I unabashedly love Hall of Fame debates. Always have. Years in the past I had an editor inform me that HHOF stuff at all times bombs with readers, and possibly that’s true, however there are a number of occasions a 12 months once I resolve to be egocentric and do it anyway.

This week is a type of occasions, as a result of the Hall will have fun the category of 2023 over the weekend within the lead-up to Monday’s induction ceremony. On Wednesday, we checked out a half-dozen of the toughest calls among active players, with the assistance of Paul Pidutti from Adjusted Hockey. But a few of you needed to find out about different guys, or complain about a number of the gamers who’re already in. So right now, let’s open up the mailbag and see what else is in your thoughts.

Note: Submitted questions have been edited for readability and elegance.


What about Anze Kopitar? How necessary is it for him to get to 400 targets? (I feel if he stays wholesome he’ll get to 800 assists and doubtless will get to 1,200 factors, however with out getting 400 targets.) — Sam

Kopitar is fascinating as a result of he’s going to be closely linked with Patrice Bergeron and Jonathan Toews because the trio of 200-foot facilities who actually made us rethink how we considered two-way forwards in the course of the daybreak of the analytics period.

Bergeron is a slam dunk at this level, and whereas the case for Toews is way weaker, he’s most likely additionally a lock due to how a lot respect he obtained in the course of the Hawks’ peak. (Remember, he was named to the NHL’s Top 100 players of all time list, when fellow energetic gamers like Joe Thornton and Evgeni Malkin weren’t.)

Does that depart Kopitar because the odd man out? It may, nevertheless it shouldn’t. He’s the main scorer among the many three proper now, and it could be a shock if he didn’t finish his profession forward of each, possibly by quite a bit. He has the 2 Cups and a pair of Selkes. He doesn’t have the worldwide resume, however that’s as a result of he’s Slovenian and I’m undecided the way you maintain that in opposition to him. I feel his resume is Hall-worthy already, and if he tacks on one other two or three stable years then I’m undecided how you retain him out.

It will likely be fascinating to see what occurs if all three of the Bergeron/Toews/Kopitar trinity are eligible on the identical time; it could be cool to see all of them go in collectively, however we is also in for some arduous emotions over who finally ends up having to attend. But I feel all of them find yourself being in sooner or later.

I requested Paul what his mannequin says about Kopitar, and right here’s what he has:

That’s a little bit of a bizarre one as a result of it has Kopitar as being in regardless of a surprisingly low “high noon” ranking, which is to say the mannequin doesn’t suppose his peak was all that top. Still, he’s already carried out sufficient to be a worthy candidate.

I’ve requested Paul to test if his mannequin thinks the Kings ought to be allowed to construct Kopitar a statue however he hasn’t gotten again to me.

You’ve usually spoken about how stingy the committee has been with inducting goalies previously 30 or so years. What presently energetic goalies do you suppose are locks to get in? Which ones are borderline circumstances? — Adam S.

I hold listening to you and others say that there aren’t sufficient goalies within the HHOF, however then when particular person guys get mentioned like Osgood, Miller, Joseph, and so forth., the consensus at all times appears to be that these guys nonetheless aren’t adequate to make it. So what goalies do you suppose truly ought to be within the Hall of Fame however aren’t? — Ian P.

Ian and Adam are masking comparable floor on their questions, and sure, this has been a interest horse of mine for years. I’ll get away my stat once more: If you began watching the NHL in 1972, you’ve solely seen the debut of six future Hall of Fame goalies in 5 a long time. Grant Fuhr, Patrick Roy, Ed Belfour, Dominik Hasek, Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo.

That’s ridiculous, particularly after we usually name goaltending an important place within the sport. But as a lot as I like that stat, it might begin to really feel outdated quickly. I’ve already needed to replace it from 5 to 6 because of Luongo. Henrik Lundqvist is one other certain factor, as is Marc-Andre Fleury. Pekka Rinne and Tuukka Rask would each be worthy candidates. Ryan Miller wouldn’t make the reduce on my poll, however he’s shut. And after all, there’s a backlog of candidates from the 80s and 90s. I’d vote for Curtis Joseph and could possibly be satisfied on Tom Barrasso, and there are circumstances to be made for others. Maybe the Hall begins revisiting that checklist sooner or later, in the identical method it took them endlessly to get round to Rogie Vachon.

