Ranking the 28 Active NHL Players Most Likely to Make the Hockey Hall of Fame
It's late July and there's not much happening in the hockey world, so let's enjoy a fun slideshow that won't upset anyone and will serve to entertain and pay homage to some of the best players in the NHL today.
Nope, it won't anger anyone.
Fine, it will anger you.
In the NHL today, there are a slew of Hall of Fame players who aren't in the Hall of Fame yet. Some are obvious and will be enshrined in the near future; others could be two decades away from getting a congratulatory call from Earth President Glarnac The Mighty, a being from the Plucktor Region of the galaxy who will take over this planet in 2044 as the world is distracted by debates over whether a hot dog is a sandwich and prospective Hockey Hall of Fame slideshows.
The 28 current players on this list—recently retired players like Teemu Selanne aren't eligible—are ranked from least to most likely to gain entry in the Hall of Fame when their careers are over. Players who narrowly missed the cut (Patrik Elias, Claude Giroux, Phil Kessel, Taylor Hall and Nicklas Backstrom to name a few) still have a pretty good chance, just not as good of a chance as the players on the list.
So knock yourself silly and feel free to complain in the comments about how that guy from your favorite team was left off the list due to bias or whatever.
(All statistics via NHL.com and Hockey-Reference.com)
28. Nathan MacKinnon
Regular-season stats: 82 games, 24 goals, 63 points
Playoff stats: 7 games, 2 goals, 10 points
Trophy case: 2014 Calder Trophy
Pros/cons: Nathan MacKinnon had one of the best 18-year-old seasons in NHL history in 2013-14. Only eight players in the history of the league had more points as an 18-year-old, and MacKinnon's 63 points were tied for second most since 1986-87.
Of course, he is only 18, which means he has a long way to go before he gets the Hall of Fame call. He could suffer injuries or level off as a mere above-average player. Heck, he could decide to quit the game to become a mountain climber who owns a coffee shop in Portugal. The world is full of promise for MacKinnon, and he looks like a strong bet should he choose to continue his NHL career.
27. Tyler Seguin
Regular-season stats: 283 games, 93 goals, 205 points
Playoff stats: 48 games, 7 goals, 21 points
Trophy case: 2011 Stanley Cup
Pros/cons: In his first year playing a top-line center role in Dallas, Tyler Seguin put up 84 points in 80 games and may have only been scratching the surface. If he has 10 more seasons like that, he'll be at 1,000 points by the time he's 32 years old. As long as he continues to mature, and his work ethic increases as he ages and his skills diminish, he will be on a path toward enshrinement.
26. P.K. Subban
Regular-season stats: 284 games, 42 goals, 167 points
Playoff stats: 43 games, 10 goals, 30 points
Trophy case: 2013 Norris Trophy, 2014 Olympic gold medal
Pros/cons: Really, outside of his play careening off a cliff and exploding on impact, the only way he won't retire as one of the best defensemen of his generation is if critics, who are voters, don't come up for some air. He can skate, hit, shoot, pass and defend against the best players in the league, and he's still getting better.
25. Tuukka Rask
Regular-season stats: 102-60-22, 2.11 GAA, .928 save percentage
Playoff stats: 28-19, 2.11, .930 save percentage
Trophy case: 2014 Vezina Trophy
Pros/cons: Tuukka Rask has some of the best numbers among active goaltenders and, as they show, he's just as dominant in the regular season as he is in the postseason. The problem for Rask is that he only became a starter in the NHL last season, which means his final numbers may not be as impressive as others. Another question is how will he fare once Zdeno Chara either retires or is no longer dominant for the Bruins? He's off to a great start, but he can still be derailed.
24. Shea Weber
Regular-season stats: 607 games, 131 goals, 347 points
Playoff stats: 43 games, 10 goals, 20 points
Trophy case: 2010 and 2014 Olympic gold medals
Pros/cons: Since 2006-07, Shea Weber is far and away the leader in goals by defensemen. But he's not just an offensive specialist like, say, Mike Green, as he is a complete top-pairing defenseman and one of the best in the game today. The potential drawbacks to voting for Weber could be his lack of individual awards and his decline in postseason production, but that would be some serious picking of nits at this point in his career.
