A Tough Year for the Voters (HHOF Preview)

Hall of Fames are one of the biggest sources of debate in every sport throughout the world as everyone wants their favorites to be in. There are countless numbers of players who will never see the hall and should realistically never see the hall unless they pay for a ticket. Then there are the bubble players who have done so much in their time in the league that they may warrant a conversation about making the hall of fame. These players cause much of the debate as some people may think that they deserve a spot in the hall of fame but others believe they are not good enough. Then there are the Hall of Famers who seem to be sure shots at making the Hall of Fame but may not make it immediately. These are the players who are good enough to make the hall of fame but may need a little more thought to get in and may take a few years to get inducted. Finally there are the players known as First Ballot Hall of Famers who have done so much in their career that they are sure things to make the hall in their first year of eligibility. This year at the Hockey Hall of Fame the voters are faced with a very hard decision as there are arguably 5 first ballot Hall of Famers to go along with the other great names that could be in the hall as well. There are plenty of choices and trimming it down to only 6 people is an extreme challenge. This year there are some of the biggest names in hockey and many of these players are only one year into their eligibility for the hall of fame. Add to this the potential Hall of Famers who have been waiting for their shot to become a member and the voters will have an extremely tough time. This year on the ballot there are names like Bure, Carbonneau, Fleury, Housley, LeClair, Lindros, Lowe, Naslund, Oates, Roberts, Roenick, Sundin who all have a legitimate shot at the Hall of Fame. Any one of these players could be voted to the Hall of Fame with some of them in their first year and others on multiple tries. With all of these names only a few will enter the hall among the best players, builders, and referees the game has ever seen. This list is just a fraction of the potential nominees who’s names could be announced this week as the newest members of the Hockey Hall of Fame with plenty more great players able to make it. The With so many great names on the list this year it is hard to pick who has the best shot but here are five that may have the best shot.


Curtis Joseph





The goalie affectionately referred to as Cujo is in his first year as a Hall of Fame candidate and is a part of one of the best first ballot classes in HHOF history. This may be a reason why he might be hurt in his bid to become the next goalie to make the hall. Although he is one of many first ballot candidates he is only the second goalie in his first year as a candidate, the other is Olaf Kolzig. This could be a good thing for him as great goalies are hard to come by and Joseph was one of them. Joseph is clearly one of the best goalies to play in the NHL as he ranks in the top 5 of wins by a goalie and has a career .906 save percentage, same as 2011 inductee Ed Belfour, and career 2.79 goals against average. These stats put him behind only a few goaltenders including two Hall of Famers, Patrick Roy and Ed Belfour, and one future Hall of Famer, Martin Broduer. The biggest challenge for Joseph will be the fact that although he was a great goalie he was never able to win a Stanley Cup. This along with the fact that he sits in one of the best classes in the history of the Hall of Fame means that he made need to wait to get the call. Despite this though a goalie that ranks among the top five in NHL history could shine his way through especially when he may be compared to Olaf Kolzig on the ballot, a comparison that he will always win. Cujo will likely be one player who may end up on the outside looking in but out of a massive list of great candidates he definitely has a great shot at being named the newest goaltender in the Hall of Fame.


Dave Andreychuk




Dave Andreychuk will enter his 4th year of eligibility and is widely considered one of the biggest snubs in the Hall of Fame. Andreychuk was one of the great leaders in the NHL as the captain of the 2004 Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning. He is also known as one of the best left wingers to play in the NHL. With a total of 1,338 points including 640 goals and 698 assists Andreychuk has made his case for the hall. More than just the points the fact that he has a Stanley Cup and was a captain of the team should mean that he would have a spot in the hall of fame. Unfortunately it seems that he was a player who has been passed up time and time again because of the talent in the candidate classes. This year will not be easier but out of the players who have been waiting to get the call Andreychuk is clearly the best. The Hall of fame voters generally don’t like to elect only first ballot players and although there are plenty of players who are not first timers Andreychuk has the stats and the accomplishments to warrant consideration above most other players. The biggest challenge for Andreychuk this year could be the fact that he will have to go up against another left winger in Brendan Shanahan. If Andreychuk gets compared to Shanahan while the voters go over the ballot he will likely lose out on the opportunity to make the Hall of Fame. This will be another year where Andreychuk could end up just on the outside. He has a good shot as one of the top five left wingers to play in the NHL and with a Stanley Cup Championship but a comparison to Shanahan could end his hopes for a spot in the hall but entering the hall alongside Shanahan is still a possibility for one of the best wingers to play the game.


