Hockey bloggers share their 2010 Hockey Hall of Fame "ballots"

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adamoates.jpgNow that we provided our Hall of Fame choices, let’s get to some of our favorites from the hockey blogosphere. We’ll provide a “consensus” post later on, too.

Laura Astorian
http://www.thrashingtheblues.com/

1. Adam Oates – greatest assist man of all time and part of the best nicknamed duo in hockey: “Hull & Oates.”
2. Doug Gilmour – one of the best captains in Maple Leafs history, and there are quite a few to choose from.
3. Pavel Bure – he was fast, thrilling, and the hockey grandpappy of guys like Ovechkin and Kovalchuk.
4. Joe Nieuwendyk, because I’m contrarian and because he’s the “shoo-in.”

Every year Oates gets passed over drives me nuts. Nieuwendyk’s a lock regardless, but I like to live on the edge. (Ed note: someone purchased Aerosmith’s “Get a Grip” album in the 90s … besides ME!)

Ryan Porth
http://www.rldhockey.net/

Four choices: Joe Nieuwendyk, Doug Gilmour, Dave Andreychuk, and Pavel Bure
Honorable Mention: Cammi Granato
Nieuwendyk should get into the Hall in his first year on the ballot… no question! Gilmour, Andreychuk, and Bure are worthy of getting in, too. Granato would be a great story to get in as the first woman, but doubt she’ll be elected in her first year on the ballot.

andreychuk.jpg

Scotty Hockey
http://www.scottyhockey.com

1. Joe Nieuwendyk – Twenty seasons, three Cups, a Conn Smythe, a 0.90 point per game average over that span … this guy is a gimme for the Hall.

2. Hakan Loob – It is the Hockey Hall of Fame, right? Not the NHL Hall of Fame. Loob had a stellar career in the NHL, in Sweden and for Sweden – putting up solid numbers and bringing fans out of their seats. I would put Mats Naslund in as well for the same criteria but there are only four slots and, well, there are enough Canadiens in the Hall already. Induct him and they might want to retire his number… (Editor’s note: is Scotty Hockey trying to score points with John Buccigross?)

3. Alexander Mogilny – Like Loob, Mogilny is a Triple Gold member. Unlike Loob, he had to defect to come to play in he NHL and battled extreme xenophobia – he was a Soviet coming to take a job. It was a battle he won by becoming a star.

4. Lorne Chabotsky aka Lorne Chabot – By any name, the first goaltender in Ranger history was a great one. Lorne played 11 seasons, was traded six times, won two Stanley Cups (one with the Rangers, one with the Leafs), collected a Vezina Trophy (with the Hawks) and left the league with a winning record (201-148- 62).

Honourable Mention – Pavel Bure – A Russian Mike Bossy without the luck to end up on a dynasty team. Both were dynamic offensive talents who wowed with their skill and had their careers end too early due to injury. And Bure did it not in the open ’80s but the dead puck era.

Rob Yunich
http://stormingthecrease.com/

1. Joe Nieuwendyk
It may not be an original pick, but it’s hard not to start with him. He’s a proven winner who also looks like he’s going to have success as the Stars GM. A lock.

2. Dave Andreychuk
He’s one of 74 players all-time with more than 1,000 points and is 28th all-time in points overall. He’s a leader who played 1,639 games in a brilliant career.

3. Doug Gilmour
He’s 12th all-time with 964 assists in his 1,474-game career. Although he was somewhat overshadowed by Wayne Gretzky as a center, he certainly is worth of induction alongside the Great One.

4. Cammi Granato
If you’re going to include women on the ballot, why not start with somebody from a strong hockey family? Granato led the USA to two Olympic medals (a gold and silver) and a boatload of other international titles.

Honorable Mention — John LeClair: He may not be a sexy pick, but he’s certainly worthy of induction. He won a Cup on a great Canadiens team anchored by Patrick Roy and then nearly led the Phiadelphia Flyers to a title. And he won a silver Olympic medal too.

