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I NOW Consider Sergei Gonchar A Hall Of Famer

I try to monitor what time in a player's career he becomes a clear Hall of Famer.  At what point is he a Hall of Fame player regardless of what happens in the rest of his career?  I think Sergei Gonchar has passed that point.

Gonchar has been one of the better defencemen in the league for well over a decade.  He has never been the best defenceman in the league but he was good enough to make the NHL Second Team All Star twice.  Had he been stronger defensively he probably would have been a Norris Trophy winner at some point.  His defensive play has improved over his career but it was a weakness fifteen years ago.  His career numbers have reached the point that they are clear Hall of Fame numbers and this is remarkable given the fact that he played in a relatively low scoring era with the loss of 1.5 seasons due to lockouts (and possibly the 1994 lockout as that shortened his rookie season).  In a different higher scoring era, a player of Gonchar's ability would have even more impressive career numbers.

As things stand, Gonchar has 773 career points.  That is good for 18th all time among defencemen.  Three defencemen have more career points and are Hall of Fame eligible but not (yet) inducted.  These are Phil Housley, who as the fourth highest scoring defenceman ever should get there someday (it is an oversight that he hasn't been inducted yet), Gary Suter and Doug Wilson.  The latter two played in a higher scoring era in the 1980s and are less than 70 points ahead of Gonchar.  Were it not for lockouts, Gonchar would have more career points.  In terms of era adjusted points Gonchar is well ahead of either of them without taking lockouts into account at all.

Gonchar is having a strong season with the Ottawa Senators this year.  He is their team leader in terms of ice time this season.  He is currently the fourteenth highest scoring defenceman this season.  Thus it is clear that he is a key player on his team and not merely holding on to a career well past his prime to inflate his career numbers.

This is a hall of Fame career.  There have been few offensive defencemen with Gonchar's ability or longevity in the history of hockey.  He has been one of the best in his position and remains to this day a candidate to appear in an All Star Game. 

This gives us fourteen non-retired Hall of Famers.  They are:

Daniel Alfredsson
Martin Brodeur
Zdeno Chara
Sidney Crosby
Sergei Gonchar
Jarome Iginla
Jaromir Jagr
Evgeni Malkin
Alexander Ovechkin
Chris Pronger
Martin St Louis
Teemu Selanne
Tim Thomas
Joe Thornton

This list may continue to grow into the playoffs.  It may then shrink a bit in the off-season.  Since Chris Pronger and Tim Thomas did not play at all this season they are prime candidates.

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Comments

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This list is a joke without Pavel Datsyuk on it.

Posted by letsmakeit12 on 04/22/13 at 11:31 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Red Wings fans have that reflexive response but it is wrong at this point.  Gonchar has just barely made the list and he has more career points from defence than Datsyuk has at forward. Let Datsyuk build up his career numbers a bit more.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/22/13 at 11:34 PM ET

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Everyone on this list deserves to be there. You listed Iginla, Thornton, and St. Louis, but no Datsyuk. That’s an issue. Of those, only Thornton has a higher point per game average. Datsyuks is .97, St Louis’ at .92, Iginlas is at .89, and Thorntons at .99. Datsyuk has won 2 Stanley cups. The other 3 guys? A combined ZERO. Datsyuk has a plus minus of +223. Thornton comes in at 2nd of the 4 with a +157, Iginla 3rd with a +48, and St Louis a +9. Hell, Datsyuks plus minus is a bigger number than his career penalty minutes(200). This isn’t just a case of a defensive Red Wing fan. Almost any hockey mind would say Datsyuk would be in if he retired after this year. Offense and trophies aside. He is one the best ALL TIME 2way players.

Posted by letsmakeit12 on 04/22/13 at 11:58 PM ET

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Correction- 1 cup for St Louis, got ahead of myself. But still

Posted by letsmakeit12 on 04/22/13 at 11:59 PM ET

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Also, while putting up more Points per game than Iginla and St Louis, he also has earned the best defensive forward trophy 3 times. It’s crazy that this is even an argument.

