When players are in the beginning or middle of their careers, a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame is not something that is foremost in their minds.
They are thinking about improvement and performing well in the most important games. An honor like earning a spot in the Hall of Fame is way off in the distant horizon and only comes to the greatest players.
In this list, we look at both recently retired and current players who are on track for a spot in the Hall of Fame. In some cases, we look at younger players who have started their careers with brilliance, and we project Hall of Fame status on them.
In most cases, players need brilliant numbers to get into the Hall of Fame, but there is also the intangible factor that must be considered. For example, a player like Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings may not have classic Hall of Fame goal totals, but when you watch him on the ice, you know that you are watching a Hall of Famer.
Another player like Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks may have assist and point totals that warrant Hall selection, but his inability to perform in clutch playoff games keeps him from earning Hall of Fame status.