season, finishing third on the team with 31 points. During the season, he also played in his 1,000th career game on 3 March 2013, en route to a 2–1 win over Detroit. Hossa then scored seven goals and nine assists for 16 points in the 2013 playoffs as the Blackhawks eventually defeated the Boston Bruins to win the Stanley Cup in the Finals. Hossa’s trip to the Finals marked his fourth appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals in the past six seasons.
On 30 October 2014, shortly into the 2014–15 season, Hossa scored his 1,000th career point with a goal against the Ottawa Senators, becoming the 80th player in NHL history to reach the milestone. On 15 June 2015, Hossa and the Blackhawks won the Cup for the third time in six seasons after Chicago’s Game 6 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Finals.
Hossa approached off-season training differently prior to the 2016–17 season. He performed more cardio-intensive workouts to improve his stamina and conditioning. On 18 October 2016, Hossa scored his 500th career NHL goal, which came in a 7–4 Blackhawks win over the visiting Philadelphia Flyers. Hossa became the second NHL player born in Slovakia to score that many (Stan Mikita), and the fifth player to score his 500th with the Blackhawks; Bobby Hull; Michel Goulet; Peter Bondra. Hossa rebounded in 2016 by scoring 26 goals and 19 assists.
Before the 2017–18 season, the Blackhawks revealed that Hossa was suffering from a progressive skin disorder and would miss the entire 2017–18 season while undergoing treatment. The Blackhawks officially placed Hossa on long-term injured reserve on 4 October 2017. In May 2018, Hossa stated he could no longer play professional hockey due to complications from his skin disorder. He intends to retire formally after his contract expires in 2021.
The Chicago Blackhawks traded Hossa’s contract, along with forward Vinnie Hinostroza, defenseman Jordan Oesterle, and third-round draft pick in the 2019 NHL Draft to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Marcus Kruger, MacKenzie Entwistle, Jordan Maletta, Andrew Campbell, and fifth-round draft pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Early in his career, Hossa represented Slovakia in two World Junior Championships, in 1997 and 1998. Also appearing in his first World Championships in 1997, tallying two points as an 18-year-old, Hossa has made seven appearances in the tournament throughout his career. Despite personal World Championship best seven-point performances in 1999, 2004, 2005 and 2006, Hossa has remained medal-less with the Slovak men’s team.
Hossa made his Olympics debut at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, tallying six points in only two games for Slovakia. In the subsequent 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Hossa accumulated ten points in six games, but Slovakia was kept from the podium. During the 2010 Winter Olympics, Hossa scored the game-tying goal in the third period against Russia during the preliminary round.
Hossa was born in Stará Ľubovňa, Czechoslovakia, to František Hossa, a professional hockey player, and Mária Hossová, a clothing designer. His younger brother by two years, Marcel Hossa, drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 2000, followed in his footsteps playing for both of Marián’s previous junior teams, Dukla Trenčín and the Portland Winter Hawks, while the two have played together for Mora IK of the Elitserien during the 2004–05 NHL lockout and on the Slovak national team in the World Championships and Winter Olympics. Coincidentally, they were both dealt by their NHL teams on the day of the 2007–08 trade deadline — Marián from Atlanta to Pittsburgh and Marcel from the New York Rangers to the Phoenix Coyotes. The younger Hossa is currently playing overseas with HC Plzeň of the Czech Extraliga. Hossa also grew up with Marián Gáborík and Zdeno Chára in Trenčín, and remained close friends with them through his NHL career. Trenčín honored the trio by naming three streets after each skater in 2015. Marián’s father was head coach of the Slovak national team and coached his sons in several tournaments.
Regular season and playoffs
|1995–96||Dukla Trenčín||SVK U20||53||42||49||91||26||—||—||—||—||—|
|1997–98||Portland Winter Hawks||WHL||53||45||40||85||50||16||13||6||19||6|
|2008–09||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||74||40||31||71||63||23||6||9||15||10|
WHL and CHL
|WHL West First All-Star Team||1998|
|Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy (WHL Rookie of the Year)||1998|
|CHL First All-Star Team||1998|
|CHL All-Rookie Team||1998|
|President’s Cup (WHL champions)||1998|
|Memorial Cup Tournament All-Star Team||1998|
|NHL All-Rookie Team||1999|
|NHL All-Star Game||2001, 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2012|
|NHL Second All-Star Team||2009|
|Stanley Cup champion||2010, 2013, 2015|