Less than 10 months ago, when Nicklas Lidstrom announced his retirement after two decorated decades in the NHL, stocks of Detroit-area calendars for the year 2015 were likely purchased and highlighted for the first week of November.
Lidstrom is the latest NHL retiree impossible to envision going to the Hockey Hall of Fame any later than the minimum three-year waiting period. Chris Chelios, Peter Forsberg and Mike Modano are some of the others.
Among those still playing, there is a long list of likely first-ballot inductees from the post-2005 lockout influx of talent, many of whom will surely meet that feat if they stay the course for the next decade-plus. The same can be said of such players as Zdeno Chara, Pavel Datsyuk and the Sedin twins, who began to burgeon in the seasons between 2000-01 and 2003-04.
But just to play it safe and not bank on too many long-term, on-ice assumptions, this list is limited to those who have been NHL regulars since before the turn of the century circa 2000.
The 10 players who have been familiar faces for that long and are most likely to go to the Hall as soon as they are eligible are as follows.
Unless otherwise indicated, all statistics for this slideshow were found via nhl.com