Why Blackhawks' Marian Hossa should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer

Charlie Roumeliotis
NBC Sports Chicago

For the first time ever, the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee will converse and conduct its voting on the Class of 2020 virtually and electronically, not face-to-face. The process will take place over a two-day period on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the inductees being announced Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. CT.

The maximum number of players that can be elected each year is six - four male and two female - and a player must be retired three years in order to be eligible. Any candidate that receives more than 75 percent of votes - or at least 14 votes from the 18 members - will be inducted.

And Marian Hossa should be one of them.

While he's technically still on an NHL roster - his contract with the Arizona Coyotes expires following the 2020-21 season - the league ruled Hossa eligible because he hasn't played hockey in three seasons and publicly stated he has no plans to do so again, given his medical condition. 

Hossa won three Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks and is the only player in NHL history to reach the Stanley Cup Final in three consecutive seasons with three different teams. He racked up 1,134 points in 1,309 games across 19 seasons with five different clubs, scored at least 30 goals in eight of those seasons, 40 goals three times, and was the 80th player in league history to hit the 1,000-point mark.

A first-round draft pick (No. 12 overall) by the Ottawa Senators in 1997, Hossa was a big-time point producer at every level but became more known for being one of the best two-way forwards in the game as his NHL career evolved. And yet he still finished with 525 goals, which ranks No. 35 all-time. For reference, Blackhawks legend Stan Mikita sits at 32nd with 541 goals.

Hossa also ranks 30th all-time in playoff points with 149 in 205 games. Twenty of the 29 players above him were first-ballot Hall of Famers, and the only two active players ahead of him - Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin - are slam dunks to be as well. Now, it's only fair to note that Hossa's 0.727 points-per-game average ranks 151st among players with at least 50 playoff points, but there's something to be said about longevity, too.

The only legitimate argument against Hossa is the fact he doesn't have many individual awards on his resumé.

Aside from finishing second in the Calder Trophy voting during his rookie campaign, Hossa drew consistent Lady Byng and Selke Trophy votes throughout his career, but his top finishes were fourth and fifth, respectively. He did, however, finish in the Top-10 in Hart Trophy voting twice, which is nothing to sneeze at as a winger.

But the lack of individual accomplishments shouldn't completely discount his chances of getting in on the first try. Ask any former teammate, coach or executive about Hossa and they'll speak glowingly of what he brought to the table both on and off the ice. He wasn't the flashiest player, but Hossa was the ultimate pro and a proven winner.

"One of those players that really set the table of playing the right way," Joel Quenneville told NBC Sports Chicago in January. "And as a coach, you couldn't ask for a guy that demonstrates exactly what your message is on how we want to play structurally, in all zones, all situations. Protects the puck, keeps the puck, tough to take it away from him. It was like, 'OK, this is the perfect player.'"

Why Blackhawks' Marian Hossa should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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