Posted by letsmakeit12 on 04/23/13 at 12:06 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Points per game is a go to argument for people who don’t have enough games to have their career numbers compare well.  As players play more games and age their points per game usually tend to drop.  Datsyuk’s likely will if he gets to play as many games as Thornton or Iginla.  Comparing point per game totals among players with hundreds of more games than Datsyuk is pointless.  If Datsyuk keeps up his points per game as long as Iginla or Thornton have then he is in.  He is in before that point actually because he does have some individual awards (as do the players you compare him to - 2 of 3 have Hart Trophies that Datsyuk doesn’t).

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/23/13 at 12:28 AM ET

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Three defencemen have more career points and are Hall of Fame eligible but not (yet) inducted.  These are Phil Housley, who as the fourth highest scoring defenceman ever should get there someday (it is an oversight that he hasn’t been inducted yet), Gary Suter and Doug Wilson.

Did you forget Lidstrom, or an I missing something?

Posted by Disco Dave on 04/23/13 at 12:38 AM ET

Joe Z.'s avatar

Did you forget Lidstrom, or an I missing something?

Posted by Disco Dave on 04/23/13 at 01:38 AM ET

I doubt the correct word is forget, should be ignored. Like ppg doesn’t count for Datsyuk but it does for Crosby. Spin, Spin, Spin…

Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 04/23/13 at 01:47 AM ET

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I’m sorry, but your argument against Datsyuk is flawed if you’re going to put Crosby and Malkin in right now.  They’ve both played a smaller percentage of games vs Datsyuk than Datsyuk has played vs Thorton and Iginla.  I know, I know….but they both have Hart Trophies and Datsyuk doesn’t.  They’ve also both because of injuries have barely played 6 seasons worth of hockey.

The Hart Trophy is a nice thing to point to when you’re deciding on a HOF career.  Career is the operative word though, and 1 Hart Trophy through 6 season’s worth of hockey hardly screams throw them in the Hall to me.  If you think Datysuk needs to keep up points for 4 or 5 more seasons to get close to Thorton and Iginla, how in the world do you not think Crosby and Malkin need to get at least a few more seasons under their belt to match where Datsyuk is now?  Ask Jose Theodore if he thinks getting a Hart Trophy is an automatic for the HOF. 

Posted by Valek from Chicago on 04/23/13 at 02:24 AM ET

Chet's avatar

so. *#$%@&. DUMB.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/23/13 at 03:39 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Disco Dave you are missing something.  Lidstrom isn’t eligible for the Hall of Fame.  He hasn’t been retired long enough.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/23/13 at 06:52 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Valek

Thank you for the strawman about Jose Theodore.  I believe you are smart enough to know that it is pointless.

I think it should be clear that Crosby and Malkin are on another level than Datsyuk.  They are the kind of generational talent that can make a serious claim to having been the best player in the NHL at one point in time.  They are players who have won multiple first tier NHL awards (Hart, Ross, Smythe…).  Datsyuk has won 2nd tier awards (Selke, Byng ...).

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/23/13 at 06:59 AM ET

Paul's avatar

redxblack, I tried to email you but it kicked-back, can you email me and I will answer your question.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 04/23/13 at 07:21 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Hell, I’ll throw my 2cents in on the Datsyuk argument: If there’s conversations that Eric Lindros should be a HOFer than Datsyuk better damn well get in some day.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/23/13 at 07:25 AM ET

shanetx's avatar

Datsyuk is caught in an awkward place between sustained top tier (joe Thornton and St. Louis) and short term brilliance (Crosby, Malkin).  I can understand that even if I don’t agree with the assessment.  Honestly, I feel like its a stance that can only be arrived at if you don’t watch hockey. 

That said, Gonchar was merely really good for a long time.  If he’s in the discussion, guys like Zubov have to be as well.  Coincidentally, he falls two points behind Gonchar but he was in a whole other tier in terms of defensive prowess and ability to play a two way game.  A serious case can be made that he was the forth best defenseman of the lidstrom-pronger-neidermayer dominated 00-09 range (where Chara and Weber take over).

