Today, the Hockey Hall of Fame induction class was named. Four NHL greats were voted in, and it's hard to argue with any of the selections. However, as important as the people included are, it's just as important to look at the omissions.
Perhaps the most surprising omission was Brendan Shanahan, thought to be an all-but-sure thing. Eric Lindros remains a snub in some people's eyes, though you won't find me making that argument.
But as much as any other player out there, Dave Andreychuk deserved to hear his name announced today. Once again, the Hall has failed to do him justice.
That isn't to say that this year's inductees aren't deserving. Pavel Bure was one of the 90s' most prolific goal-scorers. Mats Sundin is a career point-per-game player with more than 1300 games played. Adam Oates finished with more than 1000 assists. And Joe Sakic is Joe Sakic. But Andreychuk fits right in there with them.
It may come as a surprise to some to learn that Andreychuk was a 600-goal scorer—640, to be exact. He also amassed 698 assists.
When all is said and done, Andreychuk is 14th all-time in goals, 28th in points, 12th in shots, 29th in game-winning goals, sixth in games played and first in power play goals. That's right—not Wayne Gretzky, not Mario Lemieux, not Brett Hull. Dave Andreychuk is the all-time leader with 274.
If stats aren't your thing and you're all about results, fine. While the Stanley Cup eluded Andreychuk for much of his career (he left the Devils after 1999 and the Avalanche after 2000), Andreychuk took over as captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning and was able to lead them to the championship in 2004.
Andreychuk retired in 2006 having reached the 50-goal mark twice, the 40-goal mark four times, the 30-goal mark nine times and managing 20 goals an amazing 19 times in his career, including 14 consecutive seasons from 1983 to 1997.
A lot of people scored a lot of goals in the 80s and 90s. Andreychuk's career-high 54 came in 1993, when he finished ninth in the league. But when everyone can score, it's longevity that matters. And few were as consistent over their careers as Dave.
Now again, one-on-one against any of this year's inductees, it might be hard to choose Andreychuk. But last year, Joe Nieuwendyk, Mark Howe, Ed Belfour and Doug Gilmour got the call. A strong argument could be made he belonged in that class.
And if not there, how about in 2010, when only one male player—Dino Ciccarelli—was named to the Hall of Fame.
Now, ignoring the fact that Andreychuk was better than Dino in almost every statistical category and accomplished more during his career, what kept Andreychuk from being named in place of empty space? The Hall instead opted to induct fewer players than they had to.
Comparing hockey players can't be easy, and there's a lot for voters to consider, from statistics to intangibles. But Dave Andreychuk had far too good a career to be ignored year after year. At a certain point, it stops reflecting poorly on him and starts reflecting poorly on the Hall of Fame itself.