The Hockey Hall of Fame committee should have inducted Brendan Shanahan last year, but now he is officially headed to Toronto for enshrinement. Shanahan has a lengthy and talented career, and he will take his rightful place amongst greats such as Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr.
There were several players eligible for enshrinement this year, but let's take a look at why Shanahan was chosen.
Player: Brendan Shanahan
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 220 pounds
Playing Career: 1987-2009
Teams Played For: New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, Hartford Whalers, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers
Hall of Fame Résumé:
Brendan Shanahan is regarded as one of the greatest wingers in NHL history. He played in 1,524 games, scored 656 goals and tallied 1,324 points in a career that spanned 22 seasons. Shanahan also made NHL history as the only player to score 600 or more goals and tally more than 2,000 penalty minutes during an NHL career.
The Hockey Hall of Fame takes international experience into account, and Shanahan had a ton of career accolades. He is a member of the prestigious Triple Gold Club as a three-time Stanley Cup champion, a 1994 World Championship gold medal winner and a 2002 Olympic gold medalist with Canada.
In addition to international accolades, Shanahan was an eight-time All-Star, and he ranks No. 2 in goals scored by a left winger. His ability to blend physicality and offensive play made him a great power forward for the Detroit Red Wings, and he was a key contributor during the Wings’ '97, '98 and '02 Cup victories.
Shanahan was a premier power forward during his career, and he was a special breed of player. He could easily take out an opponent by sniping a goal, or he could bring the opposition to their knees with a couple of well-placed punches. He used this strategy perfectly throughout his career, and it was a major reason why he was successful for most of his career.
Shanahan was also known for his leadership, and he was a great veteran presence in the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils’ dressing room later in his career. It also helped that he was still a solid secondary scorer, but his intangibles as a player made him one of the greatest ever to play in the NHL.
Shanahan had a great deal of success during his career, but his greatest achievement was his inaugural season with the Red Wings. After being traded by the Hartford Whalers, Shanahan scored 46 goals and tallied 87 points in 79 games.
He was also huge in the playoffs with 17 points in 20 games, and he helped lead the Red Wings to their first Stanley Cup victory since 1955. It was one of the greatest seasons of Shanahan's life, and it was the first major success of his NHL career.