With the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015 now enshrined, attention has already turned to next year’s potential inductees. And most of that focus is on players who’ve missed the cut in previous years and could finally hear their name called.
That’s because the list of newly eligible players is, to put it kindly, underwhelming. Call it a fluke, or lay the blame on the 2012-13 lockout. After all, not too many legends want to end their career playing through a rushed half-season. Either way, while the list of members in the 2016 first-timers club has its share of good players and respected journeymen, there’s not a single Hall of Famer to be found.
Or is there? I’ve always preferred to look on the bright side of things, and I’m up for a challenge. So today, let’s take a look down that list of new candidates, and see if we can’t come up with some good arguments in their favor.
Jose Theodore: By all accounts, has always done a wonderful job of taking care of Jarome Iginla’s Hart Trophy.
Jamie Langenbrunner: Is a former star player who once played for the Devils and is now very old, so we should probably get our votes in now before he inevitably signs with the Blues.
Wade Redden: Personally made you a better spouse, parent and friend by single-handedly putting an end to all that time you used to waste having “worst contract in NHL history” debates.
Miikka Kiprusoff: Could probably sway a lot of voters by putting together a highlight reel of him and his teammates on the 2004 Calgary Flames. Just make sure none of those clips involve Martin Gelinas, because nobody in the NHL ever bothers watching replays involving him until it’s too late.
Alex Kovalev: Had over 1,000 career points, was the first Russian to win the Stanley Cup, and was known as one of his generation’s most creative blah, blah, blah. Hey, remember when he made Darcy Tucker eat his forearm? Get the man his plaque.
Toni Lydman: Was really good as the mom in The Sixth Sense.
Donald Brashear: Was one of the most underrated players of his generation and could have easily reached the 1,000-point mark if he had been given the ice time he deserved, and I’m saying that because it’s my own honest opinion and certainly not because he’s standing behind me cracking his knuckles.
Steve Sullivan: Definitely a guy you want to cast your vote for, partly due to his memorable skill and unmatched heart, but mainly because if you make him angry he’ll “accidentally” shoot a puck into your face while your wife laughs at you.
Vinny Prospal: In general, it’s bad policy to say no to guys named “Vinny.”
Chris Simon: Once scored 29 goals in a season during the middle of the Dead Puck era, adding "your sense of disbelief" to the list of things he brutally assaulted over the course of his career.
Roman Hamrlik: Was part of the gold-medal-winning Czech team that upset Canada at the 1998 Olympics, although he did not take part in the shootout because he was a defenseman and that would have been stupid.
Marty Reasoner: Was always pretty good at reasoning, I guess.
Milan Hejduk: It would be a cool moment at the ceremony to see him introduced by longtime Colorado Avalanche teammate Alex Tanguay, and then realize you spent the last 20 years thinking they were the same guy.
Eric Lindros: Made six All-Star teams, won a Hart Trophy and established himself as the league’s most dominant player for several years. And despite several concussions, he still managed to play until 2013, we’re assuming, because that’s the only possible reason he wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame already.