In different phrases, by the point right now’s candidates are prepared for consideration, that goalie glut might not exist anymore. But of the blokes who’re nonetheless energetic right now, I feel Fleury is in for certain, Carey Price is extra possible than not as a result of everybody loves the man, and Andrei Vasilevskiy is getting near “already done enough” territory earlier than he even hits 30. Jonathan Quick will get some consideration, whereas Sergei Bobrovsky may want yet one more stable season if he doesn’t crack 400 wins. And after all, there will likely be different guys who’re energetic now however are early sufficient of their careers that we will’t actually consider their circumstances but.

Speaking of goalie debates …

Mike Vernon – 5' 9" | 175 lb:

2 Stanley Cups + 1 Conn Smythe + 1 Jennings + 5 time All Star + 385 Regular Season Wins + eighth All Time in Playoff Wins + seventh All Time in PIMs + fifth All Time in Points = 1 #HHOF induction.

— Mike Vernon Fan Club (@MikeVernonNHL) November 9, 2022

I discovered Duhatschek’s burner account.

I’ll be trustworthy, I didn’t have Vernon particularly excessive on my checklist till I noticed Eric lay out the case a few years ago and realized it was stronger than I’d thought. Eric leans closely on Vernon’s playoff success, particularly in opposition to Fuhr, and accurately factors out that the Eighties are badly underrepresented amongst goalies within the Hall.

That mentioned, our impartial Twitter pal right here is making a decidedly dicey argument. To begin with, I’m undecided what Vernon’s peak and weight need to do with something, except we’re supposed to present additional credit score to smaller goalies underneath some form of Allan Bester exception. Same along with his profession factors and penalty minutes, since I’m fairly certain Vernon is a goaltender. And for the report, he wasn’t a five-time All-Star, a minimum of not in the best way we imply after we discuss Hall of Fame circumstances. We need postseason All-Star picks which might be voted on, not the midseason exhibition sport model the place it was as much as some random coach to fill out a roster with whoever was wholesome and obtainable. (For the report, Vernon had one second-team All-Star honor, and that’s it.)

Still, I don’t hate the case for Vernon. And he does move an necessary if impossible-to-quantify check, in that if you happen to’d informed any hockey fan throughout his peak that Vernon could be within the Hall of Fame sometime, they’d have believed you. (This known as passing the Ciccarelli Test, as a result of that’s the title I made up for it simply now.)

Here’s what the Adjusted Hockey mannequin says:
Vernon PPS

That feels a little bit harsh to me. At his peak, I’m fairly certain Vernon was higher than the seventh-best goalie of his period. But he’d nonetheless be a no for me.

Also, the Allan Bester Exception could be an incredible title for an indie band.

I’m interested in Joel Quenneville. I’d say the ignominious method his teaching profession ended retains him out, however he has 1,090 wins (second all-time) to go together with three Stanley Cups.

Personally, I hope he doesn’t get in, however what do you suppose? — Baron W.

Really no strategy to inform. We’re into principally uncharted waters right here, as a result of purely by way of the numbers, Quenneville is an absolute lock. That received’t be all of the committee seems to be at, and it obviously shouldn’t be, however we’re actually undecided how they’ll method the talk.

It’s tempting to make use of this query as a chance to level out the weakness of the HHOF system, the place 18 old-timers get in a room and debate the candidates with none form of public scrutiny. If Quenneville has a pal or two on the committee prepared to actually go to bat for him, that would sway sufficient votes his method, and the remainder of us would by no means even know who to credit score or blame.

Maybe it performs out that method, however I don’t suppose it occurs any time quickly. We nonetheless don’t even know if Quenneville may coach once more, and clearly there’s time for him to both damage or redeem his public notion. It wouldn’t shock me if he will get in sometime, nevertheless it could possibly be a really lengthy wait.

Why don’t the information Kessel and Marleau maintain make them automated inductees? — Paul B.

Well, we don’t know whether or not they do or not as a result of neither man is eligible but. But I hope they don’t. They shouldn’t.

Games performed information are good. Ironman information are cool. You can’t get near a report like that except you’re an incredible participant, with the expertise to remain in a lineup blended in with work ethic (and naturally plenty of luck). Any time you’re breaking a report that belongs to Gordie Howe, you realize you’ve carried out one thing.

That mentioned, ought to it make anybody a certain factor? Of course not. In Kessel’s case, the report that he broke belonged to Doug Jarvis for many years, and no person ever pushed Jarvis as a severe candidate. We wouldn’t with Keith Yandle both. As for Marleau, his profession video games performed mark is extra spectacular, and everyone else in the all-time top 15 is both within the Hall or will likely be quickly. It’s an enormous increase to his candidacy. Honestly, it’s most likely the one actual argument that he has. And possibly it’s sufficient.

