Monday, June 26, 2006

I NOW Consider Scott Niedermayer A Hall of Famer

Before we completely put the season to bed, there is one final player that I think cemented his Hall of Fame berth this year regardless of what happens for the rest of his career. He is Scott Niedermayer. Today I add him to my Hall of Fame list. He is the fifth addition this season joining Peter Forsberg, Joe Nieuwendyk, Rob Blake and Chris Pronger. Under normal circumstances, the NHL can only induct four players in a season and I am adding five. Does this bother me? Not really. I am inducting players at the point in their career where I think they are worthy regardless of what happens the rest of their career, while the NHL inducts after retirement, so there isn't any one-to-one mapping of players in a season that I induct to those the NHL inducts. There are many seasons (an obvious example is the lockout year)in which less than four are picked in both schemes. Here are my hall of fame standards.

I induct Scott Niedermayer because his career compares very well to Rob Blake and Chris Pronger's and I inducted both of them earlier this year. Niedermayer currently has 974 games played with 539 career points. These are higher numbers than Pronger (although roughly the same per game scoring rate) and slightly lower than Blake. He has won three Stanley Cups during his New Jersey Devils tenure. In 1998, he made the second team all star. In 2004 he made first team and won the Norris trophy. In 2006, he repeated his first team all star berth. That is more first team all star berths than either of Pronger or Blake. Like Pronger and Blake, Niedermayer is a regular choice on Canadian Olympic teams.

I waited until after the NHL awards to induct Niedermayer because I thought he needed a strong showing in the Norris trophy voting and a first team all star berth to solidify his hall of fame credentials. It was possible those were not going to occur, depending upon the will of the voters. Niedermayer is now a two time in a row first all star team defenceman. It is quite likely that had there not been a lockout, he could have had a third year in a row. The lockout cost Niedermayer a year in his prime, yet he still shows great hall of fame credentials. He has close to 1000 games played with a solid offensive contribution for a defenceman. He has several individual awards and multiple years of team success including several Stanley Cup wins. That leaves my list of hall of famers regardless of what happens in the rest of their careers at sixteen as the 2005/06 season ends. Here it is:

Dave Andreychuk
Ed Belfour
Rob Blake
Martin Brodeur
Chris Chelios
Peter Forsberg
Dominik Hasek
Jaromir Jagr
Brian Leetch
Nicklas Lidstrom
Scott Niedermayer
Joe Nieuwendyk
Chris Pronger
Joe Sakic
Brendan Shanahan
Steve Yzerman

Likely, this list will shorten over the summer due to some retirements.

I agree with Niedermayer.

What's your list of already-retired players who are not in the Hall yet will/should be?
Those eligible in 2009: Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille

Those eligible in 2007: Ron Francis, Igor Larionov, Al MacInnis, Mark Messier, Adam Oates, Scott Stevens

Those first time eligible in 2006: Doug Gilmour, Phil Housley, Patrick Roy

Some others who have been eligible for a while (this is an incomplete list.): Dino Ciccarelli, Mark Howe, Sergei Makarov
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