The Hockey Hall of Fame will announce its Class of 2012 on Tuesday. We know it'll include Joe Sakic. It'd be really nice if it included either Fred Shero or Pat Burns or both. We're pretty sure it won't include Ken Klee.
Beyond that, it's anyone's guess what the 18-person selection committee will do. Here are Puck Daddy's odds for the Hall of Fame's next class, with a maximum of four players to the class. Who do you think makes the cut?
Sakic is a stone-cold lock. Two Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe, a Hart Trophy, ninth in career points (1,641) and 15th in career goals (625) in 20 years with the Quebec Nordiques and the Colorado Avalanche. Internationally, he's a member of he Triple Gold Club, having captured the Cup, the world championship gold medal and the Olympic gold for Canada in 2002. Pretty much the only thing he couldn't win in his career was a battle with a snowblower.
Shanahan's a first-balloter too, if not the mortal lock that Sakic is in his first year of eligibility. He's a Triple Gold Club member too, having captured three Stanley Cups, but his lone individual award in the NHL was the 2002-03 King Clancy Trophy. But the numbers are stellar: 1,354 points for 25th all-time, including 656 career goals to place him 13th all-time. A prototypical power forward during his years with the New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, Hartford Whalers, Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers.
Roenick and Sundin are first-year eligible while Oates is a holdover from previous classes.
Sundin's case has been hotly debated since his retirement from the NHL in 2009. He never won the Stanley Cup, but won three IIHF world titles and the 2006 Olympic gold with Sweden. He never won an individual award in the NHL, but he's 21st all-time with 564 goals and No. 27 all-time with 1,349 points. He was the first European player selected No. 1 overall in the 1989 Draft. Some believe he's a Hall of Famer, but not on the first ballot. Some don't believe he deserves to be in because he never actively sought to leave the Toronto Maple Leafs for a chance at the Cup before it was too late. Ken Campbell thinks he's in because the Hockey Hall of Fame is in Toronto.
Like Sundin, Roenick never won an individual award in the NHL nor did he win the Stanley Cup. Despite playing more games (1,363) than Sundin (1,346) during his five-team NHL career, Roenick ranks behind him in goals (513, No. 37 all-time) and points (1,216, No. 40 all-time). He won Olympic silver with the U.S. in 2002.
What Roenick has going for him: a unique place in American hockey history, as one of the U.S.'s most lauded players, and the fact that this is the Hall of FAME. It's undeniable that Roenick had a larger impact on hockey culture than Sundin, whether through his sound-bytes or his style of play coming up with the Chicago Blackhawks. He may not have been a better player, but he was a more memorable player.
The fact Oates isn't already in is a criminal offense to some. He never won a Stanley Cup nor won an individual award. But he was an undrafted player that went on to be sixth all-time in the NHL in assists with 1,079; one look at the players around him, and you know this is rare company. Yet as we said with Roenick: Hall of FAME. Oates was always a co-star, and never a leading man.
Two of the most gifted players of their generation, fighting a battle against sample size and reputation.
Lindros is 19th in NHL history in points per game average with 1.138; every player ahead of him save for Kent Nilsson and the active players are in the Hall of Fame. He won the Hart and the Pearson in 1995. He has just 760 NHL career games, however, in a concussion-plagued and shortened career. He also wasn't exactly Mr. Popularity due to his clashes with the Flyers and controversial entrance into the League.
Bure's goals-per-game ratio is 0.623, or fifth in NHL history. He led the League in goals three times and won the Calder Trophy in 1992. Scoring 437 goals in 702 games, many of them played during the trap years, is ridiculous. He's a once in a generation talent, a superstar that influenced millions of young players around the world … and a guy whose contract problems with the Vancouver Canucks probably didn't endear him to Hall of Fame selection committee members Brian Burke and Pat Quinn.
CuJo is a first-timer whose longevity (fifth all-time in games played for goalies with 943) and success (fourth in wins with 454) make him a compelling candidate. But he made the conference final just once and never won a major NHL award, while his peers accomplished much more.
Housley's a carryover who is fourth among defenseman in scoring (1,232 points) along with being a standard-bearer for USA Hockey. Hey, if Erik Karlsson can win the Norris …
Players that have the numbers, but might lack the "IT" factor many of their generational peers had in becoming Hall of Fame players. But boy, are some of them right on the cusp, and might get another look in a less competitive year.
A player with plenty of sentimental support and a solid case to be made. For whatever reason, he just can't seem to break through.
Players with, shall we say, unique charms. Hunter's the only player in NHL history with 1000 points and 3000 penalty minutes. Lemieux, with a Conn Smythe in 1995, is known as one of the NHL's greatest pests and playoff competitors.
We can't stop smiling over the idea of Bobby Holik and Darius Kasparaitis in the same Hall of Fame class.
The performance enhancing drug suspension really impacted his candidacy.
So ... who makes your ballot this year?