If Eric Lindros is ever going to make the Hockey Hall of Fame, Monday's vote is his best opportunity yet. Now in his seventh year of eligibility, ‘The Big E’ has seen 19 players get the green light to Hall induction since 2010 while the selection committee said no to him.
This year’s list of first-time eligible players is lean, with Miikka Kiprusoff, Roman Hamrlik and Wade Redden the top names. All are considered long shots to get 75 percent approval from the 18 members of the selection committee. So then maybe 2016 becomes a make-up year for candidates who were previously passed over.
Lindros is at the head of that leftover class. He was among the best players in the game for the first half of his injury-riddled career, winning the Hart Trophy with 29 goals and 70 points in a lockout-shortened 1994-95 – that prorates to 52 goals and 125 points over a full 82 games. He finished in the top 10 in Hart Trophy voting four other seasons, all with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Stats aside, Lindros helped redefine the game with his combination of elite-level skill and king-sized brawn. At his best, he was almost impossible to stop. A series of concussions limited his effectiveness in his late 20s and shortened his career.
Lindros was first eligible in 2010, when Dino Ciccarelli was the lone inductee. Since then, the Hall has seen full classes of four inductees in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015 and a three-deep class in 2013.
The 18 members of the selection committee are in Toronto Monday to meet and discuss potential candidates. Once a name has been nominated and debated, it goes to a vote. A player needs 75 percent approval (or 14 affirmative votes from the 18) to make it.
Since it will be a year for leftovers, here's the best to choose from. The announcement comes down today at 3:30 Eastern time:
--Sergei Makarov, eligible since 2001, was a Soviet player of the year three times and was named to the IIHF’s Centennial All-Star Team.
--Mark Recchi, eligible since 2014, ranks top 20 in all-time goals (577), top 15 in assists (956) and points (1,533) and fourth in games (1,652). He also won three Cups with three teams, 20 years apart.
--Tom Barrasso, eligible since 2006, won the Calder and Vezina in the same season and also won two Cups. He ranks 17th in all-time goalie wins.
--Dave Andreychuk, eligible since 2009, is the NHL’s all-time leader in power play goals with 274. He ranks 14th overall in goals with 640 and 29th in points with 1,338, and he captained Tampa to a Cup in 2004.
--Guy Carbonneau, eligible since 2003, won the Selke Trophy as the game's top defensive forward three times and was runner-up twice. Played for three Cup winners.
--Curtis Joseph, eligible since 2012, ranks fourth in all-time goalie wins with 454 for six teams during a 19-season career.
--Jeremy Roenick, eligible since 2012, was the third U.S. born player to reach 500 goals and is top 50 in the league with 1,216 points.
--Alex Mogilny, eligible since 2009, was a sniping Russian winger who led the league in goals with 76 (Buffalo, 1992-93) and had more than 1,000 NHL points.
--Mike Richter, eligible since 2006, ranks 30th in all-time goalie wins and won a Stanley Cup in 1994.
--Theo Fleury, eligible since 2009, scored 455 goals and averaged more than a point per game for four teams, winning a Cup in 1989.
--Mike Vernon, eligible since 2005, won two Cups with two teams, the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Jennings. Ranks 13th with 385 goalie wins.
Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to THN.com. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN