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Still Waiting: 10 notable NHLers passed over (again) by Hall of Fame

Martin Brodeur and Martin St-Louis parlayed their outstanding NHL careers into first-ballot entires into the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, these 10 players haven't been able to say the same.

When Hall of Fame induction calls went out Tuesday, two of the four players inducted earned their way in on the back of their NHL statistics and both became first-ballot Hall of Famers thanks to their performance in the world’s top league.

Martin Broduer, of course, was a no-brainer for induction in his first go-round given he holds the league’s all-time wins record, shutout record and is considered by some to be the greatest goaltender to ever grace NHL ice. Meanwhile, Martin St-Louis also earned his way in as a first-ballot entrant given his longevity and consistency for the duration of his career. The Hart Trophy, Lester B. Pearson Award, two Art Ross Trophies, three Lady Byng Trophies and Stanley Cup victory also didn’t hurt his case.

Not every player earns the right to go into the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility, however. Here are 10 players who are still waiting to get the now long-awaited call:

Alfredsson was eligible as a first-ballot Hall of Famer as part of the 2017 Hall of Fame class, but missed out on entry to a class that included former NHLers Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya, Mark Recchi and Dave Andreychuk. Thus, it was hard to argue Alfredsson should have earned his place ahead of any of those who got the call. This time around, though, it was believed Alfredsson was one of the frontrunners, not quite a lock but far from a long shot to make it his second time around. But when the calls went out Tuesday, Alfredsson’s phone didn’t ring.

It sure feels as though the third time is going to be the charm, however. Alfredsson’s case is rock-solid — 444 goals, 1,157 points, a Calder Trophy and respect as both one of the better offensive and two-way players of his generation — so don’t expect the longtime Senators captain to go passed over much longer.

It has become increasingly difficult for goaltenders to earn their way into the Hall of Fame. In fact, Brodeur is more the exception than he is the rule in this era. (And he’s also Martin freakin’ Brodeur.) So, despite Joseph possessing the sixth-most games played of any netminder in NHL history (963), the fifth-most wins (454), seventh-most playoff games (133), 13th-most playoff wins (63) and five selections as a top-five goaltender in the league, he still hasn’t found his way into the Hall of Fame.

Here’s some food for thought, too: Ed Belfour is in the Hall of Fame with a 484-320-125 record, .906 save percentage, 2.50 goals-against average and 76 shutouts. Joseph isn’t with a 454-352-96 record, .906 SP, 2.79 GAA and 51 shutouts. Their overall numbers are awfully close. It’s only hardware — Belfour has a Stanley Cup, two Vezina Trophies, four Jennings Trophies and a Calder — that separates the two.

There are 31 players in NHL history with more than 500 goals and 1,200 points in their NHL career. Of those 31 players, 27 are already in the Hall of Fame, two are not yet eligible and two are still waiting to get the call: Roenick and Turgeon, which is why you’ll find the two lumped together here. True as it may be that they were vastly different players, the numbers backing both cases are incredibly similar.

Over 20 seasons, Roenick scored 513 goals, 1,216 points and was one of the more influential American players in NHL history. Some say that a player who doesn’t have the individual hardware should have at least been a dominant force, among the NHL’s handful of best players, at some point in his career. Roenick fits that bill. He finished top-10 in Hart voting twice in his first five seasons in the NHL and helped lead the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup final in 1991-92.

As for Turgeon, his 19 seasons saw him rack up 515 goals and 1,327 points. Adjusted for era, that makes him the 28th-highest scorer in NHL history. He also finished fifth in Hart voting in 1992-93 and was a consistent Lady Byng contender throughout his career. He won the award in 1992-93 and finished 10th or better in voting seven times.

