When it comes to Hockey Hall of Fame debates, I've always struggled with the value of longevity.
Obviously the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee has the same problem. That's why guys like Dino Ciccarelli, Dave Andreychuk, Adam Oates and Mark Recchi all had to await their phone call from the Hall.
I would argue that, of that list, only Oates was a truly dominant player at any point in his career and that was a relatively short period of time in the early 1990s. . I've always viewed these players as very good players with somewhat inflated career totals because they played so long.
Recchi in particular irks me, as I'm not sure he was ever the best player on his own team, let alone the league. Despite his lofty career totals due to how long he played, I consider Mark Recchi to be one of the weakest Hall of Fame inclusions yet.
While longevity should count for something, I don't know how much. I've been toying with the idea of coming up with some sort of formula to grade careers, with the idea of coming up with a Hall of Fame threshold or a way of comparing different players. Here's what I've bandied about, with a player's whole career (including international play) to be graded by:
Historical Importance 20
Clutch Play 10 (Stanley Cup playoffs, International play)
Intangibles 10 (physicality, toughness, leadership, character)
Perhaps that is too simple? Are my priorities are wrong? Perhaps forwards and defensemen should be graded differently? (Obviously a goaltender's formula would need some adjusting). Is it too subjective? Should standard levels be automatically applied (ie 20 seasons or more automatically equals a 10 in longevity)?
I'd like to hear some feedback on this. If some sort of standard could be applied I think would open up a world of interesting study and debate.