23. Roberto Luongo
Regular-season stats: 373-312-33-78, 2.51 GAA, .919 save percentage
Playoff stats: 32-31, 2.54 GAA, .916 save percentage
Trophy case: 2011 William M. Jennings Trophy, 2010 and 2014 Olympic gold medals
Pros/cons: Roberto Luongo's candidacy will likely come down to perception just as much as numbers, which are as good as anyone who has been in the league at the same time. Among goaltenders since 1999-2000 to play at least 600 games, Luongo has the best save percentage. Lower the bar to 500 games, and Luongo is second. Drop to 400 games, and Luongo ranks third.
But he lacks a Vezina and has failed to win a Stanley Cup so far, two things that probably won't change in Florida. He is currently 14th all0time in victories, and barring injury should crack the top five.
22. John Tavares
Regular-season stats: 350 games, 136 goals, 315 points
Playoff stats: 6 games, 3 goals, 5 points
Trophy case: 2014 Olympic gold medal
Pros/cons: John Tavares has spent his entire career on a very bad team, thus opening him to criticism about silly things like a poor career plus/minus (-45). That also means his playoff resume is lacking as he enters his sixth NHL season, another mark against him.
Other players on this list have had early playoff success, thus sheltering them from that "not a winner" junk that follows players, something that could land on Tavares in the coming years. But he might be the most talented center in the NHL that's not Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. If Tavares continues to progress, he can be one of the all-time greats.
21. Ryan Getzlaf
Regular-season stats: 633 games, 183 goals, 608 points
Playoff stats: 81 games, 25 goals, 74 points
Trophy case: 2007 Stanley Cup, 2010 and 2014 Olympic gold medals
Pros/cons: The numbers are outstanding, but maybe Ryan Getzlaf will get left behind, as it's hard to say he's been among the top five or top 10 players in the league. Last year was the first time he was a Hart Trophy finalist, finishing second to Sidney Crosby. But when his career is over, he'll likely be a 1,000-point player with at least one Stanley Cup and two Olympic golds, two things on which he can still build.
20. Steven Stamkos
Regular-season stats: 410 games, 233 goals, 426 points
Playoff stats: 22 games, 8 goals, 17 points
Trophy case: 2010 and 2012 Rocket Richard Trophy
Pros/cons: It would take something tragic to knock Steven Stamkos off the path to the Hall of Fame. The 2014-15 season will be his first without Martin St. Louis, so perhaps that could hurt his production. What if he leaves Tampa Bay via free agency in 2016 and finds himself on a team where he can't produce as much? The only reason Stamkos isn't higher on this list is because he is young, which means there's more time for something to go wrong.
19. Drew Doughty
Regular-season stats: 442 games, 59 goals, 221 points
Playoff stats: 76 games, 16 goals, 50 points
Trophy case: 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup, 2010 and 2014 Olympic gold medals
Pros/cons: While he's done everything a player can do on a team level, Doughty has never even played in an NHL All-Star Game, something that's partially a product of Olympic seasons. But he's clearly one of the best, if not the best defenseman in the game today. Scott Niedermayer won his first and only Norris Trophy when he was 30 years old yet was a slam dunk for the Hall, and it looks as if Doughty is heading down a similar path.
18. Duncan Keith
Regular-season stats: 686 games, 65 goals, 370 points
Playoff stats: 93 games, 12 goals, 54 points
Trophy case: 2010 and 2014 Norris Trophy, 2010 and 2013 Stanley Cup, 2010 and 2014 Olympic gold medals
Pros/cons: Duncan Keith feels like a slam dunk, but he has a resume of someone who could be a victim of playing on a team with so many Hall-bound players. He's just eighth in points among defensemen since 2005-06, although he's first in the league since his first Norris season in 2010. Keith is this steady, unglamorous guy on the back end, but he's sort of an inverse Joe Thornton who can get into the Hall with a winner reputation despite unspectacular career numbers.
