Brian Burke pulled off one of the most important deals in National Hockey League history when he wheeled and dealed at the 1999 NHL Draft, landing both Daniel and Henrik Sedin with the Vancouver Canucks. In the decades that followed, the Sedins did something equally impressive: they lived up to their immense pre-draft hype.
With the legendary Swedish twins hanging up their skates at the end of the 2017-18 season, we’ve put together a small panel of three The Hockey Writers veterans to assess their Hockey Hall of Fame credentials: Ryan Pike (based in Calgary and covering the Flames), Shane Sander (based in Vancouver and covering the Edmonton Oilers), and Brandon Share-Cohen (based in Montreal and covering the league at large).
Does the Lack of Playoff Success Hurt the Sedins’ Hall of Fame Candidacy?
Ryan: I think it might to a minor extent, in the sense that if it’s a debate between players with comparable resumes having a Cup ring likely helps. But I think the Sedins have the longevity, the awards and the international accolades that a lack of long playoff runs probably won’t hinder them much. In this era, an Olympic gold medal means almost as much as a Stanley Cup ring, anyway.
Shane: No – Look at the list of names that haven’t had much playoff success that have been inducted into the HHOF. Peter Stastny, Marcel Dionne, Gilbert Perreault, Jean Ratelle, Adam Oates, and Pat Lafontaine are just a few names that come to mind. The precedence is there to nullify that argument. The Sedins also went on a magical ride in 2011 and came one win away from winning the first Stanley Cup in Canucks history. Barring an injury to Dan Hamhuis, a breakdown by Roberto Luongo, and some added offense from the supporting cast in the Stanley Cup Final, and the Sedin twins would each be wearing a ring.
Brandon: I think playoff success is an important part of any player’s career. That said, I also think that it’s hard to ignore the regular season accolades that the Sedin Twins have accumulated over the years in Vancouver. I think the lack of success could have an impact to some degree, but not enough to deter a voter from signing off on a Hall of Fame vote.
What Sedin Accomplishment, Individual or Collective, Is the Most Impressive?
Ryan: Honestly, to me the most impressive thing is that the Sedins were able to really play their style of game for two decades without having to alter it much – either due to injury, age or the league adapting to them. Player development is rarely in a straight line, and often players need to make adjustments and cut corners to stay effective or relevant. But as recently as Thursday night’s game against Arizona, the Sedins simply did things only they could do and did so in a way that made it look effortless. They have had great numbers for years, but the most amazing thing about watching them live over the past several seasons is seeing their show (so to speak).
Shane: There’s a few that stand out that deserve mentioning. To finish first in NHL scoring and win the Art Ross Trophy is an accomplishment in itself. Since the first time it was handed out at the end of the 1947-48 season, only 29 players in NHL history have ever won the award. The NHL has never had a pair of brothers win it, let alone in back to back years until the Sedin’s did that in 2010 and 2011. Both were also nominated for the Hart Trophy in those years. Henrik won, and Daniel narrowly lost out to Corey Perry in 2011. Both will also finish their careers with more than 1,000 points. That’s an impressive resume for Henrik and Daniel.
Brandon: The most impressive accomplishment from the Twins for me is the fact that they managed to play in over 1,300 games each and record over 1,000 assists each. Hitting the 1,000 game mark and the 1,000 point mark are certainly both milestones that players tend to keep an eye on. Doing so as twins on the same team around the same time as each other just adds another layer. Adding another 300 games each to that total and you have a cool statistic that when unraveled, can tell a pretty cool tale of their careers.
The Sedins were terror on ice for nearly two decades. Doubt we ever see a duo like that again.
— Steve Dangle Glynn (@Steve_Dangle) April 6, 2018
Finally, Are the Sedins Both Hall of Fame Bound? (And If So, Are They First Ballot Contenders or Do They Wait a Bit?)
Ryan: The only way I can see them not going in on their first ballot is if the crop of Hall of Fame eligible players is too crowded. They deserve to go in together and the Hall’s selection committee are savvy enough to know that. They have incredible resumes and have made a massive positive impact on the sport. They’re shoo-ins.
Shane: There’s an interesting list of players that are still waiting for their name to be called to the HHOF. Martin Brodeur, Martin St. Louis, Daniel Alfredsson, Jeremy Roenick, Alexander Mogilny and Keith Tkachuk are some of those players. By the time the Sedin’s are eligible for the HHOF, some of those names will be in. So is it likely the Sedin’s are first-ballot HHOF players? Highly probable. If they do wait, it might be a year. It truly is hard to ignore their body of work.
Brandon: Both Sedin twins are undoubtedly going to be members of the Hockey Hall of Fame in my mind. They’ve done enough statistically, in the locker room and within the community to earn themselves the honors of being enshrined. With that being said, it would be hard to imagine them getting inducted individually and not in the same year. For that reason, the first-ballot candidacy is tricky. It’ll come down to who else is in direct competition with them each and every year. In short – yes, both will make the Hall of Fame. Maybe on their first ballot simply because they entered the league as a package deal, exited the league as a package deal and will enter the Hall as a package deal.