10 NHL Players Who Should Be Considered for the Hall of Fame
The Hockey Hall of Fame has long been viewed as the pinnacle of accomplishment for NHL players. If an NHL player never was part of a Stanley Cup-winning team the Hall answered any lingering doubts about the ability of the player.
Inductees like Marcel Dionne, Gilbert Perreault, Darryl Sittler, and Brad Park never got to taste champagne from Lord Stanley's Cup, but there was no doubt they were some of the best ever, and the Hall cemented that conclusion.
There are several favorites that have had impressive NHL careers, some scoring well over 1,000 points, who have not made the Hall of Fame. We will look at several of these players and let you decide if they deserve admittance.
The criteria for induction remain a mystery to those who have been inducted and a quandary to those who seek to enter the hallowed halls and await the call.
Recently, Edmonton Oilers forward Glen Anderson was finally voted in after years of wondering if would he make it. Anderson was a key contributor to the Oilers' Stanley Cup success in the 1980s and a dangerous scoring threat.
Other players from the team were voted in years before, such as Wayne Gretzky, Paul Coffey, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, and Grant Fuhr.
Adam Oates—Detroit, St. Louis, Edmonton
Adam Oates was never drafted into the NHL. He was signed by Detroit as an undrafted free agent and went on to star in the NHL.
Considered one of the most creative and effective playmakers in the game, Oates came into his own when he was traded to St. Louis, where he became Brett Hull's linemate. Called "Hull and Oates" after the prolific recording artists, both went on to produce outstanding numbers.
Adam ended his career scoring 341 goals and 1,079 assists. He had his most productive season in 1992 when he scored 45 goals and 97 assists, coming in third behind Mario Lemieux and Pat Lafontaine.
Oates will surely receive a Hall invite with such impressive NHL numbers.
Dino Ciccarelli—Minnesota North Stars, Detroit
Dino scored 608 goals and 592 assists in his 19-year NHL career. By any measurement, most experts agree that such figures should land Ciccarelli in the Hall. He always was a top scorer anywhere he went, scoring more than 70 goals in a season as a junior and 50 goals as a NHL regular.
Some whisper that Dino suffers from a image problem stemming from a indecent exposure charge and other problems with the law. The bottom line is the Sarnia, Ontario native has the credentials for admission.
Ultimately the Hall will decide.
Bobby Smith—Minnesota North Stars, Montreal
Name the only person to beat Wayne Gretzky in scoring in junior hockey.
If you said Bobby Smith, you would be right. Playing for the Ottawa 67's, Smith scored a record 192 points to win the league scoring title.
As a No. 1 draft choice, Bobby won the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie in his first year. Smith played several excellent seasons for the Stars before being traded to the Montreal Canadiens.
In Montreal he maintained his classy play and helped lead the Habs to a Stanley Cup. After several years Smith was traded back to Minnesota, where he finished out his career.
Bobby Smith scored over 1,000 points in his NHL career, usually good enough for entry into the Hall.
Mark Howe—Houston Aeros (WHA), Hartford, Philadelphia, Detroit
Detroit-born Mark Howe came into the game with a pedigree. His father was Gordie Howe, one of the top four players in NHL history and the best right winger ever.
Mark started young, playing junior hockey for the Detroit Junior Wings and the Toronto Marlboros in the OHA. His dominating skating, passing, and shooting performance earned him the MVP in the Memorial Cup tournament.
Still not quite 18 years old, Howe joined his father and brother Marty to star in the WHA. When the leagues merged, Mark ended up first in Hartford and then in Philadelphia.
In Philly Howe made a seamless transition to defense after playing forward much of his career. He immediately made a impact, leading the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals and earning runner-up status for the Norris Trophy.
Howe was a leader on the team, and when he suffered a major injury, the team spiraled.
Although inducted into the U.S. Hall of Fame, he deserves a place in the NHL Hall of Fame with his father.
Pavel Bure—Vancouver, Florida
Pavel Bure is often called the Russian Rocket because of his lightning-quick speed and his ability to generate offense in a hurry. He also possessed the unique ability to raise fans out of their seats.
Born in Moscow, it did not take long for the Central Red Army to come calling. At 14 Pavel had all the ingredients to make a great player.
Drafted by Vancouver in the sixth round, Bure went on to win the Calder Trophy as the league's top freshman. In Vancouver he produced back-to-back 60-goal, 100-point seasons.
As a member of the Florida Panthers, Pavel almost duplicated that effort, scoring 58 goals one year and 59 goals the next.
Pavel won two Rocket Richard trophies as the NHL's top goal scorer.
It is possible Bure could win induction in both the NHL and Russian Halls.
Theoren Fleury—Calgary, Colorado, New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks
Although the 5'6" Fleury was considered too small to make it in the NHL, he still did. With speed, talent, and guts, he always found a way to beat his competitors.
Theren had success as a scorer, fighter, and checker, winning a Stanley Cup with Calgary. He unfortunately displayed problems with alcohol abuse and hurt his chances for the Hall.
Recently Fleury made a comeback bid and still has a chance to make it back into the NHL, where he already has scored over 1,000 points.
Pat Verbeek—New Jersey, Hartford, New York Rangers, Dallas, Detroit
Pat Verbeek was drafted 43rd overall in 1982 by New Jersey after a 40-goal, 67-assist season with the Sudbury Wolves in the OHL.
Verbeek went on to score 522 goals and 541 assists for 1,063 points. Pat's numbers have been impressive enough to be considered for the Hall.
Richard Martin—Buffalo, Los Angeles
Rick Martin had everything a hockey player dreams of; he possessed a cannon wrist shot and a howitzer slap shot that he could release quickly.
He was a good skater with excellent speed, and last but not least, he played on one of the all-time best forward lines (The French Connection).
Martin describes one of his greatest thrills as meeting Bobby Hull during a All Star game. Martin and Hull have a lot in common, both being high-scoring wingers with booming shots.
He also was a finalist for the Calder Trophy, breaking the rookie goal scoring record set the previous year by his linemate Gilbert Perreault.
Rick was one of the youngest NHL players ever to score 50 goals in a single season. In 1974 Martin scored 52 goals and 95 points in 68 games. Never winning the Stanley Cup, Rick was a standout in several Canada Cup games in 1976.
Martin's career was cut short by a serious injury engineered by Washington Capital player Ryan Walter, who upended him on a drive toward the goal, followed by goalie Mike Palmeteer's kick that sent him back down and caused a injury that ended Martin's exceptional career.
If not for a set of circumstances in that game against the Capitals, Martin would already be in the Hall.
Dave Taylor—Los Angeles
Dave Taylor was drafted 210th overall, and not many thought he had a chance of making the NHL permanently; they were wrong. Taylor played 1,111 games in his NHL career and scored 431 goals and 638 assists. In his best season he scored 47 goals and 65 assists for 112 points.
Taylor also won the Bill Masterson Trophy for his dedication to hockey and the King Clancy Memorial Trophy. Although Dave never won a Stanley Cup, his NHL performance warrants Hall of Fame consideration.
Mike Vernon—Calgary, Detroit, San Jose, Florida
Mike spent 21 years in the NHL, winning two Stanley Cups. Mike played on Cup winners with Calgary and Detroit. As a result of his outstanding play, Vernon was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs.
Mike ended his career with 27 shutouts and a regular season GAA of 2.98.