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s13 - VHL HALL OF FAME BOUND (Part 1) (®)

2019-08-10

To celebrate VHL Hall of Fame Week, lets take a look at each team's top future candidate for the Hall.  To qualify, the player must currently be on the team's roster and shown at least some high-level VHL play (with one exception).
 


Boston Bruins
Being a team of geriatrics (thanks to Tindall's Grampa/Granny fetish) means the B's have a number of Hall-worthy players.  Esa Tikanen, Dale Hawerchuk, Dave Gagner, and Bobby Holik would all make this list if they were currently on some other teams.  But they play with Joe Nieuwendyk. The veteran of 12 seasons has over 500 goals and 1100 points with two more years to go in his illustrious career.  Add to that one Smythe, two Harts, one Art Ross, one Rocket Richard, the Calder, and one Stanley Cup and you not only have a shoo in for the Hall... you've got one of the greatest VHLers of all-time.

 


Buffalo Sabres
The Sabres have many young players and players in their primes with the potential to eventually be in the Hall; Jason Allison, Danny Briere and Marian Hossa come to mind.  None of them will likely meet the lofty standard set by my Sabres candidate.  While my heart wants to say Mark Recchi, I have to defer to my head and choose Scott Stevens.  The stalwart defenseman has been terrorizing opponents for 12 seasons in all aspects of the game; 900+ points, +/- 220, 2600 PIMs, 3100 hits, 1300 shots blocked. He's also got two Stanley Cups, one Norris, and two Hortons on his shelf.

 


Calgary Flames
The Flames have had great players come through Calgary (Nieuwendyk, Theoren Fleury...) and they have some young, potentially great players (Datsyuk, Miller...) but nobody on the roster could currently be called a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer.  The most likely candidate is long-time Jet and newly acquired Teemu Selanne. The Finnish Flash has had a very good career thus far.  Over 12 seasons he's accumulated more than 300 goals and is one point shy of 800. At 32 years-old however, it is still possible his career will shift from good to great. He's got 6-7 seasons left to bring his totals to 400+ goals and 1000+ points and perhaps add some hardware to his shelf.  Flames fans and management are hoping that's exactly what will happen.

 


Chicago Blackhawks
The Hawks will likely see Doug Gilmour inducted with the Class of 2002. Gilmour earned his HoF credentials well before his stint with Chicago and similarly, this future candidate has as well; Curtis Joseph.  The goalie known as CuJo went to the Cup Finals twice with the Saint Louis Blues winning once. He's probably the best goalie to never win an individual honor.  At 35 years old and 365 career wins, he has a very good chance to become only the 2nd goalie to reach the 400-win mark.

 


Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings are a team that doesn't currently have a bona fide HoF candidate.  Dave Manson and Mike Richter won't likely finish their careers with the necessary credentials and none of the younger players on the team project to either.  The one player that has a shot is Nicklas Lidstrom.  The defenseman has spent his entire 11-season career playing for the underachieving Wings and his numbers have suffered because of it.  Still, his 541 points in 684 games isn't bad.  He's only 32 and has another 6-8 seasons to pad those stats.  An individual accolade or team success would do wonders for his case too.

 


Edmonton Oilers
The 'Magnificent One', Mario Lemieux is Edmonton's current shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. On a team with other HoF hopefuls such as Jeremy Roenick, Ron Francis and Kevin Hatcher, Super Mario stands out.  The 5-time All-Star has been as consistent a producer through his 12 seasons as almost anyone. Lemieux is already at 440+ goals and 1000+ points and could realistically play until he's 40. The only question is will he finish his career in Edmonton or will he be traded to a 5th team.

