Next Wednesday a panel of hockey elders will gather virtually to determine who will be in the next class of Hockey Hall of Fame inductees. History has shown that they’ll find a way to do a comically bad job of it. They’ll be political about. They’ll lobby for their friends, but they won’t mess up on the easy decisions. This year they have one very easy decision.
Everything about Jarome Iginla says that he is a first ballot Hall of Famer. He’s got the NHL awards, the international success, and really the only thing missing is the Stanley Cup ring, but even then the Flames were about as close as you can get to having that too. Iginla is going in, and no one should object to that.
The question becomes, what of the rest of the 2020 HHOF class? Who will join Iginla in the Hall? Well, our writers have weighed in with our best guesses.
Marian Hossa: Like Iginla, Marian Hossa should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Hossa had an incredibly successful career, winning three Stanley Cups as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks and winning the Memorial Cup with the Portland Winter Hawks. Over the course of 1309 games spanning two decades, Hossa scored 525 goals and 1134 points while also being regarded as one of the game’s better defensive forwards. Though he never won a medal, Hossa also recorded 28 points for Slovakia over the course of four different Olympics, which ranks 13th all-time.
Alexander Mogilny: I have no idea why Mogilny isn’t in the Hall of Fame yet. This will be his 11th year of eligibility. Mogilny’s 473 goals rank him 53rd all time, tied with Hall of Famer Denis Savard. His 76-goal performance in 1992-93 with the Sabres is one of the best single seasons for a goal-scorer of all-time. Mogilny also won a Stanley Cup with New Jersey in 2000, an Olympic Gold with the Soviet Union in 1988, and a World Junior Gold in 1989. Mogilny is also a key historical figure in hockey as the first player to defect from the Soviet Union to play in the NHL.
Kim St-Pierre: A rock in Canada’s net for a decade, St-Pierre is Hockey Canada’s leader in games (83), wins (64) and shutouts (29). She led Canada to its first Gold Medal in women’s hockey at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and also helped win Gold in 2006 and 2010. Beyond her international play for Canada, St-Pierre also broke the barrier as the first woman in Canadian Interuniversity Sport history to win a regular-season game, doing so for McGill. St-Pierre also won two CWHL Championships with the Montreal Stars in 2009 and 2011.
Marian Hossa – While he hasn’t officially retired yet, Hossa should be just as much of a lock as Iginla. He retired with 525 goals and 1134 points in 1309 games, and was one of the best defensive players in the game when he was around (how he never won a Selke is beyond me). And while I don’t think Stanley Cup wins should really be looked at as part of an evaluation, I know the selection committee likes that, and he has three to help his case.
Alexander Mogilny – You can argue that this year’s class is much weaker than ones we’ve seen in previous years (weak enough that I almost considered Daniel Alfredsson), and because of that, I think this opens up an opportunity for Mogilny to finally get his shot to get into the Hall. Mogilny is one of six retired players with at least 500 games played to average higher than a point per game in their career, and is one of only eight players to have a 70 goal season under their belt. The fact that it’s taken 11 years for him to get in is a shame, but there’s a much stronger chance he does this year.
Jennifer Botterill – Speaking of people who aren’t in the Hall of Fame yet that should be, Botterill’s legacy speaks for itself as to why she should be inducted. She was a key part of the Canadian women’s teams successes at the international stage, winning three gold and a silver at the Olympics, and another five gold and three silver at the World Women’s Championships. She also finished her career with 62 goals and 164 points in 162 games playing for Canada, 130 goals and 310 points in 165 games in the NWHL and CWHL, and 157 goals and 340 points in 113 games played in college.
The fact that this is Mogilny’s 11th year of eligibility is absurd to me. Mogilny was the first to defect from the Soviet Union and come over to the NHL, paving the way for others in the years to come. He is one of a select few in the Triple Gold Club (Stanley Cup, World Championship Gold and Olympic Gold) and also scored a ridiculous 76 goals in the 1992-93 season. Mogilny also ranks 78th all-time in points with 1,032 and finished over a point-per-game in his career.
Berenson is one of the top NCAA hockey coaches of all-time. He led Michigan to a historical 22 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament from 1991-2012, this includes 11 Frozen Four appearances and two Frozen Four titles. Berenson coached 1,366 games with the University of Michigan and is third all-time in wins with 848. His teams won 11 CCHA regular-season titles and nine CCHA Tournament titles. Berenson was one of the top NCAA coaches during his 33 years in Michigan and helped return Michigan to the top of college hockey in that time.
One of the best Canadian female players not in the Hall of Fame. Botterill is a three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and a five-time winner of the Women’s World Championship. Her international career is extensive and prestigious to say the least.
Vladimir Krutov– As a famed member of the KLM and one of the first Soviet players to defect to North America, Krutov played a historic role in hockey history that showcased the level of skill outside the NHL and opened the door for future legends like Bure, Fedorov, and others.
Curtis Joseph– While Joseph never accumulated the hardware that other hall of famers have, there are few goaltenders that were as consistently good for as long as Joseph was. He was dominate for almost two full decades and was probably a top ten goaltender in the league for well over half of his career.
Jennifer Botterill– Simply the best woman hockey player not already in the Hall of Fame or not still playing. She was a leader on the most dominate Canadian teams and putting her in the hall should be as obvious as putting Iginla in.
My hot takes didn’t really resonate with the rest of the group and it seems like Marian Hossa and Alexander Mogilny are the popular NHL picks. Additionally Jennifer Botterill seems to be a popular choice, and when I asked Brandon to come up with a builder option, he delivered well with the Red Berenson suggestion.
Beyond the names we suggested above, Pierre Turgeon, Sergei Gonchar, and Kerry Fraser might also warrant some consideration. One thing is for certain though, Iginla is in.