Player: Mario Lemieux
Talk about easy choices.
Instead of rehashing the laundry list of Lemieux's incredible on-ice accomplishments, which most hockey fans are familiar with, let's examine his impact to the franchise.
Prior to drafting Mario Lemieux in 1984, the Penguins were the pinnacle of irrelevancy. In Pittsburgh, they were the third team in the city's hierarchy of pro sports franchises. Throughout most of the Penguins' existence up until 1984, the Pirates and Steelers were winning championships with superstars such as Roberto Clemente and Terry Bradshaw. Meanwhile, the Penguins were barely getting in the playoffs with above average players such as Rick Kehoe. Outside of Pittsburgh, they were another team for dynasties such as the Canadiens and Islanders to pad stats against.