An induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto is probably the greatest honor that can be bestowed upon an individual in the hockey world. Spots in the Hall are reserved for the truly great players (and builders), and being really good just isn’t enough—you have to be great.
Every year up to four male players can be elected into the Hall, and any player who has been dormant for at least three years is eligible. The 2016 class saw a handful of players finally rewarded with a spot in the Hall after years of eligibility. Eric Lindros finally got in, and he’s been eligible since 2010. Russian Sergei Makarov, who won the Calder Trophy as a 31-year-old and was one of the first Russians to make the move to North America, was also inducted (he had been eligible since 2000). Lastly, goalie Rogie Vachon was inducted, and he’s been eligible for 30 years.
While those three players were finally fortunate enough to enter the Hall after such a long wait, there are a whole bunch of others who are still waiting in vain. Today, The Sportster takes a look at 15 current NHL players who are very good at hockey, but so far fall short of a surefire ticket to the Hall of Fame.
All of these entries are debatable, but that’s what makes it so fun. No doubt a few of these guys still have a lot of career left, and if they win a Stanley Cup or a few individual awards before it’s all said and done, things could change. Without further ado, here are the 15 current NHL players who probably won’t end up in the Hall of Fame (but maybe should).
15. Shane Doan
There’s no doubt Shane Doan’s career is nearing its end, and it’s been an impressive ride for the winger from Halkirk, Alberta. He’s played over 1,500 games, all for the franchise that drafted him, and has compiled over 400 goals and 900 points in the process. Nonetheless, though, it’s unlikely that Doan will ever receive the honor of a hall-of-fame induction.
Doan has scored at least 20 goals in a season 13 times, showing unbelievable consistency throughout his 21 year NHL career. He has a chance to end his career where it all started (although the looming trade deadline might have something to say about that), but the lack of playoff success and lack of individual awards (aside from leadership-based awards) will likely keep him out of the Hall-of-Fame.
14. Claude Giroux
Since the 2011-12 season, only two players have registered more points than Claude Giroux, namely Sidney Crosby and Patrick Kane. That’s a pretty impressive feat for the Flyers’ captain, but he’ll have to accomplish a heck of a lot more from here on out if he wants a spot in the Hall-of-Fame once his career is over.
Giroux is mired in one of his worst seasons to date, and his Flyers appear to be a postseason longshot. While he enjoyed some playoff success early in his career—reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2010—his squad hasn’t won a series since a spirited win against the Penguins in the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and at 29 years old it’s fair to wonder if perhaps Giroux’s best years are behind him.
13. Marc-Andre Fleury
Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury doesn’t get much respect despite the fact that he’s been a pretty darn good goalie for pretty much his entire career. He’s lived in the shadow in Pennsylvania of a few surefire Hall-of-Famers in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin (those guys do not appear on this list), and as such his success has been largely attributed to them.
All Fleury seems to do is rattle off wins, as he’s recorded seven seasons of 35 wins or more (and one with 34). Only Henrik Lundqvist and Roberto Luongo have recorded more wins since Fleury became a starter in 2005-06, yet while those two goalies are very much in hall-of-fame contention (though not shoo-ins, either), Fleury doesn’t get much love on this front.
12. Patrick Marleau
Patrick Marleau recently became the 45th NHL player to register 500 goals in his career. Marleau is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and is the Sharks all-time leading scorer, having played for the Bay Area team for the entirety of his career. Even with all that considered, Marleau could be a long shot for the Hall-of-Fame.
While Marleau has always been a good player, he’s never been elite. He recently scored his 20th goal of this season, making it the 14th time he’s reached that plateau in his career, and also signaling that perhaps he still has something left in the tank. Marleau is in the final year of his current deal, and who knows: maybe the Sharks win the Cup this year. That would do wonders for Marleau’s chances of entering the Hall.
11. Zach Parise
American Zach Parise appears on our list here at number 11, and while he’s got a handful of good years left in him, it’s highly unlikely Parise makes the Hall-of-Fame. Sure, he’s consistently been one of the best forwards on his team, no matter where he plays, but his counting stats aren’t elite and he hasn’t won a thing.
Granted, Parise still has nine years left on the behemoth 14-year contract he signed in the 2012 offseason, literally months before the new CBA mandated that players are only permitted to sign seven-year max-term contracts (eight if you drafted the player). You’d have to think the Wild would need a few Cups in that time span to warrant Parise’s Hall-of-Fame inclusion. Perhaps this could be the year?