No one at Pro Hockey Talk has been given the honor of voting for the Hockey Hall of Fame, but with the induction announcements set for this afternoon, we decided to share the four choices we would make if we had that power. Feel free to share your own in the comments.
You can also find out who experts such as Mike Milbury and Keith Jones would pick by clicking here.
Joe Yerdon’s picks
1. Joe Nieuwendyk
2. Dave Andreychuk
3. Adam Oates
4. Doug Gilmour
With the load of sure-thing first ballot type Hall of Famers due to arrive in the coming years, this is the best chance for those who should be in the Hall of Fame to get their shot at making it in now. These four players should already be in the Hall of Fame and thanks to the foolish stipulations for how the vote has to go and the limits on the number of inductees, we’re looking at a log jam. Every one of these four have no-brainer accolades.
Joe Nieuwendyk was the perfect all-around player on numerous Stanley Cup winners. Dave Andreychuk scored 640 goals and led the Tampa Bay Lightning to a Cup. Adam Oates is the highest scoring player not in the Hall of Fame (16th all-time) and is sixth all time in assists. Doug Gilmour was a tenacious two-way player, a clutch playoff performer, and the second highest scoring player not in the Hall (17th all-time). You could nit-pick and argue about any of these guys, but they’re Hall of Famers each and every one. It’s not about arguing one guy against another as far as my ballot’s concerned, for these four it’s about getting those in who are well overdue.
James O’Brien’s picks
1. Ed Belfour – Eddie the Eagle was one of the best goalies of his generation. Belfour won two Vezina Trophies, one Stanley Cup and sits at third place all-time in wins. He also earned my personal award of “most regrettable use of a FUBU jersey.”
2. Eric Lindros – I generally value high-level impact more than impressive consistency. This isn’t the Hall of Longevity or Friendliness after all; it’s the Hall of Fame. Injuries derailed Lindros’ career but his individual numbers compare favorably to Peter Forsberg’s and he made a, well, Lindros-sized impact on the game. Put him in the “Jerks” section if you must, but he deserves to be in there.
3. Pavel Bure – My old comparison still holds: Bure was the Dominique Wilkins of hockey, a human highlight reel on skates. Bure is sixth all time in goals scored per game (.62) and averaged more than a point per game but those numbers don’t do the dazzling Russian justice. Just watch his highlights.
4. Doug Gilmour – Gilmour’s 1,414 regular season points will attract a lot of voters, but I’m most impressed by his 188 points in 182 career playoff games, tying him for seventh all-time with Joe Sakic. Gilmour was also strong defensively, winning the 1992-93 Selke.
Honorable mentions: Boris Mikhailov, Sergei Makarov, Adam Oates and Joe Nieuwendyk.
Matt Reitz’s picks
1. Ed Belfour – In an era when NHL teams had to have great goaltending to be successful, he was one of the best. He led his team to the Stanley Cup in 1999 and made it to the Finals on two other occasions. He’s 3rd all-time in wins (484) and 9th all-time in shutouts (76).
2. Joe Nieuwendyk – The points are nice, but he was both a winner AND a leader just about everywhere he went. He ended his career with 564 goals, a Conn Smyth Trophy, and three Stanley Cups. The better question: Why didn’t he make it on his first ballot?
3. Adam Oates – One of the best passers in the history of the game. Everyone assumes that Brett Hull made him look good, but I have a feeling that Hull benefited a bit from having those one-timers set on a tee from Oates.
4. Rogie Vachon – One of the best goaltenders in the 1970s, Vachon won three Cups and a Vezina with the Habs. He’s the best goaltender in the history of the NHL who is NOT in the Hall.
Honorary mention – Doug Gilmour: He was a gritty two-way guy who every coach would have killed for, he was a GREAT leader on the ice, AND he put up HoF type numbers. Is there a good case AGAINST Gilmour?