Monday, May 16, 2005

Hall of Fame Chances from this Season

This hockey season was far from a normal one - due to the lack of an NHL. However, hockey did happen (and in a few cases is still happening). The highest level hockey probably occurred in two short tournaments- the World Cup and the World Championships. Some higher then normal level hockey occurred in Europe and in the AHL due to the extra NHL players on the rosters - but it was clearly a lower level then in the NHL. The question is in this abnormal year have the hall of fame chances of any players changed?

The players who have already had Hall of Fame careers before the season began still have had Hall of Fame careers. These guys include Mark Messier, Steve Yzerman and Scott Stevens (as well as others). Nothing they can do can keep them from the hall of fame - including a year without playing.

Probably the biggest beneficiaries this season are players who can make some claim for having been the berst player in the world this year. Due to the fact that the top players in the world rarely played against each other, there are several players that have plausable claims to this. For example, Joe Thornton and Rick Nash with top play in the World Championships and in Switzerland could make this claim. Pavol Demitra with top play in the world Championships and in Slovakia could also make this claim. With his gold medal game shutout in the world Championships, Tomas Vokoun can also make this claim. As MVP of the World Cup, Vincent LeCavallier could make this claim. With his goaltending leading a suprise Finland team to the World Cup finals, I think Miikka Kiprusoff could also make this claim. None of these players have had Hall of Fame careers yet, but one day they might as their plausable claim for being the top player in the world during this strange season helps their cases.

Some top players who didn't play much at all (possibly only in the World Cup) also increased their chances a bit (although not as much as a full NHL season of top play would have). For example, assuming Jarome Iginla or Scott Niedermayer continue to be top players after the lockout ends, it is a logical assumption that they would have been the same top player they were before the lockout and after the lockout had they had the chance to play during it. If their career numbers are close, the would likely be given the benefit of the doubt based on what they logically would have accomplished this year had it been a normal year.

I don't think any player who was not a Hall of Famer going into this season has established himself as one now, but it is not truly a null season, the Hall of Fame chances of many players have changed over the year.

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