15 Surefire Hall of Famers Playing in the NHL Right Now

Brad Kurtzberg@@sealshockeyContributor IMarch 9, 2013

15 Surefire Hall of Famers Playing in the NHL Right Now

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    The Hall of Fame is the ultimate individual honor an NHL player can receive at the end of his hockey career.

    Here is a look at 15 people who are still active in the game (14 players and one coach) who are surefire Hall of Famers once they retire and wait the necessary three years to become eligible.

    Keep in mind the criteria for this list: If the person's career ended today, would the player be worthy of Hall of Fame consideration?

    Some players who are considered bigger stars are lower on this list because they have not played as long and have not yet accumulated as many career statistics.

    Feel free to name players you feel I left off this list but do keep the criteria listed above in mind.

    Right now, these 15 people are on our list, but their eventual destination is the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

15. Joel Quenneville

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    OK, Quenneville is coaching, not playing, but he is a surefire Hall of Famer.

    Even if the Blackhawks don't win the Cup this year, Quenneville has a very impressive resume. He has a strong record at every stop he's made as an NHL head coach.

    He is in the all-time top 10 in coaching wins, games coached, playoff games coached and playoff wins.

    Quenneville has already won one Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks with the possibility that he will add to that total in the near future as he has a deep and talented team that is built to contend for the next few seasons.

14. Alex Ovechkin

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    Sure, Alex Ovechkin's production is down in recent years, but even last season when he had an "off" year, he finished fifth in the NHL in goals scored.

    Ovechkin already has a full trophy case. He's won a Calder, an Art Ross, two Rocket Richards and a pair of Hart Trophies, and that's in the first seven years of his NHL career.

    "The Great Eight" has already been named to six postseason All-Star Teams including five first team selections.

    The Russian sniper is also still averaging more than a point-per-game for his career with 699 points in 575 NHL games.

    Can Ovechkin again become the dominant player he was earlier in his career? It remains to be seen. But for six seasons he was one of the two best players in the game, and that alone has already gotten some players into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

13. Sidney Crosby

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    Sidney Crosby is playing in his eighth NHL season, and whenever he's been on the ice, he's been one of the best if not the best player player in the league.

    In 458 career games, "Sid the Kid" has scored 234 goals and 648 points. He's also led his team to a Stanley Cup championship and a second trip to the final round and scored the gold-medal-winning goal in overtime at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

    Crosby has a Rocket Richard Trophy as the league's top goal scorer and an Art Ross Trophy as the top point producer. Add one Hart Trophy as the league's MVP and you already have a very impressive resume for a player who is still just 25 years old.

    Crosby has already been the face of the league for the past seven years, and someday, his face will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

12. Evgeni Malkin

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    Evgeni Malkin scored a goal in each of his first six NHL games, and he hasn't slowed down much since.

    The 26-year-old Russian won the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie and then went on to win two Art Ross Trophies, a Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP and a Hart Trophy as league MVP. In 2009, Malkin was a key cog in the Penguins run to a Stanley Cup win.

    Three times Malkin has scored more than 100 points in a season and three times he has been named to the First Team postseason All-Star Team.

    Perhaps the biggest indication of Malkin's value is that the Penguins have fared better when Sidney Crosby is out of the lineup but Malkin is playing than the other way around.

    In 447 career NHL games, "Geno" has scored 213 goals and 550 points.

11. Martin St. Louis

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    Martin St. Louis was undrafted but managed to make a name for himself in rinks across the National Hockey League.

    The Laval, Quebec native is one of the best passers in the game today. Steven Stamkos and Vincent Lecavalier have both become top goal scorers in large part due to playing on a line with St. Louis.

    In 955 career NHL games, St. Louis has scored 329 goals and 883 points.

    St. Louis was an integral part of the Lightning's 2004 Stanley Cup championship team and has been selected to four postseason All-Star Teams.

    St. Louis also has a full trophy case. He has won two Lady Byng Trophies, a Hart Trophy as league MVP and an Art Ross Trophy as the league's top scorer.

    If his career were not interrupted by two lockouts which cost him a year-and-a-half of playing time, St. Louis would likely be closing in on 1,000 career points. Because he is still productive even at age 37, he still may reach that milestone before he retires.

10. Joe Thornton

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    Joe Thornton has already surpassed the 1,000 point mark for his career, accumulating 1,101 points in 1,099 NHL games with the Bruins and Sharks.

    Still, some people seem surprised when you mention Jumbo Joe as a future Hall of Famer. Maybe it's because he's never won a Stanley Cup. Maybe it's because he played most of his career on the West Coast in a non-traditional hockey market. Or maybe it's because passers don't get as much respect from fans as pure goal scorers.

    Thornton's resume is impressive. He has won an Art Ross Trophy for leading the league in points and a Hart Trophy as league MVP. Three times, Thornton topped the 100-point mark in a season. He has been named to three postseason All-Star Teams and played in six All-Star games. In 2010, Thornton was part of Canada's gold medal-winning team at the Vancouver Olympics.

    At 33, the London, Ontario native should have several more productive seasons to add to his already impressive Hall of Fame credentials.

9. Marian Hossa

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    Marian Hossa is closing in on the milestones needed to ensure his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

    He just played his 1,000th career NHL game and is rapidly closing in on 500 career assists. With 922 career points, Hossa should top the 1,000 point mark next season some time, assuming he stays healthy.

    Hossa has seven seasons of 30 or more goals. He also played in three straight Stanley Cup Finals from 2008-2010, finally winning a title in his third try with Chicago.

    Hossa has already played in five All-Star games and been named to one postseason All Star Team.

