Is this the year the Hall of Fame selection committee forgives Eric Lindros and grants him a spot in hockey’s shrine?
We’ll find out Monday when the 18 members of the Hall’s selection committee meet and vote for this year’s inductees. In yesterday’s blog, we profiled the three first-year eligible candidates The Hockey News believes will get at least 14 affirmative votes – Dominik Hasek, Peter Forsberg and Mike Modano.
Today, let’s look at some of the previously passed-over candidates. After all, seven of the past 12 inductees in the players category in the past four years had to wait at least one year before getting enshrined.
This year marks the fifth year Lindros has been eligible. Injuries and concussions limited his career to just 760 NHL games, but for the first 400-plus of those games, he was truly an all-around dominating force, among the top two or three players in the game for most of that stretch. Hall of Famers such as Cam Neely, Pat LaFontaine and Pavel Bure also had injury-shortened careers and each of them had to watch multiple induction classes before gaining the approval of the selection committee. Lindros, at his best, looks good in that field. Perhaps the main thing keeping Lindros out of the Hall is the perception he defied the establishment. He was a lowercase rebel in the opinions of some and is now paying the price.
A more detailed look at Lindros’ career and the Hall of Fame hurdles he’s facing was presented earlier this season. He’s my pick to join Hasek, Forsberg and Modano as the fourth and final member in the class of 2014.
Some other previously passed-over candidates who might be considered are:
Rob Blake, eligible since 2013. Was in a tough field last year against Chelios, Niedermayer and Shanahan.
Curtis Joseph, eligible since 2012. Fourth in all-time goaltender wins with 454.
Jeremy Roenick, eligible since 2012. Outspoken and among top-scoring Americans of all-time.
Dave Andreychuk, eligible since 2009. Ranks 14th in all-time goals with 640. The all-time leader in power-play goals.
Alexander Mogilny, eligible since 2009. Premier goal scorer and trailblazing Russian for defection.
Phil Housley, eligible since 2006. Fourth highest scoring defenseman of all-time.
Mike Richter, eligible since 2006. The face of American goaltending for a decade.
Tom Barrasso, eligible since 2006. Multiple award and Cup winner and 15th in all-time wins.
Guy Carbonneau, eligible since 2003. Was winner or finalist for the Selke Trophy five times.
Dale Hunter, eligible since 2002. Exceptional combination of scoring, grit and leadership.
Sergei Makarov, eligible since 2001. Soviet player of the year eight times.
The Hall of Fame induction class announcement comes 3 pm Eastern time Monday.
Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN