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Making eight cases for the Hockey Hall of Fame

4 17 6
22.06.2020

Sr. Managing Editor of Hockey

Archive

If only every Hockey Hall of Fame decision were as straightforward as the one the selection committee faces Wednesday on first-year eligible Jarome Iginla.

A 600-goal scorer. Three-time first all-star. Two-time Rocket Richard winner. Two-time 50-goal scorer. Two-time Hart runner-up. Two-time Olympic hero. Ted Lindsay winner. Art Ross winner. World Junior superstar.

Quintessential power forward. Ten-year captain. Textbook Hall of Famer.

Apply the rubber stamp.

Some believe that every Hall of Fame debate should be that easy. That if you have to prove someone is a Hall of Famer, then he or she isn’t a Hall of Famer.

If that were so, the Hall of Fame building at the corner of Front and Yonge streets in Toronto would be a lot less crowded.

It would also be missing a lot of great players worthy of hockey immortality.

The Hall of Fame will elect a maximum of four male players, two female players and two builders (or one builder and one referee / linesman) on Wednesday.

Here are the cases for eight former NHL players.

Daniel Alfredsson was the face of the Ottawa Senators’ franchise and its uncontested flag-bearer almost from the moment he earned NHL Rookie of the Year honours in 1995-96. The 14-year Senators’ captain collected 444 goals (63rd all-time) and 1,157 points (54th), plus 100 points in 124 postseason games – among them a sensational 20-game run to the Stanley Cup final in 2006-07. Alfredsson was a two-way force from the beginning to the end of his career – he was a plus player 16 of 18 seasons – but his peak performance years give the best perspective. Using 750 games as a minimum over 13 seasons from 1996-97 through 2009-10, Alfredsson ranked fourth in points per game (1.01) behind only Jaromir Jagr, Joe Sakic and Joe Thornton. He was ahead of Teemu Selanne, Mats Sundin and Paul Kariya. They are all in the Hockey Hall of Fame or, in the case of Jagr, headed there. Alfredsson is already in the IIHF Hall of Fame, so we know the calibre of his international CV – highlighted by five appearances in the Olympic Games and gold in 2006.

Hall of Fame stat: Alfredsson jumps from 54th all-time in actual regular season points (1,157) to 33rd (1,261, 1.01 points per game) in era-adjusted points as calculated by hockeyreference.com. Thirty of the 32 players ahead of Alfredsson are in the Hall of Fame or definitively headed there. The exceptions are Pierre Turgeon (1,315, 1.01) and the still active Patrick Marleau (1,312, 0.76). Six of the seven players who fill out the top 40 behind Alfredsson are in the Hall or headed there.

Tom Barrasso made a big splash when he entered the NHL pool and the ripple effect was felt for years to come. The No. 5 overall draft pick in 1983 was the first goalie to go straight from high school hockey to the NHL. He won the Vezina and Calder Trophies and earned a berth on the first all-star team as an 18-year-old (turning 19 on the second last day of the regular season). Barrasso won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 1991 and then again in 1992 when he fashioned a record-tying 11-game winning streak as the Penguins eliminated the New York Rangers, Boston and Chicago. Two other goalies have won 11 straight playoff games: Hall of Famers Eddie Belfour and Patrick Roy. Barrasso was the first American goalie to win 300 games and sits 19th (369) on the all-time list. Barrasso’s impact was felt inside and outside the crease. Barrasso never scored a goal but is one of the best puckhandling goalies ever – witness an........

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