After the jump, picks from the remaining hockey bloggers.


ciccarelli.jpgMonica McAlister
http://www.thehockeywriters.com
http://sinbinchronicles.blogspot.com

Mike Vernon

Still holds the goaltending records for the Calgary Flames; and come on after so many years of battling it out with Patrick Roy between the pipes to finally pummeled him at center ice in the Fight Night at the Joe brawl on 26 March 1997 (which was also his 300th NHL victory) then back stopping the Detroit Red Wings to their first cup since 1955 and win the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Adam Oates

Probably one of the most overlooked players because he never won the Stanley Cup. Has the most points (1420 and what a pretty number that is) out of any eligible HHOF ballot members. After coming so close to winning so many different awards (Stanley Cup, Lady Byng, etc) isn’t it just time we finally let Oates be a bride and not the bridesmaid?

Dino Ciccarelli

Four time All Star game ranging from 1982 to 1997. The original goaltender annoyance before Tomas Holmstrom. Recorded 1,200 points (and 1,425 PIM) in 1,232 career games.

Alexander Mogilny

The original (OK not historically but we are talking hockey) Alexander the Great. A Triple Gold Club (Stanley Cup, Olympic Gold medal, and a World Championship Gold medal) member that just needs his Hockey Hall of Fame induction to complete his collection.

Honorable Mention:

Pavel Bure

Though he did not have a successful postseason career, he was flashy and enjoyable to watch. People tuned in to watch games they may have not normally watched to see what Bure might do. He was quick and flashy; and the people loved him but is that enough?

granato.jpgCornelius Hardenbergh
http://www.hockeyblogadventure.com/

1: Adam Oates. The only inactive non-hall-of-famer with more points than Oates is Joe Sakic, a first-ballot lock when eligible. That Brett Hull is in and Oates is not also breaks up the “Hull and Oates”
2: Doug Gilmour. If 1400+ games and points, many as a captain, doesn’t make you a hall of famer, maybe we should rethink George Armstrong. Both are former leafs who scored cup-winning goals…Gilmour just happened to do it for Calgary.
3: Dino Ciccarelli. Nearly a point per game through 1200+ games, he’s been kept out of the hall because of some questionable off-ice behavior. He’s been left to twist in the wind long enough, it’s time for him to finally get in.
4:John Vanbiesbrouck. Of eligible goalies, he’s the best. Tom Barrasso would also be acceptable, even if he did play for my high school’s rival before breaking into the NHL.
Honorable Mention: Phil Housley. One of the best American defensemen of all time, he’s cursed by a lack of Stanley Cups. I expect Messier to get into the Hall again before Housley does, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t.

First female inductee: Cammi Granato has been the first woman into 2 other hall of fames already – USHHOF and IHHOF – and with good reason. I see no reason to break the pattern. (USA! USA! USA!) (Editor’s note: Cornelius cheated! This won’t count but it’s still cool to have her in the post again.)

Scotty Wazz
http://scottywazz.blogspot.com/

1. Dino Ciccarelli: Aside from the off-ice shenanigans, Ciccarelli was a solid scorer and someone who was dependable for most of his career. 600+ goals and 1200 points is something that shouldn’t be left out of the Hall anymore.

2. Adam Oates: There wasn’t a better passer and probably never will be. Like Ciccarelli, the lack of Cup ring will definitely hurt him in the field of guys who have it– but even so; he should be able to get in on pointage alone.

3. Pavel Bure: While his career was cut short, the impact he had when it came to people looking at Russian players is something that paved that way for the likes of Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin. The only thing that will screw him over is the shortness of his career.

4. Joe Nieuwendyk: Three Cups and someone who was able to get into their role position after he was no longer the big fish in the small pond. While his stats were never flashy, he got the job done in the long run and contributed where needed.

Honorable Mention: Mike Richter: How he was passed up in his prior voting is a shock; but he will be again. NHL accomplishments aside, he did a lot of great international work with USA Hockey.

