The Hockey Hall of Fame vote will be different this year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 18-person Selection Committee will debate virtually, with the 2020 class announced on Wednesday afternoon. All voting is done via secret ballot, so we never know who fell just short and who made it in a landslide.
The committee can elect a maximum of four male players, two female players, and either two builders or one builder and one referee or linesman. All candidates need to receive at least 14 votes (75%) to get in.
Last year’s class consisted of Hayley Wickenheiser, Guy Carbonneau, Sergei Zubov, Vaclav Nedomansky, Jim Rutherford, and Jerry York.
The question of whether the 2020 induction ceremony, currently scheduled for Nov. 16 in Toronto, will take place remains an unknown at the moment.
So who will get the call this year? Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa, and Shane Doan are among those players in their first year of eligibility. One is a lock; another is a possibility; and the third will probably end up in the “falling short” category every time we debate the Hall of Fame.
Let’s take a look at who might make up the 2020 class.
Jarome Iginla — The one lock. Iginla spent 1,219 of his 1,554 NHL games as a member of the Flames. After breaking into the league in 1996, “Iggy” went on to score 625 goals, record 1,300 points, win two Rocket Richard Trophies, the King Clancy, the Art Ross, and the Ted Lindsay Award. He reached the 50-goal mark twice and hit 40 goals four times. Before he became a six-time All-Star, he won two Memorial Cups with the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL. On the international scene, he represented Canada at various levels, winning two World Junior Championships, one World Championship, one World Cup of Hockey, and two Olympic gold medals. It was his pass that led to Sidney Crosby’s golden goal during the 2010 tournament in Vancouver.
Daniel Alfredsson – This is Alfie’s fourth year of eligibility. A veteran of 18 NHL seasons, he has an impressive resume and strong international credentials to make the cut. He scored 444 goals and recorded 1,157 points during his NHL career, and has a trophy cabinet that features Olympic gold and silver medals, the 1996 Calder Trophy, six NHL All-Star appearances, the King Clancy, and inclusion in the IIHF Hall of Fame.
Marian Hossa – He’s a first-ballot HOFer to me, but given how under-appreciated he was during his 19-season NHL career it would be fitting if he’s overlooked in a year absent a large number of locks. For his resume, Hossa has a Memorial Cup title and three Stanley Cup rings to his name. He represented Slovakia at the World Championships eight times, Olympic Games four times, and played in two World Cup of Hockey tournaments — once for his home country and the other for Team Europe. In 1,309 NHL games, Hossa scored 525 goals and recorded 1,134 points. The production continued into the postseason with 149 points in 205 playoff games.
His trophy case lacks a number of individual honors, however. He was runner-up for the Calder Trophy in 1999, the only time in his career he was a finalist for an NHL award. His two-way game was sorely underrated and that was reflected in Selke Trophy voting where he finished 10th or better only three times.
Alexander Mogilny – He was the first Soviet player to defect west and when he arrived he quickly made his mark. His 76-goal season in 1992-93 tied him for the NHL’s goal scoring lead with Teemu Selanne. He would finish with 127 points that season. A year later the Sabres named him the first European captain in league history. When it was all said and done, the six-time All-Star scored 473 goals and recorded 1,032 points. He’s a member of the IIHF’s Triple Gold Club after winning the Stanley Cup, Olympic gold and World Championship gold. He also helped the Soviet Union to gold at the World Junior Championship.
Rod Brind’Amour — The Hurricanes head coach has seen his support grow since first becoming eligible. The induction of Carbonneau last year could help Brind’Amour make it to Toronto. A two-way stalwart, he scored 452 goals and recorded 1,184 points in 1,484 NHL games. Along with the 2006 Stanley Cup, he also has two Selke Trophies to his name. You can argue his resume is better than Carbonneau’s. Finally, from the News and Observer’s Luke DeCock: “There are 36 players in NHL history who had 15 seasons with 49 or more points. Thirty-five of them are in the Hall of Fame. Want to guess who’s not?”
Curtis Joseph – 454 wins, 51 shutouts, an Olympic gold medal, three-time NHL All-Star. A three-time Vezina Trophy finalist, CuJo had himself a fine career, but did not win a Stanley Cup or any individual hardware. Is he Hall of Fame worthy or perfectly fit for the Hall of Very Good ? Only seven goalies have been inducted into the Hall since 1990 via the player category.
