June 29, 2015

Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2015

While we are waiting for the Stanley Cup final to resume, let's take a look at the upcoming decision the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee faces - who will be the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2015?

The Hall of Fame Selection Committee will meet on June 29th to decide and announce the class of 2015. The actual induction will not take place until November 9th.
Headlining first year eligible players is Nicklas Lidstrom.

Lidstrom is one of the very best defensemen to ever play the game. Many insist he is the 2nd best. A few even dare to suggest he was better than Bobby Orr
In 1,564 career games, all with the Red Wings, Lidstrom finished with 1,142 points. He appeared in 11 All-Star Games throughout his career, won the Norris Trophy a record seven times including three straight years on two occasions and also won the 2002 Conn Smythe Trophy all while hoisting the Stanley Cup four times. This is as big of a lock as you'll ever see.
There are two other locks, in my eyes. 

Sergei Fedorov was just a fantastic player, scoring 1,179 points (including 483 goals) in just 1,248 career games. He was a six-time All-Star Game participant, won the Hart Trophy in 1993-94 as the MVP and also won the Selke Trophy twice as the best defensive forward.
In the regular season he could be accused of going through the motions but come playoff time Fedorov was at his best. Impressively Fedorov scored 20 or more points in four consecutive playoffs. He is a three time Stanley Cup champion. 
Fedorov continued playing in Russia until 2012 when he retired to become manager of  the KHL team Metallurg Magnitogorsk. However he came out of retirement to play two games with CSKA Moscow at the 2013 Spengler Cup.

As I understand it, the Spengler Cup participation will not delay his Hall eligibility but I stand to be corrected on that. Regardless if it is 2015 or 2016, Sergei Fedorov should be a lock.

Another original question mark for eligibility was Chris Pronger. But the Hall of Fame has already confirmed Pronger will indeed be eligible. 
Pronger, who last played in 2012, is a certain lock, too. Pronger is a Stanley Cup champion, two time Olympic gold medalist and NHL Hart trophy and Norris trophy winner. However Pronger has never officially retired, and as an injured player he is actually unable to do so until his contract expires  in 2017 thanks to the salary cap.

"He would be eligible in 2015 as far as the way the bylaw reads and as long, obviously, as he doesn't play again prior to his election," said Jeff Denomme, president and CEO of the Hockey Hall of Fame. 
So even though he technically has yet to officially retire as an active player, Pronger will be eligible for induction, and almost certainly join Lidstrom and Pronger as locks. 
Other first year eligible players include Jason Arnott, Andrew Brunette, Tomas Holmstrom, Ethan Moreau, John Madden, Sean O'Donnell, Dwayne Roloson, J.P. Dumont, Robe Niedermayer, Craig Rivet, Brian Rolston, Brendan Morrison, Alexei Yashin, Steve Staios and Marty Turco.  It is unlikely any of these players will ever be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
That leaves only one spot open for Hall inclusion, as the Hall caps induction of male players each year at four. Is this the year the holier-than-thou Hall of Fame gets off it's high horse and rights a wrong by finally inducting the controversial Eric Lindros? Let's hope so. 
It should also be noted that a notable female player will also become eligible in 2015, and should also considered to be a lock. Long time USA defenseman Angela Ruggiero was one of the strongest female players ever to play the game. The Hockey Hall of Fame has a spotty record when it comes to recognizing female players, but they should have a pretty obvious inclusion in Ruggiero.

1 comment:

sd said...

Speaking of Hall of Fame inductions, it could be interesting to see the AHL Hall of Fame allowing some former IHL (International Hockey League, 1945-2001 incarnation) players in the AHL Hall of Fame like Len Thorson, Jock Callander, Scott Gruhl and Dave Michayauk.