Former Tampa Bay Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has already been immortalized in bronze outside Amalie Arena, but he has been passed over repeatedly for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. This has been regarded as a noteworthy snub by some who feel his longevity and contributions should be honored accordingly. Was he the most dazzling player of his generation? Absolutely not. But he was consistent and reliable, and his 23 seasons in the NHL are a testament to that. Is that enough to make the case for him to enter the Hockey Hall of Fame? Let’s examine the pros and cons of each argument.
For one, Andreychuk is atop the all-time list in at least one category: power-play goals. The hulking Hamilton, Ontario, native, who also played for the Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche, has the most of any NHL player in history with 274. And keep in mind, the crease was a much more coveted patch of real estate back when he was playing. Beyond that, Andreychuk is also sixth all time in games played with 1,639, and he has pretty good company up at the top. The only five players who have played more? Gordie Howe, Mark Messier, Ron Francis, Mark Recchi and Chris Chelios. He ranks 14th all time with 640 goals, and, as Lightning fans likely will remind you, he captained the team that brought the franchise its only Stanley Cup in 2004.
Here’s really the only gripe you can lodge against Andreychuk entering the Hall: He wasn’t ever really the premier offensive threat of any of the teams he played for throughout his lengthy tenure. He wasn’t the sort of awe-inspiring talent that earned him superlative recognition. Rather, his dependability was his calling card. You could also argue that he did not offer any distinct, different style or skill that separated him from the pack, though his power-play and goal-scoring acumen should more or less nullify that argument, especially given his prolonged production.
Put him in. The Hall of Fame should not save recognition only for the players who blew you away. There should be some acknowledgement for what sort of a fantastic career can be forged, and sustained, through hard work, determination and just plain doggedness. He deserves to be there.
ESPN panel: 70 percent voted for induction into the Hall.