Eric Lindros and the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2016 candidates

Eric Lindros and the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2016 candidates

You know how sometimes you have a stretch of weekends that are really busy and hectic, and then you get one where you can finally get around to cleaning the gutters and swapping the seasonal clothes in your closet and finishing that Dave Eggers book?

The Class of 2016 is that weekend for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

It’s a chance to dip into the pool of candidates that have been swimming under some first-ballot classes during their eligibility, as the crop of first-timers next years doesn’t have any locks – Alex Kovalev, Milan Hejduk, Jose Theodore, Roman Hamrlik and Ziggy Palffy among them. It’s time for the Selection Committee to get its house in order … especially with Teemu Selanne and Daniel Alfredsson on tap for 2018.

A few of the names that should be near the top of the ballot next year:

1. Eric Lindros

It’s hard to imagine that Lindros won’t be in next year, and not only because he’s the most obvious candidate in a down year. Lindros is 19th in NHL history in points per game average with 1.138. He won the Hart and the Pearson in 1995. He has just 760 NHL career games, and the end of his career was spent in concussion hell, but again: If Cam Neely is a Hall of Famer then Eric Lindros is without question a Hall of Famer. Unless this is more about his character and decision-making than his legacy on the ice.

We’ll say it again: Teams built their lineups to combat Lindros’ dominance. How many other players can make that boast?

[Play Yahoo Daily Fantasy and get a 100% deposit bonus with your first deposit]

2. Dave Andreychuk

There are only two players in the top 15 goals-scorers of all-time that aren’t in the Hall of Fame. One of them is still playing, and will continue to do so until the sun explodes or the checks stop clearing (Jaromir Jagr). And then other is Andreychuk.

He has 640 career goals in 1,639 career games. Ask a member of the selection committee about why he’s not in, and watch them tie themselves into a logical knot: If it’s not about the stats, then how does Dino Ciccarelli get in? If you need a ring … well, Andreychuk has one. Oh, what, he played too long and that’s why he has the goals? So now we’re punishing longevity? If it’s about individual awards, well, we must have missed Phil Housley’s Norris. And so on.

The only argument against Andreychuk is that he can’t skate well and scored the majority of his goals roughly three feet from the crease. Which might count as a unique skill unmatched in the game’s history given the goal total, but what do we know?

3. Mark Recchi

Our money is on Recchi getting in next year over Andreychuk, to be honest, just so the Hockey Hall of Fame can flood the zone with Flyers fans. Recchi was a scoring and winning machine, leading the NHL in assists in 1999-00 while being 12th in career point (1,533) and 19th in career goals (577). Three Stanley Cups help his case, too.

4. Sergei Zubov

The candidacy of Zubov is getting a lot of push in the last year, in sort of this hipster “you guys all missed out on the greatness of this guy” campaign. He’s second to Sergei Gonchar in career points for a Russian defenseman (771 in 1,068 games), won two Stanley Cups and has underlying numbers that show him to be one of the best defensemen in the league while he played. That he only finished in the top three for the Norris once is chalked up by supporters to the location of his team (which didn’t hurt Jere Lehtinen for the Selke) and that he was Russian.

5. Paul Kariya

Say it with us: Point-per-game player during the trap years.

Kariya averaged a point per game playing in a defensive era and posted two 100-points seasons and a 99-point season from 1995-1999. He has 402 goals. There’s always going to be a sense of “what might have been” were it not for the concussions. But watch this one: Kariya’s stock has been steadily rising in the same way that Zubov’s has.

6. Jeremy Roenick

Roenick never won an individual award in the NHL nor did he win the Stanley Cup either. He won Olympic silver with the U.S. in 2002. Statistically, Roenick has 513 career goals (37th overall) and a 0.892 points per game average, placing him right with Hall of Famer Joe Nieuwendyk. The argument for Roenick is one of “fame” and that’s a legit argument to be made – how many American-born players have had the lingering impact of Roenick on hockey culture?

7. Sergei Makarov

Just a brilliant offensive talent and a member of the KLM line. The problem for Makarov is that his body of work exists outside of the NHL, outside of seven seasons in the League. It is however the Hockey Hall of Fame and not the NHL Hall of Fame, although that’s usually not the case.

8. Chris Osgood

The great debate will continue! Three Stanley Cups, and the backstop for two of them with the Detroit Red Wings. A postseason GAA of 2.09 and a regular season GAA of 2.49. A postseason save percentage of .916, and a regular season one of .905. He won two Jennings and led the NHL in wins in 1995-96, and is 10th all time in that category. This is the guy with the average stats and the postseason greatness. Meanwhile …

9. Curtis Joseph

… this is the guy with the lack of postseason success and the regular-season greatness. Fourth career all-time in wins with 454 despite being third in career shots faced (26,795). He never played for the Stanley Cup, but was without question a top three goalie in at least four seasons.

10. Kevin Lowe and Doug Wilson

Two old war horse defensemen. Lowe would be another player from those Edmonton Oilers dynasties to get in. Wilson has a Norris Trophy to his credit. Both probably have enough friends to get them a plaque.

Check out our post on Hall of Fame odds for more names.

Who gets in next season? Answer in the comments ...

 

Marek Vs. Wyshynski: a Yahoo Sports Hockey Podcast

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Subscribe via iTunes or via RSS feed

____
Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.