Jeremy Roenick was not part of the 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame class, but it's a good bet he will be enshrined in due time. When that day happens, it would be great to see two Chicago Blackhawks enter together.
Roenick's credentials and high profile should be enough to reach hallowed ground. All longtime Blackhawks forward Steve Larmer has are the numbers, but will that be enough?
Four players got the call Tuesday as the newest members of the Hall of Fame. Joe Sakic, Adam Oates, Mats Sundin and Pavel Bure are all deserving players, no question. How do Roenick and Larmer measure up to this year's group?
As a goalscorer, Roenick's 513 goals puts him a notch below Sakic and Sundin, but in the ballpark. He is 40th on the all-time points list with 1216. The biggest hurdle Roenick will face is the fact that he peaked statistically by age 24, when he posted his second straight season of 107 points (46 goals, 61 assists).
That season capped a four-year run where Roenick put up 190 goals, including back-to-back 50-goal efforts in 1991-92 and 1992-93. The 13 game-winning goals he rang in 1991-92, when the 'Hawks made the Stanley Cup Finals, led the league. His 92 career game-winners place him 11th all-time.
Though he played in five more All-Star games over the rest of his career, he was never that good again.
His lowest goal total in his salad days was 41 in 1990-91. In the last 14 years of his career, he never scored more than 34 in a season. He also did not play another full season of games.
Most fans around the league are more familiar with Roenick's four post-lockout seasons following a devastating broken jaw suffered in 2004. Younger fans know him more for his colorful broadcast career than the early days when he was truly an elite offensive player.
Larmer's exploits in the league are also dulled by the effects of time. The knock on Larmer was that he was a very good but not great player who, despite playing in 884 consecutive games, didn't hang around enough to amass Hall of Fame numbers.
Bure logged 12 NHL seasons before injuries knocked him out of the league. A quick comparison of the two shows that Larmer holds up well to Bure's resume.
Bure: 437 goals, 342 assists, plus-42 in 12 seasons.
Larmer: 441 goals, 571 assists, plus-204 in 13 seasons.
I'll grant that Larmer was not as prolific a goalscorer as Bure. However, he still has five 40-goal seasons, a Calder Trophy and a Stanley Cup on his resume.
Playing throughout the 1980's with Hall of Famer Denis Savard, Larmer still managed to lead the team in scoring for three seasons. He finished as runner-up to Savard or Roenick six times.
Unfortunately for Larmer, the Hall of Fame may not have long enough memories to grant him entry. It's a shame because in many ways he is just as or more deserving that Roenick.
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