17. Patrice Bergeron
Regular-season stats: 659 games, 183 goals, 495 points
Playoff stats: 95 games, 23 goals, 66 points
Trophy case: 2011 Stanley Cup, 2010 and 2014 Olympic gold medals, 2012 and 2014 Selke Trophy
Pros/cons: Patrice Bergeron finished fifth in Hart Trophy voting in 2014, the highest he's ever placed. The problem Bergeron will face at the end of his career will be a lack of gaudy numbers. He will probably settle around 300 goals and 900 points, which doesn't scream Hall of Fame. But the rest of his game is what makes him an exceptional player. As long as voters don't lose sight of that as his offensive skills fade, he should be enshrined.
16. Patrick Kane
Regular-season stats: 515 games, 178 goals, 493 points
Playoff stats: 93 games, 37 goals, 91 points
Trophy case: 2008 Calder Trophy, 2010 and 2013 Stanley Cup, 2010 Olympic silver medal
Pros/cons: The only thing standing in the way of Patrick Kane reaching the Hall of Fame is Patrick Kane. He vowed to change in a 2012 Chicago Sun-Times story after his well-documented partying ways were again caught on film, and he has been a solid citizen in the public eye ever since. He's been a force of nature on the ice throughout his career, and his penchant for scoring big goals has set him apart. He's a leader on a team set up to win championships throughout his prime.
15. Henrik Lundqvist
Regular-season stats: 309-195-62, 2.26 GAA, .920 save percentage
Playoff stats: 43-48, 2.24 GAA, .922 save percentage
Trophy case: 2006 Olympic gold medal, 2012 Vezina Trophy, 2014 Olympic silver medal
Pros/cons: Henrik Lundqvist has been a Vezina Trophy finalist in five of his nine seasons, winning the award once. When he won the Vezina in 2012, he was also a Hart Trophy finalist. Since 2005-06, Lundqvist leads the league in wins (309) and goals-against average (2.25) and is second in save percentage (.920). It would take a groundswell of detractors who believe a lack of a Stanley Cup is a blemish that can't be ignored, but the numbers show no goalie has been better since he entered the league.
14. Pavel Datsyuk
Regular-season stats: 824 games, 272 goals, 804 points
Playoff stats: 145 games, 35 goals, 108 points
Trophy case: 2002 and 2008 Stanley Cup, 2008, 2009 and 2010 Selke Trophy
Pros/cons: For a player who is routinely listed among the best in the league, Pavel Datsyuk's career numbers don't exactly knock you over. But it's important to remember that while a lot of players on the list began their careers as teenagers, Datsyuk was 23 during his rookie season. But he has been among the best two-way players during his time in the NHL and has delivered in the postseason as well.
13. Henrik Zetterberg
Regular-season stats: 759 games, 279 goals, 720 points
Playoff stats: 125 games, 56 goals, 116 points
Trophy case: 2006 Olympic gold medal, 2008 Stanley Cup, 2008 Conn Smythe Trophy
Pros/cons: For someone who has had a stellar career, Henrik Zetterberg is very lacking in regular-season hardware. He's an eight-time All-Star, but the best he's done in major trophy voting is second for the Calder Trophy, third for the Selke Trophy and 10th for the Hart Trophy. He is still among the 10 best forwards in the NHL today as long as he's healthy, which was a problem last year.
12. Evgeni Malkin
Regular-season stats: 518 games, 240 goals, 632 points
Playoff stats: 96 games, 42 goals, 111 points
Trophy case: 2007 Calder Trophy, 2009 Stanley Cup, 2009 Conn Smythe Trophy, 2009 and 2012 Art Ross Trophy, 2012 Hart Trophy, 2012 Ted Lindsay Award
Pros/cons: Evgeni Malkin's 1.22 points per game are the 11th most in NHL history and second most among active players, right behind teammate Sidney Crosby. Depending on your perspective, he's been one of the three best players in the NHL since 2007-08. The only thing preventing him from giving a speech in Toronto in about 15 years would be injuries or his defection to the KHL. It's up to you to decide which one of those is more likely.
