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Pavel Bure's Hall of Fame case

Pavel Bure scored 437 goals in 702 career NHL games. (Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Pavel Bure scored 437 goals in 702 career NHL games. (Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

The fact Pavel Bure isn’t in the Hockey Hall of Fame is one of the game’s great oversights for six years now.

First eligible for Hall induction in 2006 (after retiring in 2003), Bure is among the best pure goal-scorers in the history of the NHL. In fact, stack his apples to apples numbers up against Mike Bossy – whom many believe is the game’s best marksman ever – and the Russian Rocket comes up very comparable.

The numbers in the charts below show Bure, at his peak, scored at a better pro-rated pace in a lower-scoring era than Bossy, the New York Islanders great from the 1980s. Bossy had five 60-goal seasons and four 50-goal seasons during a time when NHL goals-per-game was mostly in the 7.0 to 8.0 range. Bure had two 60-goal seasons, others with 59, 58 and 51 and two more with 30 in a “dead-puck era” when the league GPG was mostly in the 5.2 to 6.5 range.

In 1999-2000, Bure scored 58 goals in 74 games for Florida. Goals per game in the NHL that year were 5.493. So Bure’s .78 goals per game accounted for 14.2 percent of scoring in the games he played. In 2000-01, he accounted for 13.1 percent of the scoring in his games.

By comparison, in Bossy’s best season, he had 69 goals in 80 games while the league’s goals per game was 6.996. So he accounted for 12.3 percent of scoring in his games.

Bossy also had the benefit of playing alongside one of the game’s best playmaking centers of all-time, Bryan Trottier. Try to name some of the centers Bure played with. Throughout his injury-shortened 10-year career, Bossy also had two other Hall of Famers on the ice with him a good chunk of the time, Denis Potvin and Clark Gillies. The only Hall of Famers Bure briefly played with were Igor Larionov, Mark Messier and Brian Leetch when they were in the twilight of their careers.

Injuries also shortened Bure’s career to 702 games, which is about the same length as Bossy (752 games), Cam Neely (726 games) and Bobby Orr (657 games) so you can’t say Bure has been rebuffed by the Hall’s selection committee because he didn’t play long enough. In fact, we also included Neely’s “Goal Power” numbers in the charts below to show even his peak wasn’t as long or prolific as Bure’s.

The argument here isn’t to disparage Bossy and Neely as Hall of Famers. Bossy truly is one of the NHL’s best snipers of all-time and has four Stanley Cup rings to prove it. Neely, like Bure, didn’t win a Stanley Cup, but is recognized as one of the game’s best-ever scoring power forwards. They fully deserve to stand where they do.

Bure should be there with them. The 18-member selection committee will consider his worthiness for a seventh straight year today and makes the 3 pm (EST) announcement. His induction is long overdue.

MIKE BOSSY'S GOAL POWER
RK.
SEASON
GPG
NHL GPG
GOAL POWER
1
1978-79
.86
6.996
12.3%
2
1980-81
.86
7.687
11.2% 
3
1977-78
.73
6.593
11.1% 
4
1981-82
.80
8.025
10.0%
5
1982-83
.76
7.730
 9.8%
6
1984-85
.76
7.774
 9.8%
7
1979-80
.68
7.026
  9.7% 
8
1983-84
.76
7.889
  9.6% 
9
1985-86
.76
7.937
  9.6% 
10
1986-87
.60
7.339
  8.2% 

PAVEL BURE'S GOAL POWER
RK.
SEASON
GPG
NHL GPG
GOAL POWER
1
1999-00
.78
5.493
14.2%
2
2000-01
.72
5.514
13.1% 
3
1993-94
.79
6.484
12.2% 
4
1997-98
.62
5.276
11.8% 
5
1992-93
.72
7.253
 9.9%
6
2001-02
.50
5.237
 9.5%
7
2002-03
.49
5.309
  9.2% 
8
1994-95
.45
5.973
  7.5% 
9
1996-97
.37
5.831
  6.3% 

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CAM NEELY'S GOAL POWER
RK.
SEASON
GPG
NHL GPG
GOAL POWER
1
1993-94
1.02
6.484
15.7%
2
1990-91
.74
6.911
10.7% 
3
1994-95
.64
5.973
10.7% 
4
1989-90
.72
7.368
9.8% 
5
1995-96
.53
6.286
8.4%
6
1987-88
.61
7.425
8.2%
7
1988-89
.50
7.483
 6.7% 
8
1986-87
.48
7.339
 6.5% 

Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to THN.com with his column. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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