Boris Mikhailov – The long time Soviet captain had a decorated career playing for CSKA Moscow and representing his country. Domestically, Mikhailov scored 429 goals for CSKA and recorded 653 points, leading them to 11 Soviet League titles. On the international scene, the long time captain captured two Olympic golds and eight gold at the World Championships. The support for international stars has grown with the inductions of Sergei Makarov (2016), Alexander Yakushev (2018), and Vaclav Nedomansky (2019). If not Mikhail this year, perhaps Vladimir Petrov? Sven Tumba? Alexander Maltsev?
Jeremy Roenick – 513 goals, 1,216 points, nine-time All-Star, silver medals at the Canada Cup and Olympic Games. Roenick’s elite level status only lasted for a few seasons in the early 1990s. After three-straight 100-point and 45-plus goal seasons, his production settled into the “very good” range in the mid-90s. Roenick did not win any individual hardware during his career, so even in classes where there appears to be an opening, the door might remain closed for him.
Doug Wilson – 237 goals, 827 points, 1982 Norris Trophy winner, eight-time All-Star, Canada Cup gold. His name has sprung up in Hall of Fame discussions over the last few years even after having been on the ballot for over two decades. He played during an era dominated by Paul Coffey and Ray Bourque, but examine his career and it was a pretty solid one. He finished his up top 20 in points by a defenseman and top 10 in points per game. A fun piece of trivia via Sean McIndoe of The Athletic that bolsters his case: “Here’s the complete list of players who both won a Norris Trophy (peak) and finished in the top 25 all-time in defenseman scoring (longevity), but haven’t been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame: Doug Wilson, and that’s it.”
Tom Barrasso – 369 wins, 38 shutouts, youngest goalie to win the Calder Trophy and youngest winner of the Vezina, 1985 Jennings Trophy, two-time Stanley Cup winner, 2002 Olympic silver medal.
Shane Doan — 1,540 games with the Jets/Coyotes franchise, 402 goals, 972 points, two World Championship gold medals, one World Cup of Hockey gold medal, two-time Memorial Cup winner, two-time NHL All-Star, King Clancy Trophy winner.
Patrik Elias – 408 goals, 1,025 points, Olympic bronze, two World Championships bronze medals, two-time Stanley Cup winner, nine 20-plus goal seasons.
Theo Fleury – 455 goals, 1,088 points, seven-time All-Star, gold at the World Junior Championship, Canada Cup and Olympics, silver at the World Championship and World Cup of Hockey, 1989 Stanley Cup winner. Here’s something in his favor, via TSN’S Steve Dryden: “Only 15 players in NHL history have averaged at least one point per game in both the regular season (min. 1,000 games) and playoffs (min. 75 games). Fourteen are in the HHOF.” That list includes Wayne Gretzky, Joe Sakic, Phil Esposito, Jean Beliveau, Gordie Howe, and Mark Messier.
Sergei Gonchar – 220 goals, 811 points, five-time All-Star, 2009 Stanley Cup title (two more as a coach), silver and bronze medals from the Olympics and World Championships, eight 50-plus point seasons, five straight seasons with at least 18 goals.
Steve Larmer – 441 goals, 1,012 points, 1983 Calder Trophy, two-time All-Star, 1991 Canada Cup gold, 1994 Stanley Cup title, owns third-longest consecutive games streak in NHL history.
Vincent Lecavalier – 421 goals, 949 points, 2004 World Cup of Hockey gold and MVP, 2004 Stanley Cup, 2007 Rocket Richard Trophy, 2008 King Clancy Trophy, four-time NHL All-Star. It’s not quite the trophy case of 2018 inductee Martin St. Louis, so that could probably leave Lecavalier stuck in the Hall of Very Good.
Jere Lehtinen – 243 goals, 514 points, three-time Selke Trophy winner (as a winger), one Stanley Cup, World Championship gold and three silvers, one Olympic silver, three Olympic bronze medals, one World Cup of Hockey silver, IIHF Hall of Fame inductee.
Kent Nilsson – 262 goals, 686 points, two-time NHL All-Star, 1987 Stanley Cup title, 1978 WHA rookie of the year, two-time WHA champion, IIHF Hall of Famer, Canada Cup and World Championship silver medals with Sweden.
Chris Osgood – 401 wins, 50 shutouts, three-time Stanley Cup champion, two-time Jennings Trophy winner. A good goalie on some great Red Wings teams for a long time. How much has that hurt his candidacy?
Keith Tkachuk – 538 goals, 1,065 points, 1996 World Cup of Hockey champion, Olympic silver medal. He’s 33rd on the NHL’s all-time goals list. Only four players ahead of him are not in the Hall of Fame; but Alex Ovechkin, Jaromir Jagr, and Jarome Iginla will end up there. Maybe Patrick Marleau, too. Like Roenick, Tkachuk’s numbers are good, but he’s in a range where there are a handful of players with similar stats. While Joe Mullen’s inclusion may help Tkachuk or Roenick at some point in time, right now, he’s just on the outside.
