Every year at the Stanley Cup finals, it seems a veteran player's name begins to be floated as to whether he'll eventually be worthy of the Hall of Fame.
Those on the Blackhawks’ side predictably believed he was a sure thing.
"I don't know how he wouldn't be," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. "You look at his accomplishments, he certainly is a Hall of Famer in my mind. He brings so much to our team outside of statistics. He's taught our young players how to play, how to win, how to be a teammate, how to be a two-way player. Those things pay off in spades. I mean, you watch the evolution of Patrick Kane, I don't know that he'd be the same player today if he hadn't been playing with Marian his whole career. There's things like that, you can't really measure it, but he's a Hall of Famer in my mind."
The Case For
On the one hand, Hossa's offensive numbers are almost good enough to get him in. He's produced 486 goals and 570 assists for 1,056 points in 1,172 career regular-season games. He's had 13 seasons of 25-plus goals. In the playoffs, he’s had another 144 points in 194 career games. But Hossa is much more than just an offensive player. What makes him special is his defensive game. He’s one of the game’s premier two-ways forwards, and he's especially respected for his backchecking ability. He’s been in the top 10 in takeaways six times since the 2005-06 season and was 11th this past season. On top of that, he’s a winner. He’s won three Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks.
The Case Against
One of the arguments against Hossa is he's deemed a good player, but not exactly a great one. He’s been in the discussion for awards, especially the Selke, but he has never won one. His offensive numbers are considered in the same way. He’s obviously accumulated a lot of points, but 1,000-plus points doesn’t provide immediate entry into the Hall of Fame. There are plenty of players with 1,000 points who are on the outside looking in. His comparables on Hockey-Reference.com are Daniel Alfredsson, Keith Tkachuk, Bryan Trottier and Jeremy Roenick.
Hossa is the complete package. One of his tools may not get him into the Hall of Fame, but he’s worthy when you put them all together. He’s also likely to play at least a few more seasons and will continue adding to his resume. He makes it into our Hall of Fame.
ESPN panel: 100 percent voted into Hockey Hall of Fame.