Bryan Reynolds
http://www.hockeywilderness.com

Joe Nieuwendyk – This guy has all of the numbers. 564 goals, 1126 points, three Stanley Cups. This guy is a mortal lock.

Phil Housley – Top scoring American born D-man ever. Second only to Mike Modano for highest scoring American regardless of position. If Housley doesn’t get in, the selection committee should be ashamed of themselves.

Dino Ciccarelli – The 600 goal club is a small one, and the fact that Dino is not in the hall is a travesty. I don’t think off the ice incidents (indecent exposure) should hurt a guy’s chance to get in the Hall. It’s about on ice success, and Dino was one of the best.

Dave Andreychuk – Another 600 goal club member left out of the hall. Stanley Cup, over 1300 points, in a relatively weak class of possible inductees. I’m not sure what a shoe-in vote looks like, but he has to be it.

Honorable mention:

Mike Vernon – No, he doesn’t have the greatest numbers of all time, but he beat the tar out of Patrick Roy. That has to count for something.

Cassie McClellan
http://www.rawcharge.com

1. Kevin Lowe – As much as I dislike him as the president of the Edmonton Oilers, there’s no denying that he was a presence on those five Cup winning Edmonton Oilers teams. And he managed to add a sixth Cup win when with the NY Rangers. Even if it was just luck on his part, those six rings speak volumes.

2. Cammi Granato – Manon Rhéaume may have broken the gender barrier in the NHL – even if it was only during the preseason – but Granato has accomplished far more on the ice than Rhéaume has. She’s won just about everything there is to win in women’s hockey, including the first-ever Olympic gold medal at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan. In 2007, she was one of the winners of the Lester Patrick Award, which is often awarded to NHLers; if that doesn’t say something, then I don’t know what does.

3. Alexander Mogilny – Mogilny’s on-ice accomplishments were many, but it’s his off-ice accomplishment that makes him HHOF-worthy. He was the first Russian to defect in 1989 as a junior player to the US to come play hockey in the NHL – the Soviet Union didn’t fall until two years later in 1991. Mogilny’s bravery led the way for other Russians to join him in North America, such as Sergei Fedorov and Pavel Bure.

4. Manon Rhéaume – She was the face of women’s hockey for many years, and inspired a generation of girls to toss their figure skates for a pair of hockey skates – or even just to learn to skate so they could play hockey. She broke the NHL gender barrier by playing two NHL preseason games with the Tampa Bay Lightning, one in 1992 versus the St. Louis Blues and the other in 1993 versus the Boston Bruins. She also participated in the first ever women’s ice hockey Olympic tournament in 1998 with Team Canada, winning the silver medal.

Honorable Mention, Mike Richter – Perhaps not the most successful goaltender on the list, but his accomplishments to grow the game here in the US were great. He was, for many years, the face of USA Hockey – and he lived up to that admirably. It doesn’t hurt that he also managed to win a Cup in 1994 with the NY Rangers as well.

Ivan Makarov (no relation to Sergei, though)
http://www.fearthefin.com

1. Joe Nieuwendyk
2. Eric Lindros
3. Pavel Bure
4. Sergei Makarov

Honorable Mention: John LeClair – consistent performer, but not quite the first-year inductee.

There is no question Joe should be elected on the first ballot – he has the numbers, the trophies and the rings. Lindros and Bure do not have the rings, but when we think of the players who dominated the game in the 90s, those two come up in all conversations. All young Canadian and Russian prospects with high potential are still compared to those two all the time. Finally, Makarov belongs to HOF too. No doubt he was one of the best players to ever play the game and it’s a shame he was in his prime when he couldn’t play with the best in the NHL.

Blogger Tally

Nieuwendyk 7

Oates 4

Gilmour 4

Bure 4

Ciccarelli 4

Andreychuk 3

Granato 2

Mogilny 2

Loob

Chabot

Vernon

Vanbiesbrouck

Housley

Rheaume

Lowe

Lindros

Makarov

Predators land another steal in signing Saros, Rinne’s heir apparent

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Nashville Predators GM David Poile hasn’t lost his knack for signing promising young players to outstanding value contracts.

