by PuckStopsHere on 04/13/11 at 12:41 AM ET
With the end of the regular season, we can begin to put it into perspective. The second highest scorer this season this season was Martin St Louis. He is also the likely Lady Byng Trophy winner. This is an award that he will repeat as winner. He had also been the first runner up to this award three times in a row before his victories. In 2004, he won the Hart, Art Ross and Pearson Trophies and the Stanley Cup. St Louis is a one-time First Team All Star and a two time Second Team All Star. Likely he will have another post season all star nomination this season.
The issue with Martin St Louis as a Hall of Famer has been a slow start to his career. He went undrafted. He was 23 before he played his first NHL game. They were largely unmemorable. He played 13 NHL games that season, scoring only two points. He played another partial season in Calgary without showing himself to be more than a role player.
He signed as a free agent in Tampa Bay the next summer and became a full time NHL player. It was 2002/03, when St Louis was 28 and was playing in his fifth NHL season before he became an all star. The next season was his true breakthrough. That was his Hart, Art Ross, Pearson and Stanley Cup season. That year Martin St Louis was the best player in the NHL. It was quite a step forward. Nobody seriously considered St Louis as a contender for any NHL awards before that season.
St Louis’s progress was then slowed by the lockout that wiped out the next NHL season. When NHL hockey returned, Martin St Louis was given a spot on the 2006 Canadian Olympic Team for the Torino Olympics. It wasn’t until the 2006/07 season when St Louis backed up his Hart Trophy season with another top season. He scored a career best 102 points. St Louis followed that up with two point per game seasons. At age 34 and 35 his scoring went up again. He scored 94 and 99 points in back to back seasons. He has been one of the most consistent scorers for almost a whole decade now. He has been the top scorer in one season and the second highest scorer in another season. He has amassed an impressive number of NHL awards and is likely to win more this year. That is why I consider Martin St Louis a Hall of Famer.
St Louis now has 778 points in his 854 game career. This is a low total for a modern Hall of Fame forward, though there are mitigating circumstances of a year lost to lockout and a career in a relatively low scoring period in recent history. His points per game is not as good as most Hall of Famers either. This is because of his slow start to stardom. Subtracting his first three seasons he is a point per game player. Since 2003, he has been well above that point. Though these are low numbers for a Hall of Fame career from an offensive forward, he is helped by his impressive list of awards won and circumstance has kept those numbers low, Merely removing the lockout would make St Louis an 850 point scorer if not more in his career. That total is similar to Peter Forsberg or Eric Lindros and both played in eras with scoring slightly higher than it is today and both have one Hart Trophy and a few other awards similar to St Louis.
With the addition of Martin St Louis to my Hall of Fame list there are now 15 active hockey players that I think should make the Hockey Hall of Fame regardless of what happens in the rest of their career. Here is the list:
Martin St Louis
With the playoffs upon us, there may be more players added to this list this season. If not we should have some retirements this summer.
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