June 24, 2017

2017 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductees

This week hockey is the all about the future.

The Vegas Golden Knights have been christened. The next generation of hockey talent was welcomed at the NHL Draft. 

Lost in all that excitement is the fact that on Monday, June 26th, the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee is meeting to decide who will make the induction class of 2017.

There is one guaranteed candidate.

Teemu Selanne, the always-grinning Finn, was one of the game's greatest goal scorers with 684 career goals. He led the NHL in goals three times, scoring a career-high 76 en route to being named Rookie of the Year in 1992-93.

The Finnish Flash recorded at least 50 goals three times and at least 40 six times. Selanne won the 2007 Stanley Cup with Anaheim, was a three-time first-team All-Star, was named to 10 All-Star Games and finished in the top five of the Lady Byng Trophy voting eight times.

He ranks third all-time in power-play goals, 11th in goals, 15th in points and 25th in games played.

Other first year candidates include:

Forwards: Daniel Alfredsson, Petr Nedved, Ray Whitney, Ryan Smyth, Saku Koivu, Todd Bertuzzi, Radek Dvorak, Miroslav Satan, Martin Straka,

Defense: Ed Jovanovski, Tomas Kaberle, Hal Gill, Derek Morris

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

That group is fairly underwhelming compared to many of the classes of the past number of years.

Daniel Alfredsson, the long time Ottawa captain, will likely get the most support, though he may have to wait until another year. I am undecided on my personal thoughts on his Hall of Fame candidacy.

Saku Koivu, Selanne's pal and the touching cancer survivor, would make for a great story, but I'm not sure he is a true hockey Hall of Famer based on hockey merit let alone a first ballot honouree. But because I love a great story, I would not oppose his inclusion.

I really don't see any of the others getting enough support this year (or ever), which opens the door for some holdovers from previous years.

Most notable is Mark Recchi. The guy scored 1500 points, though I am on record that he is not a Hall of Famer in my books. Like Koivu, Paul Kariya's connection to Teemu would make for a great story, though I'm not sure he should be a Hall of Famer, either.

Then again, I am an unrelenting hard-ass when it comes to the low standards the Hockey Hall of Fame has for inducting forwards in particular. So when I suggest a player like Recchi or Alfredsson should not be Hall of Famers does not mean they won't ultimately be included. In fact it is likely in those two cases.

Other notable holdovers from previous years include Keith Tkachuk, Theoren Fleury, Alexander Mogilny, Dave Andreychuk and Tom Barrasso.

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