    At 34, he should have several strong seasons left in him and should find himself in the Hockey Hall of Fame at some point after retiring if he continues to be productive.

8. Zdeno Chara

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    Zdeno Chara is already the tallest player in NHL history; now he wants to join the best ever to play the game in the Hall of Fame.

    Chara has long been among the best defensemen in the game. He has been selected to six NHL All-Star Games and been named to five postseason All-Star Teams.

    In 2011, Chara captained the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup title since 1972, and he won the Norris Trophy as the league's top blueliner in 2009. In 2011, he led the league in plus/minus.

    Chara already has played 1,028 NHL games in his career and has scored 141 goals and 468 points. That combined with his strong physical play, his consistency in his own zone, his leadership and his association with numerous winning teams will earn him a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

7. Pavel Datsyuk

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    It's not just about statistics when discussing Pavel Datsyuk. His career numbers are very good but not spectacular. The talented Russian has scored 248 goals and 742 points in 755 NHL games.

    But it's Datsyuk's all-around game that makes him stand out to those who watch him carefully. Datsyuk has won four Lady Byng Trophies for gentlemanly play and three Selke Trophies as the NHL's best defensive forward.

    Datsyuk has been selected to play in four NHL All-Star Games and led the league in plus/minus in 2007-08. 

    Most importantly, Datsyuk has been a part of two Stanley Cup winning teams with the Red Wings and has the great all-around hockey skills that impress anybody who watches him play.

6. Daniel Alfredsson

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    Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson has already scored 1,094 points in 1,154 career NHL games. That combined with his leadership on the ice and community involvement off the ice should earn him induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame after he decides to hang up his skates.

    The 1,000-plus points work for Alfredsson, but a few things are also working against him. He still hasn't won a Stanley Cup during his career. Also, the only trophy he has won in his NHL career is the Calder as the league's top rookie.

    Still, Alfredsson has been the face of the Senators franchise and has been considered one of the best in the game for a long time. He has been selected to play in six NHL All-Star Games and led Sweden to a gold medal in the 2006 Olympics.

    When looking at Alfredsson's overall body of work, he definitely has Hall of Fame credentials.

5. Chris Pronger

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    While he hasn't appeared in an NHL game since the fall of 2011 due to post-concussion syndrome, Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger has yet to officially retire and has expressed an interest in returning to play in the NHL if his health permits.

    In 2000, Pronger accomplished something that no other NHL defenseman had done in nearly 30 years: He won the Hart Trophy as league MVP. The last defenseman to win it was the great Bobby Orr in 1972.

    Pronger scored 157 goals and 698 points in 1,167 career NHL games.

    The Dryden, Ontario native won a Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007 and also reached the Cup Finals with both Edmonton and Philadelphia.

    Pronger has been selected to play in six NHL All-Star Games and named to four postseason All-Star Teams. He has also won a Norris Trophy, a Hart Trophy and twice led the league in plus/minus.

    In addition to his steady offensive production, Pronger is known as a force in his own zone and a very physical and intimidating player.

    Even if he is unable to resume his career, he will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame after his career is finally over.

4. Jarome Iginla

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    Calgary's captain Jarome Iginla has been the face of the franchise for more than a decade and remains the best skater the Flames have even at the age of 35.

    Iginla has scored 523 goals and accumulated 1,091 points in 1,209 career NHL games.

    Iginla has a pair of 50-goal seasons and won a pair of Rocket Richard Trophies, an Art Ross Trophy and a Lester B. Pearson Award.

    In addition, the Edmonton native has been named to four postseason All-Star Teams and has been one of the most consistent players in NHL history. He has scored 30 or more goals in 11 consecutive seasons.

3. Teemu Selanne

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    Teemu Selanne scored 76 goals and 132 points as a rookie and has been filling NHL nets with pucks ever since.

    "The Finnish Flash" has scored 669 goals (12th all-time) and 1,423 points (16th) and has led the NHL in goals scored three times during his career. He has also won the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie and a Masterton Trophy. He also won a Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007.

    Selanne has been selected to play in 11 NHL All-Star Games and was named to four postseason NHL All-Star Teams.

    He has nine seasons of 30 or more goals and remains a dangerous player today at the age of 42. Last season, Selanne again led the Ducks in points.

2. Jaromir Jagr

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    Jaromir Jagr is arguably the best European-born and trained player ever to play in the NHL.

    The native of the Czech Republic has won two Stanley Cups and scored an impressive 674 goals and 1,670 points in 1,368 career NHL games with Pittsburgh, Washington, the Rangers, Flyers and Stars. If he stays healthy, he will pick up his 1,000 career assist in the next few weeks.

    Jagr has great size, strength and skill. He has scored more than 30 goals in a season 14 times and has five seasons with 100 or more points.

    In addition, the big Czech has won five Art Ross Trophies, a Hart Trophy and three Lester B. Pearson Awards over the course of his career.

    He is presently 8th all-time in points scored in a career and would probably be even higher if he didn't return to play several seasons in Europe.

    The only honor left for Jagr to accomplish is his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

1. Martin Brodeur

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    Martin Brodeur's resume speaks for itself. He has won three Stanley Cups and reached the final three other times. He has also won a pair of Olympic gold medals.

    Brodeur holds most major all-time goaltending records in NHL history. He leads the NHL in wins (662) and shutouts (120) and has a career goals against average of 2.23. His career save percentage is .913.

    Brodeur has also won four Vezina, five Jennings Trophies and the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie way back in 1994.

    Brodeur has been remarkably consistent and is the only goalie with eight seasons of 40 or more wins in a career.

    The question about Brodeur is not whether he is going into the Hall of Fame when he retires, but whether or not he deserves the honor of being considered the best goalie ever to play the game.