Right now, I’d be prepared to guess that Marleau will get in whereas Kessel falls quick. Both are borderline circumstances, and each need to have their games-played information entered into proof. But sufficient to make them automated? No method.

Is Henrik Zetterberg a HOFer? He’s obtained the group accolades (one Cup, Olympic gold, World Championship), he received the Conn Smythe when Detroit received in 2008, was a finalist for a Selke, and he has the longevity (enjoying for just one group). Has that one defining second in his Conn Smythe shift.

But he didn’t attain 1,000 factors, was most likely by no means the most effective participant on his group except you rely the later years on a younger however dangerous Red Wings group, solely completed prime 10 in scoring as soon as, doesn’t have any particular person awards outdoors of the Conn Smythe (which is a reasonably large one however plenty of non-HHOFers have received that one), and was solely a finalist for one as soon as.

I feel his case is fascinating. He may get in however the query is that if he ought to. — Mikael H.

Zetterberg is a type of bizarre ones the place there are many followers on each side of the argument however most of them appear to be one hundred pc satisfied it’s a straightforward name. Red Wings followers love the man and suppose he’s a slam dunk, which is strictly what you’d anticipate from a fan base that watched a participant for 15 years. Others have a look at a man who performed that lengthy with out even cracking 1,000 factors or successful any regular-season awards and surprise why he’s even up for dialogue.

Personally, he’s a no for me. He was actually good in 2007-08, however even in that 12 months he solely completed tenth in Hart voting, so I don’t really feel like he ever cracked that actually elite degree. With Nicklas Lidstrom already in and Pavel Datsyuk near a lock, the committee may determine that covers the post-Yzerman Red Wings properly sufficient. That mentioned, Zetterberg’s Hockey-Reference comparables embrace some very Hall-worthy names, so possibly it’s a greater case than I feel.

Here’s Paul’s chart. His numbers like Zetterberg’s case greater than I do.

Zetterberg PPS

Let’s shut with a lightning spherical by way of Twitter, earlier than it mercifully ceases to exist:

Yes, after all. That case was made here, and went into more depth here. Mogilny is likely to be the only greatest head-scratcher amongst all the snubs.

I certain hope not. Tikkanen was a really helpful participant, and one of many first actually nice shadows again when that was a factor. But he had 600 factors whereas enjoying his peak years within the 80s, so I’m undecided how one can make the case for him. Sure, he had 5 Cups, however that may’t be sufficient to get you in. If Tikkanen makes it, who’s subsequent, Kevin Lowe?

Nope. I get the case for him. He received video games and Cups, and he was higher than he generally will get credit score for. But he had only one 12 months as a Vezina finalist, and an extended profession of being good on an incredible group shouldn’t get you into the Hall. His three prime Hockey-Reference comparables are Don Beaupre, Mike Vernon and Jaroslav Halak, and whereas I feel Osgood was clearly higher than two of these guys, he was by no means within the elite tier for lengthy.

I’m an unenthusiastic sure for Getzlaf and a fairly agency no on Perry. I understand there aren’t many Hart winners who aren’t in, however there are a number of — thanks, Jose Theodore — and Perry received’t get all that near 1,000 factors. Yes, he received a bunch, together with a Cup and gold medals and all these latest runs to the Final, however was he even one of many 5 most necessary gamers on a single a type of groups? I’ll take Getzlaf’s higher profession numbers at a extra necessary place and one 12 months as a Hart runner-up if I’ve to select between the 2.

And lastly …

No frickin’ method. Take my Canadian passport if you must, however the push to place Henderson within the Hall of Fame has at all times struck me as ridiculous. Yes, he scored arguably the most important objective in worldwide hockey historical past. That’s nice, and it ought to completely give him a spot within the Hall — particularly, within the a part of the Hall the place they speak in regards to the 1972 collection. Play the video, cling up his jersey, construct him a statue in order for you. But don’t put a man with simply 477 NHL factors (and 283 extra within the WHA) into the honored gamers class alongside the sport’s true greats.

I’d love Rob Zamuner if he’d scored the winner in Nagano in 1998 nevertheless it wouldn’t make him a Hall of Famer. Likewise, Henderson doesn’t have a case. Please cease making an attempt to make this a factor, sportswriters who’re even older than me.

(Photo of Anze Kopitar: Harry How / Getty Images)



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