Monday represents the latest coup, as goalie-of-the-future Juuse Saros signed a dirt-cheap deal: three years, just $4.5 million overall (so a $1.5M cap hit). That’s truly fantastic stuff for a goalie whose career save percentage is a superb .923.

Now, obviously, the sample size is small for the 23-year-old. That save percentage was accrued over 48 games, with all but one of those appearances happening during the last two seasons. Still, his numbers are promising at other levels, so there’s some credence to the notion that he could end up being a strong NHL starter.

Considering some of the money being thrown around at backups this summer, the Predators landed a great deal even if Saros doesn’t reach his considerable ceiling.

One would think that this only solidifies the passing of the torch from Pekka Rinne to Saros, but we’ll see. Rinne’s $7M cap hit expires after 2018-19, and at 35, you have to wonder if a decline is looming.

The beauty of getting three years of Saros’ services at such a cheap price is that the Predators aren’t boxed into a corner, though. If they feel most comfortable with a slower transition from Rinne to Saros, possibly morphing into a platoon, that’s an option (especially if, after fattening his bank account, Rinne signs his next deal for a palatable price). There are also some other scenarios: Saros could give the Predators 2-3 years of starter-level work at a cut rate, or Nashville could pivot to a different paradigm in net altogether.

(Honestly, would it be that shocking if Saros ends up being a better goalie than Connor Hellebuyck, for instance?)

Simply put, most – if not all – of the NHL’s other GMs should be jealous of Nashville’s unusual mixture of potential production and flexibility at the goaltending position. Those other GMs should take notes.

[It’s been a great day for Nashville, who also signed Ryan Hartman for cheap.]

Speaking of masterful GM work, this signing swings back to one of Poile’s greatest strengths: locking up promising players to team-friendly deals either before a breakthrough happens or right as it begins.

Consider some of the beautiful contracts he’s put together, leveraging RFA situations and tax-related perks:

  • Again, that Saros salary is sweet, and Rinne’s $7M goes away when Nashville needs to lock down other pieces.
  • Ryan Ellis is about to end a five-year contract that carried an almost comically low $2.5M cap hit. He’ll get paid on his next deal, and deft moves like these make it more feasible for him to stick with the Predators. Ellis is 27, so Nashville landed some of his peak years.
  • Filip Forsberg is a legit game-breaker. The 23-year-old’s cap hit is just $6M through 2021-22 (he’s three years into a six-year contract).
  • Viktor Arvidsson‘s bargain contract is no secret. He’s a top-line, 25-year-old winger making $4.25M per season through 2023-24(!).
  • Nashville boasts two 28-year-old defensemen also on enviable contracts. Roman Josi‘s ridiculous $4M contract ends after 2019-20, a seven-year deal among the best in recent NHL memory. Mattias Ekholm ($3.875M per year, six seasons, ends after 2021-22) is right there with Josi and Ellis as great blueline bargains.
  • Just about anyone can sign a first-rounder to an entry-level contract, but it’s worth noting that Eeli Tolvanen didn’t burn a year off of his rookie deal. If he can live up to the hype, the Predators would get three seasons of his sniping at a ludicrous price.

It almost feels like cheating, right? Most NHL front offices would pop open some champagne if they nabbed two of those steals, let alone the litany of bargains Poile has landed.

Now, sure, there are some expenditures. P.K. Subban absolutely ranks as elite, but $9M isn’t cheap. (He’s worth it, but that isn’t cheap.) Ryan Johansen‘s a little rich at $8M and $6M for Kyle Turris looked a little shakier when he was something of a non-factor during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Even then, it’s not outrageous to picture Johansen and/or Turris delivering at a nice level, especially since those deals will account for less and less of each season’s cap percentage.

Once again, it looks like the Predators knocked one of the park with a signing when it comes to Saros.

For all we know, the conglomeration of smart moves could net the Predators a Stanley Cup, and possibly more than one. That said, a lot can happen, so you never know if all of this promise will come to fruition during the rigors (and thanks to the randomness) of the postseason.

Either way, other GMs could learn a lot from David Poile, as this is a masterwork of team-building.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Henrique’s great fit with Ducks pays off with $29 million extension

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As the New Jersey Devils went through a transition this season, it became clear Adam Henrique’s role had changed, and his production took a hit. A late November trade and a new role with the Anaheim Ducks fueled a turn in the right direction — one that has resulted in a five-year extension for the 28-year-old forward.

The Ducks announced on Monday that Henrique, who still has one year left on his deal, signed on through the 2023-24 NHL season with a total contract value of $29.125 million. The $5.825 million cap hit, per The Athletic’s Josh Cooper, puts him fifth-highest on the team beginning with the 2019-20 season.

(Now that Henrique has signed an extension with the Ducks, per the conditions of the deal New Jersey will receive a 2019 third-round pick from Anaheim.)

In 57 games in Anaheim during the regular season Henrique scored 20 goals and recorded 36 points. He found great chemistry on a line with Nick Ritchie and Ondrej Kase as the trio put up terrific numbers together. The trade was one that filled needs for both sides and both Henrique and Sami Vatanen, who went to New Jersey, immediately found fits in their new locations.

“With us, it puts him back into a more offensive role, which I think he’s going to love,” said Ducks general manager Bob Murray earlier this season. “He’s not old by any means. Sometimes when teams rebuild or reboot, or have this process, maybe it’s time for people to get a change of scenery. It doesn’t mean they’re bad players.”

The work continues for Murray, who has Henrique’s restricted free agent linemates and Brandon Montour to re-sign this summer. Then there are extensions for Jakob Silfverberg and John Gibson, who both have one year left on their current contracts, to figure out. Add all that to the fact that Murray vowed changes after a disappointing playoff exit, plus Ryan Kesler‘s questionable status for next season and a roster re-shaping could be in the plans.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Flames make fascinating bet with Elias Lindholm contract

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The Calgary Flames’ pivotal decision to trade Dougie Hamilton to the Carolina Hurricanes for a package including Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin was tough to immediately call. Maybe it makes sense, then, that Lindholm’s contract also seems divisive.

At least the terms of the deal are clear: six years, $29.1 million, which calls for a $4.85M cap hit. That’s official from the Flames, while Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that Lindholm isn’t receiving any sort of no-trade/no-movement clauses.

Some criticisms

Whether you love or loathe the terms, it’s clear that the Flames are making a big commitment to Lindholm. If the results are middling, one can bet that people will note that Dougie Hamilton’s cap hit ($5.75M, through 2020-21) doesn’t cost a whole lot more than Lindholm’s new mark. Considering that the Flames still need to sign tough-to-gauge Hanifin to a new deal, the bill for this trade could end up being steep.

For what it’s worth, 55-percent of PHT voters believed that the Hurricanes won the trade, at least on the day it was made.

Despite five seasons already in the NHL (although he was limited to 58 games as a rookie in 2013-14), Lindholm hasn’t yet reached the 20-goal plateau. His career-high so far is 17 goals, while his peak for points so far was 45. He’s falling into a price range with some really nice players, such as Nazem Kadri and Sean Couturier. Looking at the simplest stats, Lindholm seems like a gamble.

And, again, people will beat up on the Flames if Hamilton – and to a lesser extent, Micheal Ferland – go on a tear in Carolina.

With another interesting yet even riskier investment in James Neal, the Flames are really rolling the dice this summer. If those gambles end up looking foolish, Calgary could be stuck for a while. That would bring back unpleasant memories of the albatross deals that hampered the Darryl Sutter era.

The good

At 23, some growth is conceivable, although some might remark that Lindholm probably is what he is after logging 374 regular-season games.

Of course, Lindholm could very well put up impressive numbers if he hits the linemate lottery with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. In that scenario, the Flames’ longer commitments would be a blessing rather than a curse, as a shorter deal would have opened up greater risks for Lindholm to excessively inflate his value.