11. Jonathan Toews
Regular-season stats: 484 games, 195 goals, 440 points
Playoff stats: 94 games, 29 goals, 81 points
Trophy case: 2010 and 2013 Stanley Cup, 2010 and 2014 Olympic gold medals, 2010 Conn Smythe Trophy, 2013 Selke Trophy
Pros/cons: With the way he's revered by hockey people, Jonathan Toews might get his own wing at the Hall of Fame. Skill, grit, leadership, two Cups, two golds: He has everything voters love and he still has about eight to 10 good years left in the league. The only way he falls short of the Hall is if it is revealed that he helped bankroll the last two Die Hard movies.
10. Marian Hossa
Regular-season stats: 1,090 games, 464 goals, 995 points
Playoff stats: 171 games, 45 goals, 127 points
Trophy case: 2010 and 2013 Stanley Cup
Pros/cons: Is Marian Hossa an elite player or a compiler? Despite having an outside chance at hitting 500 goals and 1,000 points this season and being an excellent defensive forward, he's rarely done well in trophy voting. His best finish in Hart Trophy voting is 10th, which happened in 2003 and 2007. Hossa's fifth-place finish in Selke Trophy voting this season is the best of his career.
He has also seen his numbers dip in the postseason, something that was a knock on him before winning the Cup in 2010. Hossa has a great case for the Hall, but there are enough flaws to build a case against him too.
9. Alex Ovechkin
Regular-season stats: 679 games, 422 goals, 814 points
Playoff stats: 58 games, 31 goals, 61 points
Trophy case: 2006 Calder Trophy, 2008, 2009 and 2013 Hart Trophy, 2008, 2009 and 2010 Lester B. Pearson/Ted Lindsay Award, 2008 Art Ross Trophy, 2008, 2009, 2013 and 2014 Rocket Richard Trophy
Pros/cons: You won't find a simpler for/against case for any player on this list. In the for camp, you have Ovechkin's jaw-dropping numbers and trophy case filled with more hardware than what you can find in your local Home Depot. In the against camp, you have people that still consider plus/minus a helpful statistic and blame him for his team's lack of a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. It's very likely his individual numbers will make it impossible to keep him out of the Hall, but you may want to avoid rushing into that ideal.
8. Sidney Crosby
Regular-season stats: 550 games, 274 goals, 769 points
Playoff stats: 95 games, 41 goals, 114 points
Trophy case: 2009 Stanley Cup, 2010 and 2014 Olympic gold medals, 2007 and 2014 Hart Trophy, 2010 Rocket Richard Trophy, 2007 and 2014 Art Ross Trophy, 2007, 2013 and 2014 Lester B. Pearson/Ted Lindsay Award.
Pros/cons: Sidney Crosby is the best player in the NHL today. The biggest potential detriment for him is a career-ending concussion, but even if he retired tomorrow, he's still probably been dominant enough for a long-enough time to punch his ticket to Toronto.
7. Zdeno Chara
Regular-season stats: 1,132 games, 161 goals, 518 points
Playoff stats: 141 games, 15 goals, 58 points
Trophy case: 2009 Norris Trophy, 2011 Stanley Cup
Pros/cons: The most dominant defenseman of this era, Zdeno Chara has…wait, this guy only has one Norris Trophy? Really? What are we doing with this trophy? Who won it in 2014? Duncan Keith? Oh, he had the most points among defensemen last season. Got it. Anyway, Chara can hang up the skates right now and he's getting in on the first ballot.