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 04/23/13 at 08:27 AM ET

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I’m not too bothered by Crosby and Malkin, but I do wonder if your inclusion of Ovechkin was too soon.  If your point is that any player on this list could retire tomorrow and eventually be inducted into the HoF based on their career to date, I’m not sure that he qualifies.  He was certainly on that trajectory until the last few seasons.  But if Datsyuk and Ovechkin both retired tomorrow, I suspect Datsyuk’s HoF odds might be higher, despite his lack of MVP awards.

Posted by heyheyhockeytown on 04/23/13 at 09:06 AM ET

shanetx's avatar

Ovie has two Harts, two Pearsons, two Richards (about to be three), one Lindsay (formerly Pearson), a Calder, an Art Ross.  He’s a lock unless he royally messes up from here out.  In fact, prior to this season I would have said the best thing that could happen to his hall of fame chances might be an early retirement but he seems to have corrected the nosedive he was in.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 04/23/13 at 09:44 AM ET

TKShreve's avatar

I would say the same kind of reasoning went into Mike Green receiving the Norris as did Datsyuk not be HoF worthy. If it’s all points, then WTF cares?

Datsyuk has so many intangibles it’s hard to fathom unless you watch him on a nightly basis. And I do. And I have. And he’s close to the only reason I still need to tune in every game to see what he does next.

Posted by TKShreve from East Uptown on 04/23/13 at 10:04 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Mike Green never won the Norris.  Do you have a point that is fact-based?

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/23/13 at 10:06 AM ET

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Ovie has two Harts, two Pearsons, two Richards (about to be three), one Lindsay (formerly Pearson), a Calder, an Art Ross.  He’s a lock unless he royally messes up from here out.  In fact, prior to this season I would have said the best thing that could happen to his hall of fame chances might be an early retirement but he seems to have corrected the nosedive he was in.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 04/23/13 at 10:44 AM ET

Wow, I obviously have not been paying enough attention to non-Wings-related player stats this season; I knew Ovie was coming on strong after a slow-ish start, but hadn’t realized he was leading in scoring.  Particularly bad given that I live in DC.  I stand corrected.

Posted by heyheyhockeytown on 04/23/13 at 10:24 AM ET

LiteWork's avatar

Gonchar should not make the HOF. Career totals are a poor way to judge a players career. Why should Gonchar make the Hall when he was terrible defensively for most of his career?

Posted by LiteWork on 04/23/13 at 12:28 PM ET

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This is a joke. Any reputable hockey mind would agree that Datsyuk is a 1st ballot guy.

Posted by letsmakeit12 on 04/23/13 at 12:42 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Congratulations to LiteWork on winning the dumb comment of the day award

Career totals are a poor way to judge a players career.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/23/13 at 12:49 PM ET

LiteWork's avatar

This is a joke. Any reputable hockey mind would agree that Datsyuk is a 1st ballot guy.

Posted by letsmakeit12 on 04/23/13 at 01:42 PM ET

Im not sure if Datsyuk is a first ballot guy (not like that means anything anymore) but I think he deserves it. Its really weird to see someone advocating for Gonchar’s induction and omitting Daytsuk.

Posted by LiteWork on 04/23/13 at 12:49 PM ET

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I brought up Theodore because of you using the Hart as an argument to why Crosby’s and Malkin’s offensive numbers matter and Datsyuk’s don’t even though he’s played a substantial number of games more than both of them.

You say Datsyuk has to get to Iginla’s and Thorton’s games played level for his points to matter, completely ignoring the fact that Datsyuk started late in the NHL and is older than Thorton and only a year younger than Iginla.  So I suppose Datsyuk has to keep up his points per game into his 40’s for him to get in the Hall based on your criteria?

