Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Typical Hall of Famer

With Hall of Fame week just finishing, talk turns to the next batch of Hockey Hall of Famers and to what makes a Hall of Famer? I had an idea to simply figure out what constituted a member of the Hall, statistically speaking.

For now I only looked at players who were Forwards, and only at guys who played at least 400 career games. I figured if only looking at stats, it's not fair to include the early NHLer's who's careers often amounted to only 200 or so games. There are still 94 NHL Hall members that were mainly forwards who played at least 400 games. It's a nice wide array of eras from Joliat, Morenz, Nels Stewart and Syl Apps to all the stars of recent decades.

These 94 players average careers work out to 946 Games and 883 points.

Remember there's many different eras of hockey included in there, as well as a number of more defensively oriented forwards but I think it gives us a fair starting point for the average Hall of Famer. I then looked at all NHL players through history to find four players that generally match these average Hall of Famer's numbers. The results are interesting:

Peter Bondra 1081 GP-892 Pts
Bill Barber 903 GP-883 Pts
Dennis Maruk 888 GP-878 Pts
Yvan Cournoyer 968 GP-863 Pts

These four average out to 960 GP and 879 Points each, and obviously only Barber and Cournoyer are actually in the Hall. What seperates them from Bondra and Maruk?
In simple terms, it's hardware that each player won during his career that pushes one over the Hall of Fame threshold. Barber won 2 Stanley Cups, was a First Team All-Star once and Second Teamer twice. Cournoyer won eight Cups, a Conn Smythe Trophy and was Second Team All-Star four times. On the other hand, neither Bondra or Maruk won a Cup, a Trophy or was a year end All-Star selection.

So, by looking at it in this very simple manner the average Hall of Fame forward looks something this. 946GP, 883 Pts, 2 Cups and 3 or 4 All-Star selections. Of course this is very simplistic, and more than a few modern era players easily match the scoring numbers but I feel it gives a nice starting point for future debates. It really does come down to the accolades a player has won, this is why Joe Sakic and Brendan Shanahan are pretty much locks for entry next year while guys like Lindros, Bure, Sundin and Oates are on the bubble.


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