Al Iafrate - Defence - 1984/85-1993/94, 1996/97-1997/98
Drafted in the first round, fourth round, in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Iafrate debuted during the 1984/85 season. Iafrate scored 463 points (152G, 311A) in 799 games, as well as 35 points (19G, 16A) in 71 playoff games, playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs (1984/85-partway through 1990/91), Washington Capitals (partway through 1990/91-partway through 1993/94), Boston Bruins (part of 1993/94), and San Jose Sharks (1996/97-1997/98).
Iafrate earned Second Team All-Star honours in 1993, and played in four All-Star Games, representing Toronto in 1988 and 1990 and Washington in 1993 and 1994.
Once he broke out in his fourth season, Iafrate topped 50 points twice and 60 once, as well as 20 goals twice for the Leafs before moving onto the Capitals’ high-scoring blueline in the early 90s, where he really established his legend. While he didn’t quite reach the heights of teammate Kevin Hatcher, he had three more 50-point seasons before the lockout, including career-highs of 25 goals and 66 points in 1993, helping that season’s Capitals set a standing NHL record for goals scored by defencemen with 94. During this stint in Washington, Iafrate set the record for the hardest shot at 105.2 miles per hour, a record only topped by Zdeno Chara’s 2009 and 2012 shots. He also played six games for Team USA at the 1984 Olympics. While he wound up missing the entire 1995 and 1996 seasons and playing 59 out of 184 games between the 1997 and 1998 seasons before retiring, his big-scoring production during his peak made him very memorable.
Arturs Irbe - Goaltender - 1991/92-2003/04
Drafted in the tenth round, 196th overall, in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota North Stars, Irbe debuted during the 1991/92 season. Irbe posted a 218-236-79 record, 0.899 Save%, 2.83 GAA, and 33 shutouts, in 568 games, as well as a 23-27 record, 0.902 Save%, 2.86 GAA, and one shutout in 51 playoff games, for the San Jose Sharks (1991/92-1995/96), Dallas Stars (1996/97), Vancouver Canucks (1997/98), and Carolina Hurricanes (1998/99-2003/04).
Irbe played in two All-Star Games, representing San Jose in 1994 and Carolina in 1999. Internationally, he represented Latvia, winning Gold with the Soviet Union at the 1989 and 1990 World Championships.
Looking at pictures of Irbe, it doesn’t look like he’d have a great deal of success at the NHL level. He was short, never used new equipment, and was a poor puckhandler, especially later in his career after suffering nerve damage in his hand. Despite this, he had himself a pretty solid career. In only his third season of NHL play, he played 74 games and backstopped the Sharks to not only their first playoff appearance, but a first-round upset of the burgeoning powerhouse that was the Detroit Red Wings, reaching the second round in back-to-back seasons. After weak 1996, 1997, and 1998 seasons with San Jose, Dallas, and Vancouver, respectively, he joined the Hurricanes and had himself another set of strong seasons, returning to the playoffs in 1999, 2001, and 2002 seasons, culminating in a Stanley Cup Final against the eventual champion Detroit Red Wings. He played two more seasons in the NHL, spending time in the minors before spending a few seasons in Europe and retiring. Irbe represented Latvia in both the 2002 and 2006 Olympics, and was the flagbearer for them in the latter year.
Craig Janney - Centre - 1987-88-1998/99
Drafted in the first round, 13th overall, in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft, Janney debuted during the 1987/88 season. Janney scored 751 points (188G, 563A) in 760 games, as well as 110 points (24G, 86A) in 120 playoff games, for the Boston Bruins (1987/88-partway through 1991/92), St. Louis Blues (partway through 1991/92-partway through 1994/95), San Jose Sharks (partway through 1994/95-partway through 1995/96), Winnipeg Jets and Phoenix Coyotes (partway through 1995/96-1997/98), Tampa Bay Lightning (part of 1998/99), and New York Islanders (part of 1998/99).
Internationally, Janney represented the United States, winning Bronze at the 1986 World Juniors, Second at the 1991 Canada Cup.