Joe Sakic





The Pride of Burnaby, British Columbia Joe Sakic is a legend in the game for plenty of reasons. Sakic is known as one of the best captains to ever play the game as the captain of the Quebec Nordiques in 1992 and continue his captaincy on the Colorado Avalanche when the Nordiques moved to Colorado in 1995. He is also known for having one of the best wrist shots in the game with a shot that came off of his stick and in the goal before goalies realized what was happening. Sakic finished his career in 2009 as a member of the same franchise that drafted him, although they did move, and he will be a first ballot candidate. It is hard to see that Sakic’s 1,641 points including 625 goals and 1,016 assists will not get him into the Hall of Fame. Sakic is one of the few players that was a labeled a Hall of Famer while he was playing. To be compared to the best players in NHL history before your career is done should mean that you are a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame. There is no question that Joe Sakic will make the Hall of Fame but the question is whether or not there will be enough room for him on the ballot. He will face some stiff competition this year as well with a number of players on the ballot that may seem to have a more legendary career. Then again it is Joe Sakic and the eight players above him are all members of the Hall of Fame aside from Jaromir Jagr who is still playing. It would be hard to imagine that any player on the ballot is more deserving than Sakic but stranger things have happened in the Hall of Fame voting although Sakic not making the Hall of Fame on the first ballot could be one of the strangest if it does happen.


Brendan Shanahan





Another member of one of the best first ballot lists in Hockey Hall of fame history Brendan Shanahan is also a player that would be hard to keep out of the hall. Shanahan may not have the stats like Joe Sakic has with 1,354 points including 656 goals and 698 assists tha put him 25th all-time among forwards. The fact that he is above 1,000 points puts him in great company though as it marks a milestone that gives a boost to a Hall of Fame career. Shanahan has had a legendary career as a great leader and one of the most consistent performers during his career. Shanahan was a constant member of the All-Star team and was a member of the dominant Detroit Red Wings team that won three Stanley Cup Championships during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Lately though Shanahan has been in the news for a very different reason as the head of discipline at the NHL. His suspensions and fines have come under extreme scrutiny and his video explanations have been the butt of many jokes. This should not hurt his chances of becoming a Hall of Fame candidate but some of the voters may take it into consideration. The other issue that he may face is the fact that he is not the best player, in terms of stats, on the ballot. The Hall of Fame likes to induct the best of the best and if they look at his statistics and compare them to current Hall of Famers and to other candidates he will not stand out as the best on the list. If the voters take the aura of his career into consideration he will have a very good shot of becoming a Hall of Famer this year. Shanahan is one of the best players to play in the NHL and will be a member of the Hall of Fame but something could happen this year where he will not get in even if he deserves a spot.


Pat Burns





Last year saw one of the worst decisions by the Hockey Hall of Fame voters as Pat Burns was passed over for the hall. Burns was one of the best coaches to ever stand behind the bench in the NHL. With one Stanley Cup Championship and a career record of 501-353 including 151 ties and 14 overtime losses Burns was seen by many as a Hall of Fame coach. Burns did a lot of this despite deteriorating health near the end of his career. In 2004 he was diagnosed with Colon Cancer and then was diagnosed with Liver Cancer in 2005 forcing him to retire. In 2009 it struck again as Burns was diagnosed with Lung Cancer which was a fight that he would eventually lose in 2010. While he went through his final bout with Cancer a movement had formed as Burns’ fans began lobbying to allow Pat Burns early induction into the Hall of Fame. He would not be eligible to make the Hall of Fame until 2011 but fans believed that he deserved to witness his induction before he succumbed to cancer. Ultimately the Hockey Hall of fame did not let Burns into the Hall of Fame early but in 2011 many people believed he would finally make it. Last year the Hall nominated 4 players and left out a fifth spot that usually is a builder where Pat Burns should have been. It was one of those Hall of Fame moments where the majority of people believed the hall had made a mistake in not letting him in to the Hall of Fame. He has a great winning record and is a symbol of the times in the NHL and did it in tough cities like Toronto and Montreal. This year should be his moment and although he will not be around for it another snub at the hands of the voters would be one of the worst decisions they can make.

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