Hockey Hall of Fame 2012: 7 Players with a Chance at Induction in 2013

Ryan DavenportContributor IJune 26, 2012

Hockey Hall of Fame 2012: 7 Players with a Chance at Induction in 2013

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    Now that the Hockey Hall of Fame's induction class of 2012 has been announced, it's time for the speculation with regards to which players—snubbed this year or in previous years—will be getting the call next year. 

    Joining them are a collection of players all entering their first year of Hall of Fame eligibility, and though it's not an overly star-studded group, there are a few players that seem to be locks for induction. 

    Interestingly, the Hockey Hall of Fame's class of 2012 features two players who had been passed over on multiple occasions in Adam Oates and Pavel Bure, which should provide some degree of hope to those still patiently waiting on the ballot. 

    So, with that in mind, here's a look at seven players who have a shot at 2013.

Chris Chelios

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    Simply put, Chris Chelios will be announced as one of the inductees included in the Hockey Hall of Fame's class of 2013. 

    A three-time Stanley Cup winner, Chelios played at the sport's highest level until the age of 48 and remained one of the hardest-working players in the game until his final game in 2010. 

    Chelios captured the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman on three occasions, and was one of the best offensive rearguards of his era. 

    Considering that he's won everything a player could ever dream of, and given the longevity of his career, there's no question he'll get the call in 2013.

Eric Lindros

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    Once considered to be a surefire first-ballot Hall of Fame selection, Eric Lindros' injuries took a toll on his career, and subsequently, his legacy. 

    The 1995 Hart Trophy winner was supposed to be the game's next great superstar, and during the 1990s, he delivered on that promise by tallying strong points-per-game numbers in each of his first nine full seasons. 

    Though the Big E never captured a cup, he did lead the Flyers to the finals in '97, and took home a gold medal as a member of Team Canada at the 2002 Olympics. 

    With Lindros, it isn't a question of whether he was a great player; it's whether he was dominant enough for a sufficient length of time.

Paul Kariya

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    In his prime, Paul Kariya was arguably the most exciting player in the league, and few others possessed his lethal combination of speed and precision with the puck. 

    After a legendary career at the University of Maine, Kariya entered the NHL with the pressure that came along with being Anaheim's first ever draft pick.  He didn't disappoint, as the diminutive Kariya put up two 100-point seasons and was selected as an NHL First Team All-Star on three occasions. 

    Kariya also led the Ducks on a Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2003, but left the following offseason to join former partner in crime Teemu Selanne. 

    Though the later stages of his career were less remarkable, he did end up with an Olympic gold in 2002, two Lady Byng Trophies and six All-Star selections. He's got a shot.

Scott Niedermayer

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    Out of all the retired players eligible for induction in 2013, Scott Niedermayer stands out as the best in the class. 

    A winner at every level, Niedermayer captured a Memorial Cup, World Cup, two Olympic golds and four Stanley Cups before calling it a career in 2010. What's even more impressive is that Niedermayer played a leading role in each, captaining both Team Canada to a gold in 2010, and Anaheim to a cup in 2007. 

    Niedermayer was a fluid skater, capable of going end-to-end in an instant, and his instincts in the offensive zone made him one of the best two-way defensemen of all time. In addition to his championship rings and medals, Niedermayer garnered individual recognition as well, as he won both a Norris and a Conn Smythe.

    He retired at the height of his powers, and though many would've liked to enjoy a bit more from the great, there's no doubt that Niedermayer will be a near-unanimous selection in 2013. 

Jeremy Roenick

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    During the '90s, there were few players as entertaining and electrifying as Jeremy Roenick. The brash Massachusetts native broke into the league as a 19-year-old and never looked back, ultimately becoming one of the greatest American-born players of all time. 

    With the Blackhawks, J.R. posted two 50-goal and three 100-point seasons, and after being traded to Phoenix in 1996, the colorful centerman helped hockey grow in the Southwest. 

    Given his career totals of 513 goals and 1,216 points, Roenick certainly deserves consideration for a spot in hockey's great hall. His contributions at the international level cannot be ignored either, as he was a key member of Team USA's silver medal-winning squad in Salt Lake City. 

    All things considered, though, Roenick will probably find himself on the outside looking in next year.  There are simply too many other great players eligible for induction, but the quick-witted sniper-turned-commentator may get inducted at some point down the road. 

Rob Blake

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    Longtime L.A. King Rob Blake was one of the best defensemen of his era and became known throughout the hockey world for his patented hip check. 

    As a King, Blake played a leading role during L.A.'s run to the Stanley Cup Final in 1993 and won the Norris five years later. In the spring of 2001, the Kings flipped Blake to Colorado, and the rugged defenseman made his presence felt immediately.  

    That June, the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup, and the following February, Blake was a key member of Team Canada's championship team at the 2002 Olympics. 

    A six-time All-Star, Blake was an elite defenseman for nearly two decades, so one would think that the Hockey Hall of Fame has room for him, right?

Brendan Shanahan

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    One of the biggest snubs in recent memory, Brendan Shanahan was considered by many to be a surefire first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee. 

    However, despite Shanahan's three Stanley Cups, gold medal and nine All-Star selections, he didn't receive the call from the selection committee in his first year of eligibility. 

    As one of the best power forwards to ever lace up a pair of skates, his place in the Hall of Fame is absolutely unquestionable. His 650 goals, 1,350-plus points and a trio of cups are more than enough to merit a spot in the hall, and he'll get one someday. 

Honorable Mention

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    As always, there is a long list of guys who had great careers but for whatever reason haven't been elected for induction. Next year, there will be a handful of first-year candidates who merit consideration, but they will likely have to wait at least another year to come within striking distance of being inducted. 

     

    Keith Tkachuk

    One of the best U.S.-born players ever, Tkachuk was an integral part of Team USA's World Cup-winning squad and was the first American to lead the league in goals. A prototypical power forward, Tkachuk retired with more than 500 goals and 1,000 points, but will likely garner less attention than others on the ballot.

     

    Rod Brind'Amour

    Rod Brind'Amour may not have the numbers of some other players up for induction, but he was one of the most complete players of his era. A two-way center who was outworked by no one, Brind'Amour put up over 1,000 points and captured a Selke and Stanley Cup in 2006. If he doesn't get in, it's only because he doesn't match up with others in the individual award category.