 


Hartford Whalers
The Whalers have two prime candidates for the Hall and if they both dropped dead today they would both make it.  However, since Joe Sakic is only 33 with some surely great years ahead of him, we'll focus on Ed Belfour.  The Eagle is about to embark on his 13th, and likely final, season in the VHL.  When it is all said and done for him he will be at the top of the leader board for regular season and playoff wins; currently 418 and 98 respectively.  While Belfour does not have a Stanley Cup to his name, he's been an integral part of four President's Trophies for the Whalers.  Oh, and he also has a Vezina trophy and Jennings trophy for good measure.

 


Kansas City Scouts
While GM Matt George would surely have us believe Vladimir Konstantinov is somehow a HoFer, the reality is there are no Scouts players with VHL experience that really have a shot.  Bob Essensa might eventually make it in, but it feels like the line in front of him will be long.  Instead, we'll go with a rookie goalie with enormous potential; Henrik Lundqvist.  Hank, as he's sometimes called, has the skill set to steal wins right out of the gate.  As he gets better and the team gets better, great things could be in store.

 


Los Angeles Kings
Only two defensemen have won three Norris trophies; one is HoFer Ray Bourque and the other is Calle Johansson. As if that doesn't tell you everything you need to know, Johansson is the all-time points leader among defensemen with 1005 points (the only d-man to reach the 1000-point plateau). With apologies to Bill Ranford, we think Johansson is most deserving.

 


Milwaukee Admirals
As a Blue he was very good.  As a King he was great.  But with the Admirals, Rod Brind'amour has reached elite status.  This is the type of player the Admirals have sorely missed and at 32 years old, his best seasons potentially lie ahead.  With at least 6 seasons left, one can expect 'The Bod' to blow past the 400-goal and 1000-point marks.  His one Selke Trophy may not be the only individual hardware he ends up with either.  This is a Franchise Player destined for the Hall.

 


Minnesota Wild
Larry Murphy just had his number retired and deservedly-so.  A case could certainly be made for his Hall-worthiness as well.  Even if he hadn't retired though, Murph still wouldn't be our choice for this list.  That honor goes to Mike Modano.  The American centre has spent his entire 12-year career with the Wild organization and has been as consistent as they come; he's never scored less than 28 goals in a season and rarely misses the 80-point mark.  At 32, he's already reached the 400-goal and 1000-point marks and has just won his first Hart Trophy.

 


Montreal Canadiens
This is a tough one.  There was a time not so long ago, when we could have been talking about Mario Lemieux or Kirk Muller or Tomas Sandstrom in this spot.  The Habs however, are in a state of rebuild and their future Hall-of-Famers have perhaps not even been drafted yet.  There is some promising youth in the system but the biggest hope might be that KCS 2004 1st-rounder.  Should it land in the top 2, they will be drafting a sure-fire HoFer in Alex Ovechkin or Evgeni Malkin.

 


New Jersey Devils
Back in 1992-93, when as a rookie, Martin Brodeur won the Jennings, Vezina, (somehow not the Calder!?), and the Stanley Cup it looked like the young goalie was destined for the Hall of Fame.  Fast-forward 9 years and Marty has been just OK; sub-par teams and his own struggles with conditioning have taken their toll.  There is one candidate (also a rookie in 92-93) picking up the slack though; Scott Niedermeyer.  With a 103-point campaign two seasons ago, the defender picked up his first Norris Trophy. While he's an elite passer when sending his forwards on the rush, he can score goals too.  In 10 seasons with the Devils, Nieds has topped the 20-goal mark six times.  He's only about half-way done his career, so you can bet he'll be in the Hall at the end.

That's it for the first 13 VHL teams.  We'll continue with Part 2 coming soon!

A.P. Hoar




Nathan Schroor

Great read!

s13 - VHL HALL OF FAME BOUND (Part 1) (®)
Each team's current 'best hope' to make The Hall.

• 0 teams Like this  1 year
Steve Tindall

Really like the idea, nice job Dan

s13 - VHL HALL OF FAME BOUND (Part 1) (®)
Each team's current 'best hope' to make The Hall.

• 0 teams Like this  1 year