The Hockey Hall of Fame induction class of 2019 appears to be the weakest class in many years.
The most notable first year eligible player is Hayley Wickenheiser. As arguably the greatest female player of all time, it is a guaranteed lock that the four time Olympic gold medallist gets the nod.
But the men's side is not nearly as strong. Of the first year eligible players, only Patrik Elias and a trio of Tampa Bay Lightning standouts deserve mention: Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Dan Boyle all led the Lightning to the Stanley Cup in 2004.
Elias had a very underrated career with New Jersey and was as consistent as they come. All three Lightning stars were NHL standouts at that time, and enjoyed lengthy careers as impact players. Is that enough to get them elected?
Were any of them any better than the list of holdovers from recent years, such as Daniel Alfredsson, Theo Fleury, Alexander Mogilny or Sergei Zubov? I'm not so sure.
Given the lack of an obvious candidate from the NHL side, it would be nice for the Hall to give women's hockey the full spotlight for a change. Hayley Wickenheiser has done more for hockey - both men's and women's - than most and deserves it.