Janney doesn’t stand out as Hall of Fame material at first glance. He never won a Stanley Cup, won no major awards, and never even played in an All-Star Game. That is most likely legitimately enough to keep Janney, who also didn’t even get to the 800-point mark in his career, out of the Hall. Not helping matters is that he was traded at pretty much the zenith of his career and then immediately traded back. But there is a solid career there. While he only had 751 points on his career, he did accomplish that in 760 games, and could conceivably achieved a stronger career total had his career not ended as early as it did due to injuries. He had 16 points in 15 games to close the 1987/88 season and had 62 points in 62 games as a rookie, and followed that up with seasons of 62 points in 55 games, a 90-point pace, and 92 points in 77 games, a 96-point pace. In 1991/92, the year he was traded to St. Louis for Adam Oates, he totalled 87 points in 78 games, an 89-point pace. Prior to the lockout, Janney would post seasons of 106 points in 86 games, and 84 points in 69 games, a 102-point pace. After the lockout, he had 27 points in 35 games, a 37-point pace in the full lockout-shortened 48-game season and 63-point pace in a full 82-game season, the year St. Louis traded him to San Jose, followed by 82 points in 84 games the year San Jose traded him to Winnipeg. He did slow down in his later years, but in all, had he played every possible game from his NHL debut to his retirement, he would have 871 points in 881 games, a more respectable total in line with other players on the list. While he didn’t win a Stanley Cup, he had his fair share of playoff success, reaching the Cup Final in his pre-rookie season and scoring 16 points in 23 games and 22 points in 18 games in Boston’s two Cup Final losses to Edmonton. In all, he scored 110 points in his 120 playoff games, 1988 and his playoff runs from 1995 to 1998 being the seasons he didn’t score at least as many points as he did games.
Doug Jarvis - Centre - 1975/76-1987/88
Drafted in the second round, 24th overall, in the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft by the Montreal Canadiens, Jarvis debuted during the 1975/76 season. Jarvis scored 403 points (139G, 264A) in 964 games, as well as 41 points (14G, 27A) in 105 playoff games, for the Montreal Canadiens (1975/76-1981/82), Washington Capitals (1982/83-partway through 1985/86), and Hartford Whalers (partway through 1985/86-1987/88).
Jarvis won the Stanley Cup in 1976, 1977, 1978, and 1979 with the Montreal Canadiens. He won the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward in 1984 and the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship, perseverance, and dedication to hockey in 1987. Internationally, he represented Canada, winning Bronze at the 1974 World Juniors.
Jarvis is another player whose numbers clearly aren’t the calibre of a Hall of Fame candidate. His case is certainly helped by the fact that he won the Selke during a period when it went to recognized defensive specialists, and he was a part of the Habs’ late 70s dynasty, but his scoring numbers themselves are lacking, with career highs of 20 goals and 48 points, both in 1982. What gets Jarvis here is his record. With 964 consecutive games played, Jarvis reigns as the NHL’s all-time iron man. While it would seem that this kind of record would be uniquely vulnerable to being overtaken, not beholden to scoring levels or time on ice, breaking the record has been far from easy. With recent challengers either messing up with a suspension like Andrew Cogliano (remember when Glenn Healy argued on TV against the suspension because of the iron man record? the dope) or have their next healthy scratch hanging over them like the Sword of Damocles like Keith Yandle, Jarvis’ record seems safe, and as long as it stands, it is a leg for Jarvis to stand on for Hall induction. He earned his first healthy scratch after playing the first two of the Hartford Whalers’ 1987/88 season and would never play another NHL game.
Mark Johnson - Right Wing - 1979/80-1989/90
Drafted in the fourth round, 66th overall, in the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Johnson debuted during the 1979/80 season. He scored 508 points (203G, 305A) in 669 games, as well as 28 points (16G, 12A) in 37 playoff games, for the Pittsburgh Penguins (1979/80-partway through 1981/82), Minnesota North Stars (part of 1981/82), Hartford Whalers (1982/83-partway through 1984/85), St. Louis Blues (part of 1984/85), and New Jersey Devils (1985/86-1989/90).
Johnson played in one All-Star Game, representing Hartford in 1984. Internationally, he represented the United States, winning Gold at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.
