Each of the franchises in the National Hockey League has a history of its own – but what if NHL betting fans and them could elect four of its former and/or current members into a four-person team hall of fame? Here’s a look at who they might pick.
Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets
Jeff Odgers was one of the team’s most popular players when it was Atlanta, with a reputation for fearlessness. Dany Heatley was a symbol of a hopeful future for this young team. Ray Ferraro was one of the team’s early leaders, and Ilya Kovalchuk was one of the few Thrashers from beginning to end. Now that the team is in Winnipeg, it may elevate others to replace these four.
Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito defined this team during its big run in the 1960s and 1970s. Ray Bourque and Cam Neely were the foundation of its resurgence in the late 1980s and 1990s. Patrice Bergeron might break into the top four if he can bring another Cup to Boston.
Dominik Hasek won six Vezina Trophies and two Hart Trophies as league MVP. Pat LaFontaine scored the most goals per game in team history. Gilbert Perreault leads the franchise in goals, assists and games played. Rick Martin was a terrific offensive player who flew under the radar.
Calgary (Atlanta) Flames
Jarome Iginla has become Mr. Flame, with the most games played in franchise history. Mike Vernon was the best goalie in team history, and no one has ever had a harder slap shot than Al MacInnis. Theo Fleury was the engine in a terrific team in the 1980s and 1990s.
Carolina Hurricanes (Hartford Whalers)
The Whalers had Ron Francis, one of the best hockey palyers of all time. Kevin Dineen was also iron when the team was in Hartford. Rod Brind’Amour and Eric Staal were two huge players for the team during the transition. In 17 years since moving to Carolina, the team has only gone to the playoffs five times.
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are the center of the current Chicago dynasty. Bobby Hull was huge in terms of points per game, as was Stan Mikita.
Colorado Avalanche (Quebec Nordiques)
Peter Forsberg, Patrick Roy and Joe Sakic were key to this team’s domination in Denver a decade ago. Peter Stastny was terrific when the team was still in Quebec, averaging as many assists as Forsberg would per game.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Steve Mason was a rock when the Blue Jackets went to the playoffs for the first time. Rick Nash personified the franchise before he left as a free agent. David Vyborny put together 500 solid games for the Jackets. Sergei Bobrovsky won the 2012-2013 Vezina Trophy.
Dallas Stars (Minnesota North Stars)
Let’s take Tyler Seguin, one of the most gifted offensive players in the modern era, along with Sergei Zubov, one of the best defensemen not in the Hall of Fame already. Mike Modano was the young face of the franchise in Minnesota and brought Dallas its only Cup in 1999. Round it out with the semi-crazy Eddie Belfour, the goalie without whom the Cup would not have come to town.
Detroit Red Wings
Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom from the (relatively) modern era. But Terry Sawchuk and Gordie Howe would be on the list for consideration in the NHL Top Four.
You wouldn’t know it now, but this was a dynasty in the 1980s, led by Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Grant Fuhr in net. Oh, and don’t forget about the great defenseman Paul Coffey.
Pavel Bure is one of the team’s greats. Roberto Luongo is the greatest netminder in team history. Scott Mellanby was key in their playoff years, and Olli Jokinen rounds out this team’s top players.
Los Angeles Kings
Jonathan Quick will be the first Kings goalie in the Hall of Fame, and Anze Kopitar will score 1,000 points in his career. Drew Doughty has already had two incredible playoffs with the Kings, and he’s only 25. Finally, Marcel Dionne played 921 games in Los Angeles duds and tallied 550 goals.
Ryan Suter is the best D-man the Wild have had in their young history. Mikko Koivu has had a nice career in the upper Midwest as well. Zach Parise will become the face of the franchise, and Marian Gaborik is an underrated talent.
It’s been decades since this team has been dominant, but when they were, they owned the NHL. Their top four players go back to those years, with Jean Beliveau, Maurice Richard and Guy Lafleur skating and Jacque Plante in net.
Martin Erat and David Legwand have been stalwarts since the team opened its doors. Pekka Rinne will be in the Hall of Fame, as will Shea Weber.
New Jersey Devils (Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Scouts)
Martin Brodeur is the team’s rock in goal. Patrik Elias has two Stanley Cups and over 1,000 games and points. Scott Niedermayer and Scott Stevens were the key for the Devils during their runs in the 1990s.
New York Islanders
John Tavares is the best player from the modern Islanders. Bryan Trottier was a clutch playoff scorer, and Mike Bossy and Denis Potvin also keyed the Islander dynasty in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
New York Rangers
Two goalies are in the Blueshirts’ top four: today’s rock Henrik Lundqvist and the goalie from the 1994 Stanley Cup team, Mike Richter. Mark Messier, who captained that 1994 team, and Brian Leetch, who anchored that team’s defense, round out the top four.
No, we’re not looking at the ancient franchise, just the new one. Daniel Afredsson is Mr. Senator, with the team from Day One. Jason Spezza has averaged more than a point a game through his career. Erik Karlsson is a smooth offensive machine, and Wade Redden had an amazing career here.
Claude Giroux is a modern playoff monster. Goalie Bernie Parent, along with Bobby Clarke and Bill Barber, go back to the Broad Street Bullies days.
Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes (Winnipeg Jets)
This team hasn’t done much in the desert, so the top four in this franchise are all former Jets: Keith Tkachuk, Teppo Numminen, Dale Hawerchuk and Shane Doan.
All four of the Pens’ top four are Hall locks if they aren’t already there: Mario Lemieux (690 goals) and Jaromir Jagr (439 goals) are in the top four, and the modern pair of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin is just as salty.
San Jose Sharks
Joe Pavelski is the newest Shark to crack the top four. Joe Thornton is the team’s best offense player, and Evgeni Nabokov has been the top goalie. Patrick Marleau leads the franchise in goals, assists and games played.
St. Louis Blues
Yes, Brett Hull won his Cup in Dallas, but he was a Blue for most of his career. Al MacInnis was a terrific defenseman here as well. Brian Sutter is third all time in Blues’ history for goals – behind Hull and the fourth member in this group, Bernie Federko.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Martin St. Louis and Vincent LeCavalier were huge on their 2004 Cup championship team. Brad Richards and Steven Stamkos have also contributed mightily to this team’s successes.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Mats Sundin played for this team during its brief contention in the 1990s. Turk Broda won five Stanley Cups and more than 300 games for Toronto. Darryl Sittler and Dave Keon also hearken back to those old days of domination.
The Sedin twins (Henrik and Daniel) have regularly been among the league leaders in points and in consideration for Most Valuable Player. Pavel Bure and Trevor Linden were forces on that 1994 team that lost in the Cup Finals to the Rangers.
Alex Ovechkin is the biggest star the Caps have ever had. Olaf Kolzig won 301 games and backstopped the Caps to their only appearance in a Cup Final. Dale Hunter was the captain and a natural leader for more than a decade. Peter Bondra scored 472 goals in his 961 games.SourcesHockey-reference.com: http://www.hockey-reference.com/players/l/lemiema01.htmlNHL.com: http://www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8449573