This week we’re debating the merits of players who may have been overlooked for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Using the Hall’s criteria of judging a player based on their “playing ability, sportsmanship, character and contributions to his or her team or teams and to the game of hockey in general” we will debate who should be up next for inclusion in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Today, we discuss Dave Andreychuk.
Ranking Dave Andreychuk
- 640 goals (14th all-time)
- 698 assists (53rd all-time)
- 1,338 points (28th all-time)
- 274 power play goals (1st all-time)
- 77 game-winning goals (31st all-time)
- 1,639 games played (6th all-time)
- 43 playoff goals (43rd all-time)
- 97 career playoff points (100th all-time)
- 162 playoff games played (60th all-time)
Why He Should Get In:
Andreychuk is one of the more underrated players who should be at the top of the list for Hockey Hall of Fame inclusion. There’s a sense among some that he was little more than a big body who would set up shop in front of the net and bang home rebounds, but that neglects the impact he actually had on his teams and his ability to forcefully carry the puck into the home plate area. The credentials are in place for Andreychuk to get inducted.
His raw totals are immediately impressive with 640 goals (14th all-time), 1,338 points (28th all-time), 274 power play goals (1st all-time), and a massive 1,639 games played (6th all-time). The latter of which we’ll get to below. His 640 goals are the most among players who are Hall of Fame-eligible and not already in. He also has the second most points among players who are eligible but not inducted and is one of just a handful of players who has scored five goals in a single game.
I give bonus points for the way Andreychuk appealed to our emotions as well. Everyone loves that moment when the likable veteran, in the twilight of their career, hoists the Cup for the first time. (See: Ray Bourque, Kimmo Timonen, et al.) Andreychuk gave us that, hoisting the Cup as the captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second to last season he’d ever play.
How big was this in hockey history? The moment he lifted the cup has been memorialized in a statue outside of Tampa’s Amalie Arena. Guys who get statues aren’t often unworthy of the Hockey Hall of Fame. And it’s not just the Lightning that he’s important to. A couple years after he hoisted the Cup, he was inducted into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame.
He made one World Juniors Championship appearance, scoring six goals and five assists in seven games. He also made a single international appearance for Canada as a pro, playing in the World Championships in 1986. Canada did not medal in either of those appearances.
Why He Shouldn’t Get In:
Some will knock down his raw totals offensively saying that he should be up that high after playing the sixth most games of any player in NHL history. That assessment is backed by his per game scoring rates over his career not measuring up against other Hall of Famers.
The other part of that argument is that Andreychuk was never an elite-level talent, which may be true. Teams didn’t have to game plan for Andreychuk, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t ruin an evening for many teams. He crossed 50 goals twice (once when he was 30), bested 40 goals four times and crossed the 30-goal threshold nine times.
Also working against him is that he has no major individual trophy, was never named to the First or Second All-Star Team, appeared in only two All-Star Games and has no significant international history.
Dave Andreychuk is a tough call. I’m on the fence and maybe give it to him in a weak year, like on the 2016-17 ballot. He’ll be a tough in for the 2017-18 or 2018-19 class and after that who knows what players are eligible. He’s been eligible since 2009 and while it may make sense that he hasn’t been a sure thing in the first couple ballots, he probably deserves to find his way in at some point. He was a class act and his longevity isn’t something that should be used against him, particularly with how effective he managed to be at age 40 leading the Lightning to the Cup.
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Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.