Johnson’s career was pretty short, only lasting a decade, but he made a major impact. He played for the United States at the 1980 Olympics, of course taking part in the Miracle On Ice. The leader of the American team in points at the tournament wasn’t Neal Broten or Dave Christian, but Johnson, whose 11 points in seven games tied him for ninth with Hall-of-Famer Sergei Makarov. Johnson was third behind Broten and Christian in NHL scoring by Miracle On Ice alumni.
Tomas Jonsson - Defence - 1981/82-1988/89
Drafted in the second round, 25th overall, in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders, Jonsson debuted during the 1981/82 season. Jonsson has 344 points (85G, 259A) in 552 games, as well as 37 points (11G, 26A) in 80 playoff games, playing for the New York Islanders (1981/82-partway through 1988/89), and Edmonton Oilers (part of 1988/89).
Jonsson won the Stanley Cup in 1982 and 1983 with the New York Islanders. Internationally, he represented Sweden, winning Bronze at the 1979 and 1980 World Juniors, 1979 World Championships, and 1980 Lake Placid Olympics; Silver at the 1978 World Juniors, 1981, 1986, 1990, and 1995 World Championships; and Gold at the 1991 World Championships and 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.
Jonsson started his NHL career right in the midst of the Islanders’ dynasty years, making a major impact right away and lasting with them for almost the whole rest of the 80s. His NHL career was essentially the middle part of a successful career spent mostly in Sweden, but he managed to win two Stanley Cups with the Isles, reach 50 points once and 40 five other times, and also frequently represented Sweden in international competitions before and after his NHL tenure. His international accomplishments made him one of the first three members of the Triple Gold Club with his Gold at the 1994 Olympics, and he has since been inducted into the IIHF Hall Of Fame. It could be argued that his candidacy for induction could be reexamined with several players in recent years getting into the Hall with strong international careers who played only a handful of NHL seasons, especially considering Jonsson specifically played in eight NHL seasons and won two Cups.
Curtis Joseph - Goaltender - 1989/90-2008/09
Signed as an undrafted free agent in 1989 by the St. Louis Blues, Joseph debuted during the 1989/90 season. Joseph posted a 454-352-90-6 record, 0.906 Save%, 2.79 GAA, and 51 shutouts, as well as a 63-66 record, 0.917 Save%, 2.45 GAA, and 16 shutouts in 132 playoff games, playing for the St. Louis Blues (1989/90-1994/95), Edmonton Oilers (1995/96-1997/98), Toronto Maple Leafs (1998/99-2001/02, 2008/09), Detroit Red Wings (2002/03-2003/04), Phoenix Coyotes (2005/06-2006/07), and Calgary Flames (2007/08).
Joseph won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2000 for his leadership and humanitarian contribution. He played in two All-Star Games, representing St. Louis in 1994 and Toronto in 2000. Internationally, he represented Canada, placing second at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and winning Silver at the 1996 World Championships, and Gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
Joseph is a bit of a difficult case for the Hall. With two All-Star appearances and no Cups or major awards (no the King Clancy isn’t really a major award), there isn’t much in terms of his overall trophy case to justify his induction. We have to go with his stats. During his career, he is 40th in save percentage among goaltenders with at least 100 minutes played. He is also second all-time in wins by a goaltender who never won a Stanley Cup, second only to Roberto Luongo. He was one of the NHL’s top goaltenders during his career, and while that is more abstract than the awards and production most elite players can point to in their favour, Joseph is a notable omission from the Hall.
Tomas Kaberle - Defence - 1998/99-2012/13
Drafted in the eighth round, 204th overall, in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Kaberle debuted during the 1998/99 season. Kaberle scored 563 points (87G, 476A) in 984 games, as well as 39 points (6G, 33A) in 102 playoff games, for the Toronto Maple Leafs (1998/99-partway through 2010/11), Boston Bruins (part of 2010/11), Carolina Hurricanes (part of 2011/12), and Montreal Canadiens (partway through 2011/12-2012/13).
