The lack of a 2021 Hockey Hall of Fame class means the 2022 induction ceremony will feature a very deep group of legends.
After the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Hall of Fame Selection Committee to postpone voting on a 2021 class, the tradition returned Monday night as the six-person 2020 group was inducted in Toronto. Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa, Kevin Lowe, Doug Wilson, Kim St-Pierre and Ken Holland were honored and finally able to deliver their speeches for the momentous occasion.
No Class of 2021 means a packed group of eligibles to be voted in by the 18-person Hall Selection Committee next June. There is little room for surprises this year as Henrik and Daniel Sedin, and Caroline Ouellette are the likely locks for induction next November. Who might join them? Will it be the newly-eligible Roberto Luongo and/or Meghan Duggan? Will the waiting come to an end for Daniel Alfredsson, Alexander Mogilny, Rod Brind’Amour, Jennifer Botterill, Viktor Tikhonov, Herb Carnegie, or Red Berenson? What about a first-timer like Henrik Zetterberg?
Let’s take a look at who the Hall might be calling come next June.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin — The Canucks duo have long been favorite for first-ballot admission due to not only their NHL play, but also representing Sweden. We’ll start with Daniel and his 393 goals and 1,041 points in 1,306 games all with Vancouver. He won the Ted Lindsay Award and Art Ross Trophy, and was named a First Team All-Star in 2011. He holds the Canucks franchise record for goals and power play goals (138). With Sweden he won an Olympic gold medal in 2006 and silver in 2014. He also helped Tre Kronor to gold at the 2013 World Championship and 1998 U-18 Worlds.
Henrik finished with 1,330 games played and 240 goals and 1,070 points. He won the Hart and Art Ross Trophies in 2010, and was a two-time NHL First Team All-Star. He holds five Canucks franchise records for assists (830), assists in a single season (83), most consecutive regular season games played (679), points in a single season (112), and is the team’s all-time leading scorer (1,070 points). Like Daniel, Henrik won gold at the 2006 Olympics and 2013 World Championship with Sweden.
Caroline Ouellette — The Canadian legend has a trophy case full of gold medals from the Olympics (4), World Championships (6, plus six silvers), and Four Nations Cup (8), along with four Clarkson Cup titles. Before she starred on the international stage, Ouellette dominated at Minnesota-Duluth finishing in the top-10 in all-time NCAA scoring with 229 points. She is also one of five athletes to win four straight Olympic gold medals and is a member of the women’s Triple Gold Club with wins at the Olympics, World Championships, and Clarkson Cup.
Daniel Alfredsson – 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.
Red Berenson (Builder Category) – 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 an NHL 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.
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 should be at least one woman 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.
Herb Carnegie (Builder Category) – A successful career in the Quebec league’s of the 1940’s and 1950’s saw Carnegie as a frequent scorer and three-time Most Valuable Player. He could have been the first Black player in the NHL, even Willie O’Ree would tell you that. The Rangers offered him a minor league contract but Carnegie turned it down because it was for less money than he was being paid with the Sherbrooke St. Francis. When he hung up his skates he started the Future Aces hockey school and a foundation that gave out scholarships to kids across Canada.
Roberto Luongo — 489 wins (fourth all-time), gold at two Olympics and two World Championships, plus another at the World Cup of Hockey. Luongo didn’t win any major NHL awards outside of the Jennings Trophy, but he was up for the Hart and was a three-time Vezina Trophy finalist. He does have the numbers to make a case. Of the seven goaltenders who have appeared in at least 900 games, Luongo has the highest save percentage (.919); he’s top-10 in shutouts (77), and is one of three netminders to have started at least 1,000 games.
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.
Viktor Tikhonov (Builder Category) – 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.
Rod Brind’Amour — The Hurricanes head coach has seen his support grow since first becoming eligible. The induction of Guy Carbonneau in 2019 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?”
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.
Henrik Zetterberg — A player who knew only one NHL franchise, Zetterberg walked away from the game in 2018 due to a degenerative back condition. He played all 1,082 games of his career with the Red Wings compiling 337 goals and 960 points while helping Detroit to a Stanley Cup title in 2008, where he also won the Conn Smythe Trophy. Zetterberg excelled with Sweden as well winning gold at the 2006 Olympics and World Championship.
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, 0.827 points per game, Olympic bronze, two World Championships bronze medals, two-time Stanley Cup winner, First Team NHL All-Star, 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.
Milan Hejduk – 375 goals, 805 points, Olympic gold, a Stanley Cup, a Rocket Richard Trophy, a five-time 30-goal scorer.
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.
Steve Larmer – 441 goals, 1,012 points, 1983 Calder Trophy, two-time All-Star, 1991 Canada Cup gold, 1994 Stanley Cup title, owns sixth-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.
Rick Nash – 437 goals, 805 points, gold with Canada at two Olympics and the 2007 World Championships. He shared the 2004 Rocket Richard Trophy with Jarome Iginla and llya Kovalchuk and provided us with one of the goals of the century:
Markus Näslund – 395 goals, 869 points, 0.97 points peer game, Hart Trophy runner-up and Lester Pearson Award winner (2003), three-time First Team All-Star.
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?
Tim Thomas – A late bloomer, Thomas came to the Bruins in 2005 and eventually took over as the team’s No. 1 netminder. He would help them to the 2010-11 Stanley Cup title and win the Conn Smythe Trophy. He would also go on to win the Vezina Trophy twice; become a two-time First Team All-Star; and share the Jennings Trophy with Manny Fernandez. Thomas became the first goalie since Bernie Parent to win the Vezina, Stanley Cup, and Conn Smythe in the same season.
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 three players ahead of him are not in the Hall of Fame; but Alex Ovechkin andJaromir Jagr 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.
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 Olympics, 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.
Natalie Darwitz – Before her decorated international career with the U.S., Darwitz excelled on the collegiate stage as a three-time All-American and three-time Patty Kazmeier Memorial Award finalist at Minnesota. She dominated with the Golden Gophers scoring 102 goals and 246 points over three seasons, helping them to back-to-back national titles. Representing her country, Darwitz would help the Americans to two Olympic silver medals and bronze; three golds and five silvers at the World Championship; and two golds and eight silvers at the 4 Nations Cup.
Meghan Duggan – A seven-time gold medalist at the World Championships, Duggan was also part for the U.S. squad that took home gold at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang. The American legend was also a Clarkson Cup winner with the Boston Blades in 2015 and was voted the 2011 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner for her play at the University of Wisconsin. During her collegiate career she titled 108 goals and 238 points in 159 games.
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.
Ken Hitchcock – His coaching resume lists 849 wins (fourth 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 seasons 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.”