The list of nominees for the Hockey Hall Of Fame has been released. You can see the whole list here. There are some very deserving candidates this year. Here’s who I think should make it.
- Rob Blake, defenseman. Rob Blake is one of the greatest defensemen to ever lace up a pair of skates in the NHL. Not only did he score 777 points in 1270 games, which is well over a point every two games, he was also very good defensively. He only won the Norris Trophy one time, but he finished in the top five four times. Chris Pronger and Nicklas Lidstrom (three times) won the Norris each of those years. He was also beaten out those years by the likes of Scott Stevens, Raymond Bourque, and Chris Chelios. Each of them are in the Hall of Fame. Blake didn’t get in on his first year on the ballot, but I believe he fully deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Averaging a point every two games as a defenseman is extremely impressive, no matter what era you played in.
- Peter Forsberg, center. Peter Forsberg is arguably one of the ten best centers in NHL history. This will be his first year on the ballot, and it should also be his last. In 708 career games, Forsberg scored 885 points. He was the leader of the Colorado Avalanche teams that won two Stanley Cups. He might have only won one Hart Trophy and one Ross Trophy, but his influence on the game and his greatness are both undeniable to anyone who watched Forsberg play. Forsberg should rightfully join the Hall Of Fame this year.
- Dominik Hasek, goalie. Dominik Hasek is one of the best goalies in NHL history. His 2.13 career GAA is seventh all-time and is a testament to his greatness. His 92.2% career save percentage is the highest in NHL history. He won six Vezina Trophies, three Jennings Trophies, two Pearson Trophies, and two Hart Trophies. He’ll unquestionably be elected into the Hall Of Fame this year.
- Mike Modano, center. Mike Modano has a case that he is the best USA-born hockey player ever. His 561 career goals and 1,374 points are both records for USA-born players. He was a bit overshadowed in his career by players like Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, but Modano was still a terrific hockey player. He fully deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
- Eric Lindros, center/forward. Eric Lindros has always been a bit under-appreciated. Despite tons of injuries, he still wound up having an extremely successful career. In 760 games, Lindros had 865 points. Hockey Reference rates him as the 61st best player ever. Lindros was always an extremely tough player to play against with his blend of speed, size, and strength. Most people might not agree with me, but I think he deserves to be in the Hall Of Fame.
- Sergei Makarov, forward. I know what you’re thinking: “But Dave! Sergei only played seven seasons in the NHL and wasn’t even a point per game player! Why is he deserving to be in the Hall Of Fame?” While Makarov did not do much in the NHL, he had an outstanding international career and is considered one of the best Russian hockey players of all-time. In 519 games in the USSR, he scored 710 points. This isn’t just the NHL Hall Of Fame, it’s the Hockey Hall Of Fame. Makarov deserves to be in the Hall Of Fame for what he did over the course of his career and for helping create a relationship between the NHL and Russia.
Honorable Mention: Phil Housley. The fourth-leading scorer among all defensemen in NHL history will make the Hall of Fame one day. He probably won’t make it this year due to all the strong candidates, but I think he’ll make it eventually.
In addition, I think that one man should get into the Hall Of Fame as a builder: Don Cherry. A lot of people hate his guts (myself included), but I don’t know how a man who has been so influential to the game of hockey. He was a great coach and an even better broadcaster. Even if he is quite annoying at times and I’m still haunted by some of the suits that he has worn, I can’t deny the positive impact that he has had on the game of hockey.