June 29, 2016

Hockey Hall of Fame 2017?

In 2016 the Hockey Hall of Fame righted some wrongs and finally inducted some overdue honourees, namely Eric Lindros and Sergei Makarov, as well as long overlooked Rogie Vachon. Pat Quinn was inducted in the builder's category.

The Hall was able to finally include these polarizing cases thanks in large part to a weak first-year-eligible class in 2016. Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, defenceman Roman Hamrlik and forwards Milan Hejduk and Vinny Prospal headlined the group, none of which will likely ever make it to the Hall of Fame.

In recent years the first year eligible induction classes have been very strong, often featuring 3 or 4 very worthy candidates.

Which begs the question - who will be first year eligible in 2017?

Let's take a look:

Forwards: Daniel Alfredsson, Petr Nedved, Ray Whitney, Ryan Smyth, Saku Koivu, Teemu Selanne, Todd Bertuzzi

Defense: Ed Jovanovski, Tomas Kaberle

Goaltenders: Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Nikolai Khabibulin, Tomas Vokoun

Teemu Selanne is the only obvious candidate for immediate election. On first impression only I'd be willing to listen to cases for Alfredsson, Smyth and Koivu, though I am not certain any of them would make the cut.

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