Tkachuk’s accomplishments are clear as day. Twice voted to end-of-year all-star teams, he garnered Hart consideration twice in the early stages of his career and was one of the league’s most consistent and most feared goal-scorers for the duration of his time in the NHL. In fact, from his first 40-goal year in 1993-94 through to his penultimate season, a span of 15 campaigns, Tkachuk’s 494 goals put him ahead of all but Teemu Selanne and Jaromir Jagr. That’s the kind of statistical company he kept during that era. To really illustrate how unique Tkachuk was, though, you have to consider his style of play. He was a prototypical power forward and a terror to play against. He is one of only three players in NHL history with at least 500 goals, 1,000 points and 2,000 penalty minutes. One of the others, Brendan Shanahan, is in the Hall of Fame. Pat Verbeek, who rounds out the trio, is not.

One hopes the ship hasn’t entirely sailed on Fleury earning his way into the Hall of Fame, because he most certainly has a case to be inducted. If we’re judging by the best-of-an-era, Fleury makes the grade with his two top-five Hart finishes during the prime of his career, and should also garner consideration given he was dynamite offensively. He was often used as a penalty-killer, too, with the type of two-way skill that separated him from some other top talents. Fleury is one of nine players with 450-plus goals and 1,000-plus points not in the Hall of Fame. And if you want to make an argument beyond his points, one might be able to make a case for what a 5-foot-6 offensive fireplug represented in the Land of Giants that was the NHL.

A number of the players on this list tapered off with age and fell out of the awards running as they entered the late stages of their career. Brind’Amour doesn’t quite follow that trend.

Sure, his best seasons came during his early and late 20s, but his fourth-highest scoring season came as a 36-year-old and Brind’Amour cracked the 50-point plateau in each of the following seasons. He also earned the Selke Trophy in back-to-back years in his mid-30s and finished top-10 in Hart voting in 2005-06. Brind’Amour also has a Stanley Cup victory in his back pocket, and he was the Hurricanes’ top goal-scorer during that run despite being the team’s second-oldest forward. There’s something to be said for longevity paired with success, and few in the modern era have accomplished both as well as Brind’Amour.

There are few players who could take over a game quite like Mogilny when he was in his heyday. Case in point, he was nearly a goal-per-game player during the 1992-93 season, blasting home a ludicrous 76 goals in 77 games. Mogilny was twice a 100-point player, cracked 80 points another two times and had three additional seasons with 70 points or more. His career didn’t quite span 1,000 games in large part due to injury, but he still scored 1,032 points and his 1.04 points per game gives him the second-highest rate among 1,000-point scorers not in the Hall of Fame. (Bernie Nicholls is slightly higher at 1.07.)

Much like Fleury, there’s a case to be made for what Mogilny represented, too. He was the first Soviet player to defect to the NHL and he was the first European to captain an NHL club when he wore the ‘C’ for the Buffalo Sabres in 1993-94.

The contingent backing Zubov’s candidacy for the Hall of Fame grows louder with each time he’s passed over, and, quite frankly, the argument isn’t without its merits. Did Zubov ever win the Norris Trophy? No. Did he win any individual hardware? No. Was he ever a first-team all-star? No, but he did get a second-team spot near the tail-end of his career. What Zubov did accomplish, however, was two Stanley Cup victories, the second of which came on the back of him averaging upwards of 30 minutes of ice time per game. And while he doesn’t have a Norris in his trophy case, Zubov received at least modest consideration for the award in 12 of his 16 seasons in the NHL, including two top-five finishes. Adjusted for era, Zubov is also the highest-scoring defenseman not in the Hall.

Aside from Joseph, Osgood is the goaltending fraternity’s only other 400-win Hall of Fame eligible member who hasn’t been inducted. Often times Osgood is overlooked due to his time spent with a dominant Detroit Red Wings team, but what’s forgotten is that he still finished top-10 in Vezina voting three times, won the Jennings twice and finished fifth in Calder voting as a rookie. Despite where he spent most of his career, he was considered among the best netminders in the league several times. And when it came time to get the job done in the post-season, Osgood most certainly did. He backstopped Detroit to two of the three Stanley Cups he won as a Red Wing, including a remarkable run in 2008-09 when he posted a .930 SP and 1.55 GAA performance as a 35-year-old.

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