Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I NOW Consider Teemu Selanne A Hall of Famer

I try to keep track of the point in NHL player's careers when they have accomplished enough that they are worthy of induction into the Hockey Hall Of Fame regardless of what happens between now and the end of their career. My Hall of Fame standards are outlined here. Selanne is the third player this season who has enough achievements in his career, completed this season, that I would consider him a Hall of Famer. He joins Mike Modano and Mats Sundin.

This season, Selanne scored his 500th career goal and did so while remaining a dominant scorer and not merely a player who is hanging on to a career and padding his career numbers. In fact, his 536 career goals places him 26th all time and is the most of any player that I previously did not consider Hall of Fame worthy. In terms of career points, he currently sits 48th all time with 1127 points. There are three active players with more career points that I would not consider Hall of Fame worthy. They are Mark Recchi, Pierre Turgeon and Jeremy Roenick. None of the three have had as dominant careers (though all three have had longer careers).

Selanne has been a dominant player throughout most of his career. He has played in 10 All Star games (including the one this season). He is a two-time first team all star at right wing and a two-time second team all star as well. He has led or tied for the league lead in goals on three occasions. He has excelled in international play, having represented Finland four times in the Olympics and in 2006 was named the best forward at the tournament.

I induct him right now because it is clear that Selanne has had another dominant season this year and flew by the 500 career goal marker. If the season ended right now, Selanne's 44 goals would be third in the league (and first in the West Conference). His 86 points would be 11th in the league (and third in the West Conference). Though he likely will continue to score this season, those numbers by themselves show that he is still an elite player. Given his comeback season last year (90 points while coming off a career worst 32 before that) it takes a second successful year to show that was not a one season fluke and he has accomplished enough to show that. He is moving up the all time goals list and doing so at a fast rate. Because of this, I now consider Teemu Selanne a Hall of Famer.

These players are the currently active (or at least non-retired) players in the NHL I think have done enough to be inducted into the Hall of Fame regardless of what happens for the rest of their careers:

Ed Belfour
Rob Blake
Martin Brodeur
Chris Chelios
Peter Forsberg
Dominik Hasek
Jaromir Jagr
Brian Leetch
Nicklas Lidstrom
Mike Modano
Scott Niedermayer
Chris Pronger
Joe Sakic
Teemu Selanne
Brendan Shanahan
Mats Sundin

As the season ends and playoff hockey begins, it is possible that further players will make this list. Likely, this list will shrink some this summer as I am sure a couple of these players will retire (Brian Leetch is very likely).

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