6. Martin St. Louis
Regular-season stats: 1,060 games, 370 goals, 981 points
Playoff stats: 88 games, 41 goals, 83 points
Trophy case: 2004 Stanley Cup, 2004 Hart Trophy, 2004 Lester B. Pearson Award, 2004 and 2013 Art Ross Trophy
Pros/cons: Just like Pavel Datsyuk earlier on this list, Martin St. Louis' first NHL season came at the age of 23. However, his first full season didn't happen until he was 25, when the expert talent evaluators with the Calgary Flames let him leave for Tampa Bay. Since that 2000-01 season, St. Louis is third in points with 961 points, putting him behind only Jarome Iginla and Joe Thornton. As long as voters don't look at his overall numbers and punish him for a late start to his career, St. Louis is a lock.
5. Joe Thornton
Regular-season stats: 1,207 games, 342 goals, 1,194 points
Playoff stats: 132 games, 24 goals, 100 points
Trophy case: 2006 Hart Trophy, 2006 Art Ross Trophy, 2010 Olympic gold medal
Pros/cons: Well, is Joe Thornton the best playmaker of the past 15 years, a man who once helped Jonathan Cheechoo score 56 goals in a season? Or is he a choker, a non-winner and someone not worthy of the Hall of Fame?
Clearly, he is the first thing while the second thing is a product of the Boston media during Thornton's time with the Bruins, but therein lies the problem: If voters feel the same way, they will be looking for ways to keep him out. But with at least three more seasons to compile numbers, he will very likely retire among the top 20 scorers in league history.
4. Chris Pronger
Regular-season stats: 1,167 games, 157 goals, 698 points
Playoff stats: 173 games, 26 goals, 121 points
Trophy case: 2007 Stanley Cup, 2002 and 2010 Olympic gold medals, 2000 Norris Trophy, 2000 Hart Trophy
Pros/cons: There are really no cons here. Chris Pronger would be entering the Hall of Fame next year if not for the fact he is still on the Philadelphia Flyers' payroll, a way to give the team cap relief while he battles problems stemming from concussions. But Pronger was Zdeno Chara with an edge when he played, and few had a better overall game on the blue line. Pronger's contract doesn't come off the books until 2017, so he won't be eligible for enshrinement until 2020 barring an exemption for early admission.
3. Jarome Iginla
Regular-season stats: 1,310 games, 560 goals, 1,167 points
Playoff stats: 81 games, 37 goals, 68 points
Trophy case: 2010 Olympic gold, 2002 Art Ross Trophy, 2002 Lester B. Pearson Award, 2002 and 2004 Rocket Richard Trophy
Pros/cons: It's getting way harder to think of cons now. Jarome Iginla is going to the Hall of Fame. It's as simple as that. He would need to be caught at the center of an international iguana trafficking scandal to have his good name tarnished to the point where he wouldn't get in. It could be discovered that he bet on hockey using money he skimmed from a charity, and chances are, voters would say, "Yeah, but remember that time he fought Vinny Lecavalier? He's getting in."
2. Martin Brodeur
Regular-season stats: 688-394-105-71, 2.24 GAA, .912 save percentage
Playoff stats: 113-91, 2.02 GAA, .919 save percentage
Trophy case: 1995, 2000 and 2003 Stanley Cup, 2002 and 2010 Olympic golds, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2008 Vezina Trophy, 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004 and 2010 William M. Jennings Trophy, 1994 Calder Trophy
Pros/cons: Martin Brodeur is unsigned and hoping to find a new home for 2014-15, and that could be the one thing that keeps him out of the Hall. Picture it: he signs a one-year deal, posts an .895 save percentage, wants to play another year, signs a one-year deal, posts an .893 save percentage, wants to play another year…and this goes on until he's 65 years old. Those numbers won't look so Hall-worthy anymore. OK, whatever, he's going to the Hall of Fame.
1. Jaromir Jagr
Regular-season stats: 1,473 games, 705 goals, 1,755 points
Playoff stats: 202 games, 78 goals, 199 points
Trophy case: 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup, 1998 Olympic gold, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001 Art Ross Trophy, 1999 Hart Trophy, 1999, 2000 and 2006 Lester B. Pearson Award
Pros/cons: Cons? Come on, really?
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