Two of them are slam dunks and the other is a very good bet to make the Hall of Fame this year.
When the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee meets Monday to determine the class of 2014, they won’t have to debate for very long on Dominik Hasek and Peter Forsberg. They’ll be automatics. Mike Modano, on the other hand, might spur debate. He’ll need at least 14 affirmative votes from the 18 selection committee members to make the grade.
Here’s a brief look at the careers of these three first-year eligible candidates The Hockey News is projecting to gain Hall approval for 2014.
Dominik Hasek. Some people call him the best goalie in the history of the game. Even those who prefer Patrick Roy or Martin Brodeur or Terry Sawchuk or Jacques Plante acknowledge Hasek is among the game’s top five stoppers of all-time.
Hasek is the only goalie to win back-to-back Hart trophies as NHL MVP and was a finalist for that award three times. He won the Vezina Trophy six times, the William Jennings Trophy three times and the Stanley Cup twice with Detroit.
Despite not winning a No. 1 job in the NHL until he was 28, the Czech Republic-born Hasek dominated the crease for the Buffalo Sabres next decade. He’s 11th in all-time wins with 389 and eighth in shutouts with 81.
Hasek would have been first-time Hall eligible in 2011 had he not come out of retirement to play in the KHL that year.
Peter Forsberg. Injuries limited Forsberg to 708 NHL regular season games, but he was magical when he was healthy. A two-time Cup with Colorado, Forsberg ranks among all-time NHL leaders in points per game (eighth at 1.25) and assists per game (fifth at .90).
Few players in the game’s history played with the Swede’s combination of exceptional vision and physical style. Forsberg won the Hart Trophy in 2002-03, was a first-team all-star three times and also won the Art Ross and Calder trophies.
Mike Modano. The all-time scoring leader, both goals and points, among U.S.-born players, Modano also ranks among the top 25 league-wide in both categories – 561 goals and 1,374 points.
Modano was in his prime with the Dallas Stars when they went to back-to-back Stanley Cup finals, winning in 1999. He won a World Cup gold medal in 1996 and an Olympic silver in 2002.
The only thing working against Modano is he didn’t win any individual awards and was an NHL second-team all-star just once.
On the other hand, Modano has better all-around stats, and won a Stanley Cup, compared to Mats Sundin, who got into the Hall on his first attempt in 2012. His designation as No. 1 American scorer of all-time also is working in his favor.
The best of the other first-time eligible candidates are Chris Osgood, Adam Foote, Mark Recchi, Doug Weight and Owen Nolan.
Recchi is 19th in all-time goals (577) and 12th in points (1,533) and won three Stanley Cups with three different teams.
In tomorrow’s blog, I’ll look at some of previously passed-over candidates such as Eric Lindros, Tom Barrasso and Sergei Makarov.
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