Even a more modest good-cause scenario would be that Lindholm might give the Flames the sort of supporting scoring they’ve desperately needed beyond Gaudreau – Monahan and the possession monster trio of Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik, and Matthew Tkachuk.

Speaking of possession stats, Lindholm checks out in that area, for the most part. (The Hurricanes hog the puck so much that sometimes it’s easy to take a guy like Lindholm for granted.)

At $4.85M, Lindholm is a fair enough value. The Flames are probably crossing their fingers that such a contract looks like a steal in hindsight. Such a scenario is far from outrageous.

***

Overall, it seems like a pricey but reasonable decision. If nothing else, we can’t accuse the Flames of being cheap, as Lindholm + Hanifin are poised to be more expensive (possibly a lot more expensive) than Hamilton + Ferland, although Adam Fox clouds that situation.

Again, that trade is something fans of the Flames and Hurricanes will be chewing on for years, so it only seems right that Lindholm’s value may also fuel some fun/nerdy hockey debates.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Police: Drowning of NHL goalie Ray Emery not suspicious

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HAMILTON, Ontario (AP) — The drowning of former NHL goalie Ray Emery does not appear suspicious, police said.

The 35-year-old player whose career spanned 11 seasons drowned in Hamilton Harbour on Sunday.

He jumped off a boat near the Leander Boat Club to go swimming, and friends called emergency services at about 6 a.m. when he didn’t resurface, police said. Inspector Marty Schulenberg called it a ”case of misadventure.”

Emery’s body was found at about 2:50 p.m. Sunday, about 20 yards from where he went into the water, Schulenberg added. He said first responders were not able to locate Emery right away so they called the dive unit. The search took longer than anticipated because of concerns for the dive team.

”It’s a lengthy process and safety is paramount to our divers,” he said. ”We need to take the time do it safely and that’s what the delay was.”

A post-mortem was to be completed Monday.

”Mr. Emery was taking a swim this morning and the circumstances around that are a part of the investigation,” Schulenberg said. ”Those details remain to be uncovered by our investigators.”

Emery played for Ottawa, Chicago and Philadelphia. He helped the Senators reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2007 and won it as a backup with the Blackhawks in 2013.

The Blackhawks lauded him as a ”fierce competitor, a good teammate and a Stanley Cup champion.” Flyers President Paul Holmgren cited his ”talent, work ethic and determination,” calling him an ”outstanding teammate and an extremely gifted goaltender.”

Emery battled avascular necrosis, the same serious hip ailment that ended two-sport star Bo Jackson’s career. He and fellow Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford combined to win the William Jennings Trophy for allowing the league’s fewest goals during the lockout-shortened 2013 season and finished seventh in Vezina Trophy voting.

Emery played in 326 NHL regular-season and playoff games. He went 145-86-28 with a 2.70 goals-against average and 16 shutouts.

He faced issues off the ice, including an incident of road rage, assault of a trainer in Russia and behavior that led to his dismissal from Ottawa’s training camp.

”Ray had many highs and lows in his personal life and his career,” longtime agent J.P. Barry said. ”He never let things that would derail most of us stop his forward momentum. He had a big heart and a fun loving personality. He was someone we all rooted for to succeed.”

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas knew Emery from junior hockey and the American Hockey League. He said Emery’s ”smile and intelligence made him a magnetic personality.”

Emery played in a charity hockey game Saturday night organized by Zac Rinaldo of the Nashville Predators. After word of his death spread, condolences poured in.

”I will always remember Ray as a good person first & foremost,” friend and former teammate Dan Carcillo wrote on Twitter. ”I envied his demeanor. He had a contagious personality.”

Former teammates pointed to Emery’s mentorship and leadership, especially in his final professional season in the AHL in 2015-16. Enforcer-turned-analyst Paul Bissonnette, a teammate with the AHL’s Ontario Reign, said Emery would treat other players to dinner almost every night.

”I’d heard nothing but great things before meeting him,” Bissonnette said. ”And it was true.”

AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno and The Canadian Press contributed to this report.