NHL Playoffs 2012: Future Hall of Famers Still Alive in Postseason
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While the Western Conference lacks star power, the Eastern Conference is loaded with future Hall of Famers. There are few players that have solidified their spot in the Hall of Fame in Toronto, but there are also a few players that are on their way.
Despite superstars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Zdeno Chara being eliminated from the playoffs, there are still five players with at least a chance at making the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto still playing for a chance at the 2012 Stanley Cup.
Claude Giroux, RW, Philadelphia Flyers
At only 24 years old, Claude Giroux is the youngest player on my list of potential Hall of Famers. Despite his age, he is one of most offensively gifted players in the league and has yet to reach his full potential.
The Philadelphia Flyers knew his potential, and that was part of the reason why they were comfortable trading away veterans Mike Richards and Jeff Carter last offseason.
He has a long way to go before he will be considered a Hall of Famer, but after scoring 28 goals, 65 assists and 93 points during the regular season, Giroux showed he has the ability to lead a franchise.
If he can consistently be a point-per-game for the next ten years then Giroux will put himself in position for consideration in the hall.
Alexander Ovechkin, LW, Washington Capitals
Alexander Ovechkin has bought into Dale Hunter’s defense first strategy. Despite playing in a more restricted offense, Ovechkin was still able to score 38 goals during the regular season.
Ovechkin is one of the most talented offensive players in the game. He is the active NHL leader, averaging .61 goals per game which is good for 6th all-time.
This talented Russian has the chance to break Jaromir Jagr’s record for the most points by a European player in NHL history if he stays healthy. Ovechkin is one of the most exciting players in the league and is on the fast track to the Hall of Fame.
Ilya Kovalchuk, LW, New Jersey Devils
The New Jersey Devils are up 2-1 in their second round series against the Philadelphia Flyers thanks to the return of Ilya Kovalchuk in Game 3. Kovalchuk had a goal and two assists, one of which was on the game-winning goal in overtime.
Kovalchuk is one of the most offensively talented players left in the playoffs, and he plays a huge role in the Devils chances of winning in what could be Martin Brodeur’s last season.
With nine straight 30-goal seasons and notching his 400th career goal this season and one of the games few point per game players, Kovalchuk is on a Hall of Fame pace.
Jaromir Jagr, RW, Philadelphia Flyers
At 39 years old, Jaromir Jagr has a chance to cap off a legendary NHL career by leading the Philadelphia Flyers to their first Stanley Cup title since 1975.
Jagr is a five-time Art Ross Trophy winner with 665 goals, 988 assists and 1,653 points. He is in the top-15 in every major statistical category, and he has more points than any European player in NHL history.
If Jagr stayed in the NHL rather than leaving to play in the KHL for three seasons, he may have eclipsed the 800 goal mark becoming only the 3rd player to do so. Jagr is a first ballot Hall of Fame candidate.
Martin Brodeur, G, New Jersey Devils
There is one player that has all but secured a spot in the Hall of Fame and, unless voters get a severe case of memory loss, Martin Brodeur will be a first ballot Hall of Famer.
When he ends his career, Brodeur, the 3-time Stanley Cup champion, will be the greatest goalie of all-time. He is the all-time leader in wins with 656 and shutouts, 119, and he is the active leader in GAA, 2.23.
While he may be in the final chapter of his career, Brodeur has turned back the clock during the playoffs, and he is one of the reasons why the New Jersey Devils have a chance at winning the Stanley Cup.