Chicago Blackhawks TV play-by-play announcer Pat Foley used the podium at his own Hall of Fame ceremony last year to promote two other people he believed should be in the Hall of Fame. Foley called for former Blackhawks Doug Wilson and Steve Larmer to also be included. Both have their merits. The Wilson debate was made by my colleague Pierre LeBrun, so I'll focus on the 15-year NHL right winger Larmer today.
The Case For
Larmer is one of the best all-around and consistent right wingers to play the game. He could score and produce, but he could also defend. Offensively, Larmer is one of only 11 right wingers ever to record 1,000 points and still average a point a game. He had 441 goals and 571 assists for 1,012 points in 1,006 regular-season games. He recorded 40-plus goals five times. He played in all situations and is in the top 50 with 24 short-handed goals and 162 power-play goals. He was also a plus-204 over the course of his career. While Larmer’s career was ultimately cut short by injury at 33, he was durable throughout much of his career. He played 884 consecutive games -- third most in NHL history -- from 1982-1993. He was on winning teams, too. He played in 140 playoff games and was part of the New York Rangers’ Stanley Cup championship in 1994.
The Case Against
There’s no doubt Larmer was productive throughout his career, but he wasn't at the same level of his peers. He played in just two All-Star Games, and the only major award he won was the Calder Trophy as a rookie. He finished in the top 10 in goals and points once each. He also only once was voted in the top five for the Selke Trophy and Hart Trophy. Registering 1,000 points isn't easy, but there are other players who have been kept out of the Hall of Fame with that same achievement.
Whether Larmer deserves to be in the Hall of Fame is certainly an interesting debate. It’s close. One of the best arguments for Larmer is his best comparables in Dino Ciccarelli and Joe Mullen, according to similarity scores on hockey-reference.com. Ciccarelli and Mullen are already in the Hall of Fame. Larmer probably should be as well.
ESPN Panel: 43 percent voted into Hall of Fame.