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The Hall of Fame cases for a few former Leafs

Later today the Hockey Hall of Fame will announce their inductees. We should all assume that Jarome Iginla will be a part of that 2020 class, and there’s a strong possibility that Marian Hossa will join him. The rest of the class seems to be a pretty wide open field, and one that includes a few former Leafs. We’ll take a look at some of those contenders now…

Most Likely

Alexander Mogilny probably has the best chance of any of the former Leafs on getting the call from the Hall of Fame selection committee today. He meets a lot of the key criteria for entry as he’s been an award winner, picking up the Lady Byng, and 2 2nd Team All-Star selections. He was a cup winner in New Jersey. He was a key member of a lot of strong Russian national teams, and he’s an over a point per game player throughout his career. Most impressively, Mogilny scored 76 goals in 77 games in the 92-93 season, a feat that we are unlikely to see again for a while (or until Matthews gets a shot playing 77 games.)

While Mogilny’s most memorable performances came as a Sabre, Canuck, or Devil, he was a key contributor to the Quinn era Leafs for a handful of seasons, becoming arguably the best winger the Leafs were ever able to provide Mats Sundin with, and Toronto was where Mogilny won his Lady Byng award.

If not this year, it will be soon for Alexander, but all signs seem to be pointing to now.

Could happen

Curtis Joseph isn’t a bad option for getting a call to the Hall of Fame either, assuming the selection committee has gotten over its goalie phobia. Other than John Davidson, the selection committee chair, the committee does not have another goaltender represented and that could make it an uphill battle for Joseph to get recognized, when of the goaltenders of his era he’s probably the best of the group that hasn’t yet been inducted into the Hall.

Playing in the time of Hasek, Roy, Brodeur, and Belfour it’s not surprising that there aren’t any Vezina awards to speak of for Joseph. Nor are there cup rings when the teams he played on were primarily the Blues, Oilers, and Leafs, but with the exception of his stop in Phoenix, Joseph managed to have a winning record wherever he went.

The strongest case to made for Joseph is that of his career longevity and his consistency. A strong performer at each stop in his career, Curtis ending up playing the 6th most games of any goaltender in history at 943, and similarly having the 6th highest total in saves, shots faced, and 7th highest total in wins.

While there are no Cups to speak of Joseph has a strong international resume representing Canada, and has a King Clancy award (won during his time in Toronto), a second place finish for the Vezina and a 4th place finish for the Hart (again both in Toronto.)

Joseph’s peak years came in Toronto after he was already considered one of the best goaltenders in the game. He might be a borderline case for the Hall of Fame, but he is arguably the best goaltender option available.

The Long Shots

Vincent Damphousse is statistically a consideration as he’s crossed the 1200 point barrier, and a cup ring to his name. His All-Star MVP performance stands out for sure. Damphousse was solid in his early years in Toronto, and the trade to Edmonton by Cliff Fletcher kick started the early 90s Leafs turnaround following the Ballard era.

Tom Barrasso played just 4 games as a Leaf, so it’s a stretch to call him a former Leaf with the potential to get in. Barrasso has long resume to his name, but his Calder/Vezina rookie year is the highlight as well as his history of representing Team USA.

Some of the other names that are noteworthy but not likely Hall of Fame bound are some of our favourite Leafs in Gary Roberts, Felix Potvin, Rick Vaive, Owen Nolan, and Steve Thomas. As much as we may love this fantastic Leafs players, it’s hard to make a case for them, but would be happy to be proven wrong on that.

TSN is airing the selection calls this afternoon at 4:30 PM ET, so perhaps we’ll get to celebrate a former Leaf a little later today.