Kaberle won the Stanley Cup in 2011 with the Boston Bruins. He played in four All-Star Games, representing Toronto in 2002, 2007, 2008, and 2009. Internationally, he represented the Czech Republic, winning Bronze at the 2006 Turin Olympics, Silver at the 2006 World Championships, and Gold at the 2005 World Championships.
Kaberle does have a pretty decent case for induction. While his on-ice effectiveness was beginning to dwindle at the time, with only 82 out of a possible 130 games across two final NHL seasons among five remaining pro seasons, he did manage to win a Stanley Cup in 2011. Prior to joining Boston, he was a longtime star with the Leafs, scoring at an 82-game pace of at least 30 points in each season from 1998/99 through 2010/11. He reached 40 points in all of those seasons except 1999, 2002 (a 46-point pace), 2004, and 2009 (a 45-point pace). Of those, he reached 50 points twice, peaking with 67 points in 2006. Those late 2000s seasons were the best of his career, despite the Leafs’ playoff drought and his poor reputation among the “Muskoka Five,” five players who refused to waive no-move clauses in 2008 so the Leafs could acquire assets, only to leave not long after for less or no value. With 520 points as a Leaf, he is second only to Leafs legend and Hall-of-Famer Borje Salming in defenceman points.
Valeri Kamensky - Left Wing - 1991/92-2001/02
Drafted in the seventh round, 129th overall, in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft by the Quebec Nordiques, Kamensky debuted during the 1991/92 season. Kamensky scored 501 points (200G, 301A) in 637 games, as well as 60 points (25G, 35A) in 65 playoff games, for the Quebec Nordiques and Colorado Avalanche (1991/92-1998/99), New York Rangers (1999/00-2000/01), Dallas Stars (part of 2001/02), and New Jersey Devils (part of 2001/02).
Kamensky won the Stanley Cup in 1996 with the Colorado Avalanche. He played in one All-Star Game, representing Colorado in 1998. Internationally, he represented Russia, winning Bronze at the 1985 World Juniors and 1991 World Championships with the Soviet Union; second place with the Soviet Union at the 1987 Canada Cup; Silver at the 1987 World Championships with the Soviet Union and the 1998 Nagano Olympics; and Gold at the 1986 World Juniors, the 1986, 1989, and 1990 World Championships, and the 1988 Calgary Olympics.
I have decided to include the linemates of both Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic with the 1996 Avalanche on this list, as they have credentials. Kamensky played on the line with Forsberg during their shared time with the organization, and became a Triple Gold Club member with his Stanley Cup win in 1996. His finest years were no doubt with the Nordiques and Avalanche franchise, with 414 points in 460 games, an 82-game pace of 74 points. He scored some of the most memorable goals in the Avalanche’s history, including the first after their relocation in 1995, and a goal during the 1996/97 season taking a pass and spinning through midair as he scored, subsequently appearing in the opening FMV for EA Sports’ NHL 98. His production tapered off after he left Colorado in 1999, but his 1980s and 1990s were filled with achievement in both the International and NHL games, and he deserves to be inducted for that.
Alexei Kasatonov - Defence - 1989/90-1995/96
Drafted in the 12th round, 225th overall, of the 1983 NHL Entry Draft by the New Jersey Devils, Kasatanov debuted during the 1989/90 season. Kasatanov scored 160 points (38G, 122A) in 383 games, as well as 11 points (4G, 7A) in 33 games, playing for the New Jersey Devils (1989/90-1992/93), Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (part of 1993/94), St. Louis Blues (part of 1993/94), and Boston Bruins (1994/95-1995/96).
Kasatonov played in one All-Star Game, representing Anaheim in 1994. Internationally, he represented the Soviet Union, winning Bronze at the 1985, 1987, and 1991 World Championships; second place at the 1987 Canada Cup and Silver at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics; and the 1981 Canada Cup and Gold at the 1978 and 1979 World Juniors, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, and 1989 World Championships, and 1984 Sarajevo and 1988 Calgary Olympics.
