The Hockey Hall of Fame recently announced its 2011 class, which included a lot of fomer Toronto Maple Leafs. Getting the call to the Hall were Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe and Joe Nieuwendyk.
It is surprising (and deserving) that Howe finally got the nod after being retired for 16 seasons. It was nice to see someone who had been overlooked get the recognition after so much time had passed that he had seemed forgotten.
Today, SenShot’s top 10 looks at other players who have been overlooked for entry into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Some have been on the outside looking in for some time, while others have only been waiting for a couple of years.
10. Mike Vernon – In 19 career seasons, primarily with the Flames and the Red Wings, Vernon won 2 Stanley Cups and a Conn Smythe Trophy. He is ranked 12th on the all times wins list with 385 and has the most wins among all eligible goalies not in the Hall of Fame.
9. Eric Lindros – A polariazing individual who made noise in the hockey world long before entering the NHL. In the league, he demonstrated a combination of size, skill and meanness that was found in only a couple of individuals in all the years of the NHL (Gordie Howe, Mark Messier). Lindros was a feared player changed the fortunes of two franchises, Philadelphia and Quebec/Colorado. He won a Hart Trophy and is one of the rare players to have averaged over a point per game in his career in both the regular season and the playoffs. Concussion problems forced him to miss large blocks of time and eventually led to a premature end to his career.
8. Rick Tocchet – When the term “power forward” was coined in the mid to late 1980’s, Tocchet and Cam Neely were the first definition of the position. Tocchet was a fearsome fighter early in his career, who could also rack up the points. As his almost 3000 penalty minutes would attest, he could throw the knuckles. He was not just a fighter, and his pugilistic prowess bought him space on the ice that allowed him to score 440 goals and 952 points. His post-playing career was marred by a gambling scandal that saw him plead guilty to conspiracy and promoting gambling. He was suspended from league activity but eventually reinstated.
7. Dave Taylor – Part of the LA Kings’ “Triple Crown Line”, Taylor played 1,111 games (all with the Kings), scoring 431 goals and 1069 points. He is the Kings all time leader in games played, and is 3rd in goals, assists and points for the franchise.
6. Gary Suter – Suter is the second highest scoring defenseman not selected to the Hall of Fame. He was the Calder Trophy winner in 1985-86 and won the Stanely Cup with the Flames in 1989. Suter amassed 845 points and added 73 post-season points, and sits 14th all time among defensemen scoring.
5. Pavel Bure – The Russian Rocket burst onto the scene with a Calder winning rookie season, scoring 60 points in 65 games. He was a sensation in Vancouver, twice netting 60 goals and over 100 points. He led the league in goals 3 times. When his career finally came to a premature end (due to multiple knee injuries) after stops in Florida and with the New York Rangers, he had an astounding 437 goals in only 702 games. The .623 goals per game total is the 6th best all-time and the tops among all HOF eligible players. Bure was also a standout internationally with Russian teams in the World Juniors as well as Olympic and World Championship play.
4. Phil Housley – Fourteen 50-point seasons for the American-born defenseman highlights the career of the 4th highest defenseman all time in scoring. His 97 point season in 1992-93 was the highest toal by a defenseman not named Orr, Coffey, MacInnis, Leetch or Potvin. His one blemish is that he never won a Stanley Cup, having played more games than anyone in league history (1495) to not have won the big one.
3. Pierre Turgeon – Scoring over 500 goals and 800 assists should be enough for entrance to the Hall of Fame. However, if you had the misfortune of playing most of your career on bad Buffalo and New York Islander teams. He also had the misfortune of playing in an era where centre was the dominant position and he was not thought of among the top 2 or 3 centres of his era. This, and the lack of a Championship has likely led to his omission from the Hall.
2. Dave Andreychuk – The only member of the 600/600 club that is eligible and is not already in the Hall of Fame. Over 1,300 points, captained a Stanely Cup Champion (Tampa, 2004) and 1,600 games in an NHL uniform highlight Andreychuck’s more than worthey resume.
1. Adam Oates – Of the 11 players to have amassed 1000 career assists, nine are in the Hall of Fame, one (Joe Sakic) will be in next season and the other is Adam Oates. The consummate playmaker, he is responsible for much of Hall of Famer Brett Hull‘s record setting goal seasons in St. Louis. Oates is the highest scoring eligible player not already elected to the Hall (16th All time).
Now I know full well that some of these players will not be on everyone’s Hall of Fame list. I also realize that some people need to wait their turn, but as the seasons go by, when will that turn come.
Four players can be inducted each year, and it is getting to the point where each year there are 4 or 5 players that will get consideration retiring from the NHL. If you look at 2012, the forwards alone that become eligible include Brendan Shanahan, Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, Jeremy Roenick and Theo Fleury. All are worthy but only 4 will get in, and it doesn’t address the past exclusions. Then, after that thenames that will start to become eligible include Scott Niedermayer, Rob Blake, Rod Brind’Amour, Keith Tkachuk, Paul Kariya, Chris Chelios, Sergei Zubov, Curtis Joseph, Dominik Hasek, and Gary Roberts to name but a few.
Perhaps it is time to increase the number of players who can be enshrined each year, since with increased teams and increased players in the game, and the deserved addtition of Women’s players to the ballot, there is a more proportionate number of players who have the numbers to be enshrined. If this doesn’t happen, the top 10 list above will begin to expand greatly.
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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Tags: Adam Oates Al MacInnis Bobby Orr Brendan Shanahan Brett Hull Brian Leetch Cam Neely Chris Chelios Curtis Joseph Dave Andreychuck Dave Taylor Denis Potvin Dominik Has Doug Gilmour Ed Belfour Eric Lindros Gary Roberts Gary Suter Gordie Howe Jeremy Roenick Joe Nieuwendyk Joe Sakic Keith Tkachuk Mark Howe Mark Messier Mats Sundin Mike Vernon Paul Coffey Paul Kariya Pavel Bure Phil Housley Pierre Turgeon Rick Tocchet Rob Blake Rod Brind'Amour Scott Niedermayer Sergei Zubov Theo Fleury