Jennifer Botterill – Since the Hall regularly started inducting women a decade ago, there’s still plenty of catching up to do. Given the number of worthy candidates, there’s no reason at least one of two women should be going in every year. Botterill has had a strong case for some time. A three-time Olympic gold medalist, she also helped Canada win five World Championship golds while averaging over a point per game in her international career (62 goals, 164 points, 162 games). Before starring on the international, Botterill was a two-time winner of the Patty Kazmeier Award, which recognizes the top women’s college player.
Karyn Bye-Dietz – She was part of the gold medal winning U.S. team at the 1998 Olympics and took home silver at the 2002 Games and six World Championships. During the ’98 Games, Bye-Dietz led the Americans with five goals and eight points and finished her international career with 84 points in 51 games. In 2011 she was only the fifth woman to be inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame, and in 2014 was named to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
Maria Rooth – A 2015 IIHF Hall of Famer, the forward represented Finland at the Olympic four times, taking home silver and bronze. She played 265 times for Sweden and finished with 105 goals. Before her international career, Rooth played at Minnesota Duluth where she ended her collegiate career with three NCAA titles, was the second-leading scorer in school history (119 goals, 232 points) and a three-time All-American. She’s also the only woman to have her number retired in the history of the program.
Kim St. Pierre – There are a lot of gold medals in St. Pierre’s trophy case. Inside you’ll find three from the Olympics, five from the World Championships, and one from the Four Nations Cup. The netminder played 83 times for Canada, helping them win 64 times with 29 shutouts. She earned best goalie honors at the 2002 Olympics, as well World Championships in 2001 and 2004. She also won the Clarkson Cup twice with Montreal Stars of the CWHL and was named the league’s top goaltender two seasons in a row.
Red Berenson – After an NHL career that lasted 987 games and saw him win a Stanley Cup with the Canadiens, score six goals in a game once, and represent Canada in the famed 1972 Summit Series, Berenson went into coaching. After six seasons as a coach with the Blues and Sabres, he left for the college game and was behind the bench for the University of Michigan until 2017. In those 33 years, he helped the program to a pair of national championships, 11 Frozen Four appearances and 11 conference titles. He won CCHA coach of the year twice, was the 2008 Spencer Penrose Award winner for top D-I coach, and going back to his NHL coaching days, was the 1981 winner of the Jack Adams Award.
Ken Hitchcock – His coaching resume lists 849 wins (third all-time), one Stanley Cup title, and numerous players thankful for his influence and teams who were improved with him behind their bench. He’s also owner of a HOF-worthy sweatshirt.
Mike Keenan – Whether it was his quick hook with goalies or clashing with his players, there was never a dull moment when “Iron Mike” was coaching your team. But he also did win 672 NHL games and the 1985 Jack Adams Award. His teams won four conference titles and he helped lead the Rangers to the Stanley Cup in 1994, ending their 54-year drought. He also won in Russia, guiding Metallurg Magnitogorsk to the 2014 Gagarin Cup title, making him the first North American coach to win the KHL championship and the first coach to win both the Gagarin Cup and the Stanley Cup. Keenan’s championships also include the 1983 AHL Calder Cup and two Canada Cups, including the legendary 1987 tournament.
Bryan Murray – He compiled 620 wins as a head coach for five teams over 17 NHL season and made the Stanley Cup Playoffs 12 times in 13 full seasons behind a bench. He won the Jack Adams Award in 1984 and was named NHL Executive of the Year after building the 1995-96 Panthers team that reached the Cup Final.
Marguerite Norris – Following her dad’s death in 1952 she became the NHL’s first female executive and later was the first woman to have her name on the Stanley Cup after the Red Wings’ won in 1954. In Jen Conway’s case for Norris in 2017, she wrote, “The Red Wings became a more profitable team under her care, and she tried to convince the other owners that televised games were the future. She also advocated for arenas to be more female-friendly and for the farm team system then in place be revamped to be more equitable and fair to all the teams.”
Viktor Tikhonov – The head coach of the dominant “Red Machine” passed away in 2014 and is long overdue for induction for his influence on the game. Tikhonov, a 1998 IIHF Hall of Famer as a builder, led the Soviets to the 1981 Canada Cup, eight golds at the World Championships, two at the Olympics and another coaching the Unified Team at the 1992 Games. He also coached CSKA Moscow and led them to 12 straight league titles.