Crosby is a generational talent.  Malkin is a generational offensive talent.  But if you can’t see that Datsyuk is a generational defensive talent, stick handling talent, and passing talent, then you just don’t watch him play.  On top of that his points per game which for some reason you say doesn’t matter because he hasn’t played long enough, ranks him around 70th all time.  Datsyuk does things on the ice no one else does, no one else has ever done.

Posted by Valek from Chicago on 04/23/13 at 12:57 PM ET

Dakkster's avatar

Same old BS from PSH.

How about this: Over the last three or four years, whenever players has asked what forward is the hardest to play against, the answer is pretty much always Datsyuk.

No, PSH, HHOF inductions can’t just be whittled down to numbers. Datsyuk has been one of the premier players in the league for years. Most entertaining dangler who is also a winner AND he has the numbers. You are, as always, plain wrong.

Posted by Dakkster from Southern Sweden on 04/23/13 at 01:15 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Being hard to play against is not the same thing as being a Hall of Famer.  I notice your equivocation.

Datsyuk is one of the closer players to making my Hall of Fame list who is not currently there.  That much should be obvious to everyone.  If his career went south tomorrow, I wouldn’t induct him so he isn’t there yet.  He has no major awards (but several second tier awards).  He does not have significant career totals - partly its due to a low scoring era with plenty of lockouts - but others in the same era have outscored him and won’t go to the Hall of Fame.  He is a top defensive forward - that is rarely a qualification for the Hall of Fame.  Tha majority of Selke Trophy winners in history are not in the Hall of Fame.  Perhaps the only one there who is best known for winning the Selke who is in the Hall is Bob Gainey who basically had the award created for him and would have won it a couple times more if it existed earlier and has a Conn Smythe Trophy as well.  Datsyuk doesn’t have the final jewel in his crown yet and he won’t my Hall of Fame list until he does.

It is amazing how many panties got in a bunch because of a post that wants to discuss Sergei Gonchar (a defenceman with more career points than Datsyuk!) and at no point even says the word Datsyuk in it.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/23/13 at 01:28 PM ET

Dakkster's avatar

It is amazing how many panties got in a bunch because of a post that wants to discuss Sergei Gonchar (a defenceman with more career points than Datsyuk!) and at no point even says the word Datsyuk in it.

Because you always manage to be utterly and completely wrong about everything that has to do with hockey?

Posted by Dakkster from Southern Sweden on 04/23/13 at 01:31 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Dakkster if you cannot actually discuss hockey instead of hurling insults GO AWAY

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/23/13 at 01:35 PM ET

Dakkster's avatar

Hold on… so if a player is the hardest to defend against, proclaimed by actual NHL defensemen, that isn’t an indication of his offensive and scoring prowess? How do you make that kind of logical somersault? Wow…

Posted by Dakkster from Southern Sweden on 04/23/13 at 01:36 PM ET

Dakkster's avatar

If you can’t write about hockey without leaving reality and simple facts that are apparent to anyone reading about or watching hockey on a regular basis GO AWAY

Posted by Dakkster from Southern Sweden on 04/23/13 at 01:37 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

The claim wasn’t that he is hardest to defend against.  It was that he is hardest to play against.  More equivocation.

People can be hard to play against for many reasons.  Hockey ability is only one.  Having a successful but unusual style is a second.  Zdeno Chara finished second in that poll (at least the 2011/12 one) and he did so largely for being so big.  Being big is not a reason to go to the Hall of Fame.  A poll like htis has some value but it certainly is not a Hall of Fame argumenet in and of itself.  It isn’t even a claim that the players thought Datsyuk is the best player in the game.  That is your equivocation.

In this case I imagine Datsyuk is picked because he is a sneaky player who is good at taking away the puck and making you look bad.  That has value but it is not a Hall of Fame case.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/23/13 at 01:44 PM ET

LiteWork's avatar

“These are Phil Housley, who as the fourth highest scoring defenceman ever should get there someday (it is an oversight that he hasn’t been inducted yet),”

I cant believe I missed this. How is Housley’s omission an oversight? The HOF would lose all credibility if Housley was inducted.  Anyways you need to stop with this career totals BS.  Gonchar is not making the HOF. Not without a Norris/1st Team AS selection.  I think Larry Murphy and Serge Savard are the only post-expansion guys in the HHOF without having a 1st Team AS nod. And both were much better players than Gonchar. Zubov was better than Gonchar and I dont he deserves to be inducted. Im not sure if Gonchar is much better than Eric Desjardins who actually played defense.

