The four players to get into the Hockey Hall of Fame this season are: Pavel Bure, Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, Adam Oates. I think as Wings fans, we are all shocked that Brendan Shanahan didn’t get in. However, did he deserve it? Without knowing any of the numbers before writing this, let’s take a look at the stats of the 5 players and see who is more deserving of the honor. I won’t go into intangibles since I am not as familiar with other players, so it would not be a fair analysis. (All stats from www.hockeydb.com)
Shanahan – 1,524 games played, 1,354 points, 3 Stanley Cups
Bure – 702 games, 779 points, 0 Stanley Cups
Sundin – 1,346, 1,349 points, 0 Stanley Cups
Oates – 1337 games, 1,420 points, 0 Stanley Cups
Sakic – 1,378, 1,641 points, 2 Stanley Cups
Based purely on the above numbers, Joe Sakic is an obvious choice. No point in discussing him any further.
Bure is an interesting choice. He was an elite talent that just couldn’t stay healthy. With only 702 career games played, does he deserve it? I lean “no”. In this era of hockey, longevity is very important. I’m not saying you have to play 1,500 games to be considered, but he played about half the games as the rest of the players being discussed. Hall of Fame talent? Yes. Hall of Fame numbers? No.
Sundin has the numbers to be in the Hall, but I don’t think he’s a first ballot type of guy. With minimal post-season success, it’s hard to give a player such an honor. He was captain of the 2006 Swedish Olympic team, so he does have that going for him. But outside of that, I have a hard time giving him the honor so early based on only being a point a game player.
Oates should have been in long ago. He’s 6th all time in career assists. The fact that he’s not in yet, when only Dino Ciccarelli was elected in 2010, is not good. It’s good that he is now in the HHOF.
That brings us to Shanahan. Obviously, we are all biased towards him, but numbers don’t lie. He won the most cups of any of these five players, and also won an Olympic Gold Medal. His points per game are down compared to the other players on list. More cups, less points. Does this make him a first ballot member of the HHOF? It’s close, but I think so over Sundin or Bure.
I guess there is no right answer here, but I think Shanny should be inducted this year. Oh well. He’ll get in sooner or later.
Also, Pat Burns was still not elected to the HHOF. I’m not allowed to swear on this website, but please see this message on my Twitter on this topic.