Kasatonov seems to be like a blueline version of Sergei Makarov in the way his career played out. A longtime star for the Soviet team, with a small horde of Olympic and World Championship medals, earning him a spot in the IIHF Hall of Fame in recent years, with an NHL career spanning the 1989/90 through 1994/95 seasons, and then a small handful of games in one of the seasons following 1994/95. For Kasatonov, he twice reached the 40-point mark with the Devils before being claimed in the 1993 expansion draft by the Mighty Ducks, repping them as their first All-Star. Like Makarov, his own NHL career doesn’t stand out as great, in fact it looks even worse without any major awards, but combined with is stellar International track record, the argument in favour of his induction improves.
Tim Kerr - Right Wing - 1980/81-1992/93
Signed as an undrafted free agent in 1980 by the Philadelphia Flyers, Kerr debuted during the 1980/81 season. Kerr scored 674 points (370G, 304A) in 655 games, as well as 71 points (40G, 31A) in 81 playoff games, for the Philadelphia Flyers (1980/81-1990/91), New York Rangers (1991/92), and Hartford Whalers (1992/93).
Kerr won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship, perseverance, and dedication to hockey in 1989. He earned Second-Team All-Star honours in 1987, and played in three All-Star Games in 1984, 1985, and 1986.
Kerr was one of the Philadelphia Flyers’ scoring stars during the 1980s, especially in the early part of the decade. After scoring 54 goals and 115 points across his first three seasons, he had seasons of 54 goals and 93 points, 54 goals and 98 points, 58 goals and 84 points, and 58 goals and 95 points. He came back after missing most of 1987/88, he came back with another 48 goals and 88 points. It was quite the run of success, as he finished the 1985, 1987, and 1989 seasons with an 80-game pace of 58 goals and 106 points, 62 goals and 101 points, and 56 goals and 102 points, respectively. In that time, he also led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1985 and 1987, leading them in scoring both times. As the 90s began, his career winded down. He had solid seasons of 48 points in 40 games and 24 points in 27 games, but his injury issues resulted in him being exposed in the 1991 Expansion Draft and claimed by the San Jose Sharks. He scored 18 points in 32 games for the Rangers and six points in 22 games for Hartford before being forced to retire, his Rangers stint two years off of their Cup win.
Nikolai Khabibulin - Goaltender - 1994/95-1998/99, 2000/01-2013/14
Drafted in the ninth round, 204th overall, in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft by the Winnipeg Jets, Khabibulin debuted during the 1994/95 season. Khabibulin posted a 333-334-58-39 record, 0.907 Save%, 2.72 GAA, and 46 shutouts in 799 games, as well as a 39-31 record, 0.917 Save%, 2.40 GAA, and six shutouts in 72 playoff games, for the Winnipeg Jets and Phoenix Coyotes (1994/95-1998/99), Tampa Bay Lightning (2000/01-2003/04), Chicago Blackhawks (2005/06-2008/09, 2013/14), and Edmonton Oilers (2009/10-2012/13).
Khabibulin won the Stanley Cup in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He played in four All-Star Games, representing Phoenix in 1998 and 1999 and Tampa Bay in 2002 and 2003. Internationally, he represented Russia, winning Bronze at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and Gold at the 1992 World Juniors with the CIS and the 1992 Albertville Olympics.
Khabibulin entered the NHL during the 1994/95 season and by the next season he had emerged as a top goaltender. During the 1995/96 season, the last for the Jets, he helped them be the only to win more than win against that season’s edition of perennial juggernaut Detroit, and also got them two wins in the playoffs. He also helped them reach the playoffs in the subsequent seasons, but did fail to get past the first round before a contract dispute resulted in him spending the 1999/00 season in the minors and playing only two games during 2000/01, played after his trade to Tampa Bay. While he was only with the Lightning for a short period, he made the most of it. With a solid core of young scorers and capable defencemen, he backstopped them to the second playoff appearance in the franchise’s history in 2003 and then to a Stanley Cup in 2004. While he struggled after the lockout with Chicago, he did wind up helping them get to the Western Conference Final in 2009 before being sidelined with an injury as they fell to (who else?) Detroit. He played a few forgettable years in Edmonton before a return to Chicago was cut short due to injury. It wasn’t the most consistent of careers, but he had a good deal of success.
