June 15, 2010
Next Tuesday is going to be an awfully news-heavy day in the hockey world.
First, the NHL Draft will be about 72 hours away and the debate of Taylor vs. Tyler will heat up as the Edmonton Oilers approach decision day on what to do with the No. 1 pick. Second, the NHL Awards from Las Vegas are on Wednesday, and the arguments over who will take home the league's top prizes will be reignited one final time.Third, the 2010-11 schedule will be released and fans across North American will begin charting their hockey road trips for the season and circling dates on their calendars for games to attend.
To cap off the hectic news day, the annual Hockey Hall of Fame class will be announced in a year where there isn't a slam-dunk nominee for enshrinement. The 18-man Hall of Fame Selection Committee is given the task of deciding who gets enshrined in the Player Category.
To help the Selection Committee in their process, we've decided to break down some of the favorites and their odds of getting inducted this year.
Without a standout favorite for induction, the door could be open for the first-year eligible Nieuwendyk. With a resume featuring 564 goals, 1,126 points, three Stanley Cup's, one Canada Cup, an Olympic gold medal, four All-Star appearances, and Calder, Clancy, and Conn Smythe trophies, Nieuwendyk's accomplishments could very well make him the head of this class.
Bure was a hot name last year for the Hall and why not? Wysh made the case for The Russian Rocket two years ago and like Nieuwendyk, he might get the benefit of a weak crop of nominees in 2010. His resume reads like this: two consecutive 60-goal seasons; three 50-goal seasons with two of them ending with Bure potting 58 and 59 goals; gold medals at the World Championships and World Junior Championships; an Olympic bronze; two-time Rocket Richard winner; career total of 437 goals in just 702 games played.
There's no doubt that Bure was a special player -- a human highlight-reel on a nightly basis.
Depending on how expansive the Selection Committee wants to make the 2010 Hall class, either Oates or Gilmour could easily find himself getting handed one of those spiffy blazers that the inductees wear.
One of the things that Gilmour has going for him is that almost a third of a Selection Committee has ties to Toronto and "Killer" is a legend there. Gilmour's resume is thin compared to some of the other nominees, but then again, so was Clark Gillies'. A two-time All-Star; Selke Trophy winner in 1993; one Stanley Cup; 450 goals, 1414 points, and a Canada Cup title. If it were up to Don Cherry, Gilmour would have been inducted after his rookie season.
Oates is an interesting case because outside of five All-Star game appearances and being named to the 1990-91 All-NHL second team, he never won a major award and lost both times he played in the Stanley Cup Final. He was, however, one of the NHL's greatest assist men ever with 1,079 career helpers, good for sixth all-time. Twice Oates recorded 90 or more assists including the 1992-93 season that saw him tally 97 with the Boston Bruins as he finished with 147 points. Oates' dominance as an assist man helped give Brett Hull his best goal totals while the two played together for the St. Louis Blues in the late-'80's.
Andreychuk has 640 goals and is in his second year of eligibility. Ciccarelli has 608 and has been on the ballot since 2002. They are the only two Hall-eligible members of the NHL's 600-goal club not enshrined in Toronto. For Andreychuk, there was no way last year he was making it with the power class that was inducted.
For Ciccarelli, there have been opportunities for him to get in, but off-ice issues during his career and clashes with the media might be responsible for him being left out.
The stats and on-ice success are similar -- though Andreychuk does have a Cup ring, but does he scream "Hall of Famer" at you despite the 640 goals?
If Ciccarelli has been given the cold shoulder for almost a decade, why would 2010 be the year he finally gets in?
There's a lot of sentiment for Jeremy Roenick(notes) to get the Hall call when he's up for induction in 2012, but as we discussed last summer, going by the numbers, Turgeon has the better case. Then again, there are a lot of factors that go into a player being chosen. One could argue Roenick made a bigger impact on American hockey than Turgeon did for the Canadian game, which is fair. Like Andreychuk, Turgeon's name also doesn't automatically ring up "Hall of Famer" to many either, unless, of course, we're talking about the Little League Baseball Hall of Fame.
The "Eric Lindros in the Hall" debate will always exist and usually end with the "What if?" question. What if Lindros had been healthier throughout his career? And that's where Lindros' Hall of Fame debate ends as it's not the Hall of What-Could-Have-Been. Impressive numbers for sure, but not great enough for the Hall of Fame.
Mogilny had a fine career, but like many athletes, one great season or moment (hello, Bill Mazeroski) really boosts their credentials in the minds of many. His 76-goal season in 1992-93 was phenomenal to watch, and outside of that, Mogilny did have a 40 and 50-goal season in his career. While there were flashes of greatness, Mogilny doesn't have the accomplishments that are required in our eyes to be enshrined. Other than the Lady Byng in 1992-93, he has no major individual awards and one Stanley Cup, and gold medals from the 1988 Olympics and 1989 World Junior Championships and World Championships. He scored 30 or more goals eight times in his 16-year career, which is good, but not great.
Makarov could sneak in as an international choice after a storied career in Russia since it's the Hockey Hall of Fame and not the NHL Hall of Fame. He has the special distinction for being the last NHL player over the age of 26 to win the Calder Trophy at age 31, hence the subsequent rule change.
Housley, the second-leading scorer among U.S.-born players scored 338 goals as a defenseman, good for fourth all-time in NHL history.
Vernon and Barrasso each won two Stanley Cups and are in the top 15 for wins by a goaltender. But on par with names like Roy, Dryden, Fuhr, and Esposito? It's also important to point out that since 1980, 86 players have been inducted and only 11 have been goaltenders. Spots are reserved in the Hockey Hall of Fame for net minders who were real special.
Carbonneau was one of the best two-way forwards in the NHL, winning the Selke Trophy three times and was a part of three Cup-winning teams. He never did represent Canada at the international level and never put up more than 57 points in a season during his 19-year career. Again, good, not great.
If there were a Hall of Fame for names, Hakan Loob would be a first-ballot, no doubt.
The full list of potential choices is here. Anyone you think should get the call?