Posted by LiteWork on 04/23/13 at 01:47 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

There’s no way you ACTUALLY think the only reason Chara is difficult to play against is his size, do you?

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 04/23/13 at 01:50 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

I think if Chara was average sized for an NHLer he would not have finished in the top 10 in the player voting.  But no I dont think his size is the only reason people voted for him.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/23/13 at 01:54 PM ET

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I think it should be clear that Crosby and Malkin are on another level than Datsyuk.  They are the kind of generational talent that can make a serious claim to having been the best player in the NHL at one point in time

I think it’s clear they’re on another level offensively than Datsyuk, just as I think it’s clear Datsyuk is on another level defensively than those two.  On your best player in the NHL at one point arguement, the 08-09 season when Datsyuk won the Selke and came in 3rd in the Hart voting doesn’t give him some claim to being the best in the NHL that year?

Posted by Valek from Chicago on 04/23/13 at 02:13 PM ET

LiteWork's avatar

Hell, I’ll throw my 2cents in on the Datsyuk argument: If there’s conversations that Eric Lindros should be a HOFer than Datsyuk better damn well get in some day.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/23/13 at 08:25 AM ET

Both Lindros and Datsyuk are more deserving of the HHOF than the likes of Joe Nieuwendyk, Joe Mullen, Ciccarelli, Gartner etc.

Its quite scary when people in the media are advocating for the inductions of Dave Andreychuk and Phil Housley.

Posted by LiteWork on 04/23/13 at 02:16 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

On your best player in the NHL at one point arguement, the 08-09 season when Datsyuk won the Selke and came in 3rd in the Hart voting doesn’t give him some claim to being the best in the NHL that year?

It gives him a good claim to being 3rd best in the league that year.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/23/13 at 02:23 PM ET

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a defenceman with more career points than Datsyuk!

Yes, he has 32 more points than Datsyuk in 399 more games.  Good, fantastic, relevant point.

Dakkster if you cannot actually discuss hockey instead of hurling insults GO AWAY

Actually, he was saying you were in discussions about hockey.  How is that hurling insults?

The claim wasn’t that he is hardest to defend against.  It was that he is hardest to play against.

It’s funny how you don’t realize you just strengthened Dakkster’s comment.  You’re right, he’s not the hardest to defend against, he’s the hardest to play against, which is a testamet to both his offensive and defensive talents.

Zdeno Chara finished second in that poll (at least the 2011/12 one) and he did so largely for being so big.

That’s a good point about Zdeno Chara and it has absolutely nothing to do with Datsyuk because Datsyuk isn’t so big.  He’s a small guy who is plays clean (to the point that, four times, he has been named the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability”) and relies solely on his skills.

He is one of the best two way players in the world, is nearly a point per game player (which is completely relevant because it is the only way to compare playeers with significantly different numbers of games played) who is behind only Wayne Gretzky in the modern era for most Byngs and behind only Gainey is most Selkes, has two Stanley Cups, four All-Star appointments and in player polls was named “Smartest Player, Most Difficult to Play Against, Hardest to Take the Puck From (x2), Most Difficult to Stop, Cleanest Player (x2), and Toughest Forward to Play Against”.

Posted by Garth on 04/23/13 at 02:27 PM ET

SK77's avatar

Congratulations to LiteWork on winning the dumb comment of the day award

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/23/13 at 01:49 PM ET

Dakkster if you cannot actually discuss hockey instead of hurling insults GO AWAY

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 04/23/13 at 02:35 PM ET

Tell me more.

Posted by SK77 on 04/23/13 at 02:33 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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