The Hockey Hall of Fame just welcomed 6 new members to its exclusive club. Rob Blake, Peter Forsberg, Dominik Hasek, Mike Modano, Pat Burns, and Bill McCreary were all inducted to hockey’s A-list this week and with these legends earning their spots, it is not too early to start thinking about who might be getting the call next year. Looking at the list of eligible candidates for the 2015 class, I can’t help but to be taken back to the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals as 2 teams look to dominate the list. The Detroit Red Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers met in the 1997 Cup Finals, with the Red Wings winning in 4 games. Key members from both organizations are 1st ballot candidates to next years Hall of Fame class.
-Nicklas Lidstrom is the biggest lock to join the Hockey Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility since Wayne Gretzky. Lidstrom is arguably the best defensemen to ever play the game. In 1,564 games with the Red Wings,he has 1,142 career points, 11 all star game appearances, 7 Norris trophies(including 2 different 3-peats), 4 Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe Trophy, and an Olympic gold medal. Needless to say, Lidstrom will be getting his call from the Hall of Fame next year.
-Sergei Fedorov changed the culture of the NHL forever. Fedorov helped introduce the NHL to Russian players and inspired generations of Russian players, including Pavel Datsyuk and Alex Ovechkin. Fedorov broke into the NHL with the Red Wings in 1990 and never looked back. But aside form the cultural impact on the league, Fedorov compiled some pretty impressive stats. He had 1,179 points, 483 goals, 6 time All Star, 3 Stanley Cups, 2 Selke Awards, and a league MVP. Fedorov was an offensive machine who’s career will not soon be forgotten.
Mark Recchi- Recchi played for 7 teams during his 1,652 game career. Recchi finished with 1,533 points. Recchi played 10 seasons with the Flyers but won his three Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins as a rookie in 1991, the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, and the Boston Bruins in 2011(his final season. Recchi may not have the same legacy with 1 team as other players, but his career speaks for itself.
-Eric Lindros. Lindros is not a 1st ballot candidate but he is well deserving. Lindros was drafted #1 overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1991 draft, but refused to play for the team. In stead he was traded to the Flyers for a package of players that included recent Hall of Fame entry Peter Forsberg. Lindros was a power forward who’s career was shortened due to injury but still posted 865 points and 372 goals in 760 career games. Lindros never won a Stanley Cup but did earn an Olympic Gold Medal with Canada in 2002.
-Jeremy Roenick. Roenick is probably the most despised person on this list. His chirping and style of play rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. While JR is not a lock for the Hall of Fame, Roenick was at very least a very good player who’s 513 goals in 1,363 career games might get him a call. Roenick played for the Blackhawks, Coyotes, Flyers, Sharks and Kings but never won a major award or a Stanley Cup but was a part of the “Golden Age of American hockey” and left a lasting legacy on the game in the US.
-Chris Osgood. No really, I’m serious. Osgood never got the credit that he deserved. Osgood played 17 seasons in the NHL and spent 14 of those with the Red Wings. While he never was the stat monster that goalies like Hasek or Roy were, Osgood is one of only 10 goalies to have over 400 wins. Whether or not most of those are direct results from playing in front of very talented Detroit teams, Osgood is a winner who has 3 Stanley Cup championships to his resume.
Chris Pronger- Pronger is a lock not only for his stats, but also his current position in the player safety department for the NHL. Pronger won a Stanley Cup,a Hart Trophy,a Norris Trophy and two Olympic gold medals. He compiled 698 points in career and was know for his physical play.
There are other players who are deserving of getting the Hall of Fame call. Guys like Curtis Joseph, Alexei Kovalev, Dave Andreychuk, and others could also receive the call of a lifetime sooner rather than later.