Miikka Kiprusoff - Goaltender - 2000/01-2012/13
Drafted in the fifth round, 116th overall, in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks, Kiprusoff debued during the 2000/01 season. Kiprusoff posted a 319-213-7-64 record, 0.912 Save%, 2.49 GAA, and 44 shutouts in 623 games, as well as a 25-28 record, 0.921 Save%, 2.32 GAA, and six shutouts in 56 playoff games, for the San Jose Sharks (2000/01-2002/03) and the Calgary Flames (2003/04-2012/13).
Kiprusoff won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender and the William M. Jennings Trophy, awarded to the goaltender(s) who played at the least 25 games for the team that allowed the fewest goals, in 2006. He earned First-Team All-Star honours in 2006 and played in one All-Star Game, representing Calgary in 2007. Internationally, he represented Finland, winning Bronze at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, second place at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, and Silver at the 1999 and 2001 World Championships.
Kiprusoff was a great goaltender during the mid-late 2000s, it’s just a shame he played for Calgary. He did manage to get the Flames to the playoffs each year from 2004 through 2009, even getting the Flames to the Stanley Cup Final in 2004. Problem is the Flames weren’t really a Cup contending team and they never got past the first round after the lockout and didn’t even make the playoffs after 2010. Kiprusoff wound up in Calgary after being traded by San Jose to make way for Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala, but I think Kiprusoff would have won the Stanley Cup, not to mention the Sharks, had they kept Kiprusoff instead. Kiprusoff showed tremendous playoff ability that Nabokov didn’t, while the Sharks were a deeper, more skilled team overall over that time. But as it stands, Kiprusoff’s performances during the 2000s and his international medal count put him in the conversation.
Petr Klima - Left Wing - 1985/86-1996/97, 1998/99
Drafted in the fifth round, 86th overall, in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, Klima debuted during the 1985/86 season. Klima scored 573 points (313G, 260A) in 786 games, as well as 52 points (28G, 24A) in 95 playoff games, for the Detroit Red Wings (1985/86-partway through 1989/90, 1998/99), Edmonton Oilers (partway through 1989/90-1992/93, part of 1996/97), Tampa Bay Lightning (1993/94-1995/96), Los Angeles Kings (part of 1996/97), Pittsburgh Penguins (part of 1996/97).
Klima won the Stanley Cup in 1990 with the Edmonton Oilers. Internationally, he represented Czechoslovakia, winning Bronze at the 1984 World Juniors and Silver at the 1983 World Juniors.
A handful of players are on this list who won at least one Stanley Cup while playing with the Oilers between 1984 and 1990, who didn’t win any other major awards or play in any All-Star Games. These players generally had seasons that would be, in a vacuum, considered All-Star calibre, or perhaps All-Star adjacent. While he didn’t play in the All-Star Game ever, almost al of his seasons between 1985/86 to 1995/96 were good enough to get a player into an All-Star Game. In those seasons, he only failed to reach 30 goals 1989, when he scored at a 39-goal pace; 1992, when he scored at a 29-goal pace; 1994, when he scored at a 31-goal pace; and 1996, when he scored at a 27-goal pace. In terms of points, he reached the 50-point mark in all of those seasons except 1989, a 64-point pace; 1992, a 48-point pace; 1993, a 59-point pace; 1994, a 59-point pace; and 1996, a 64-point pace. Any one of those seasons were good enough for an All-Star appearance except 1991/92 and 1994/95. Add to that he was a Cup winner, and the Hall becomes a consideration in my mind. He is also notable as the first Czechoslovak player after the Stastnys to defect directly from the Eastern Bloc to an NHL team.
Saku Koivu - Centre - 1995/96-2013/14
Drafted in the first round, 21st overall, in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft by the Montral Canadiens, Koivu debuted during the 1995/96 season. Koivu scored 832 points (255G, 577A) in 1124 games, as well as 59 points (18G, 41A) in 79 playoff games, for the Montreal Canadiens (1995/96-2008/09) and the Anaheim Ducks (2009/10-2013/14).
Koivu won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship, perseverance, and dedication to hockey in 2002 and the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership and humanitarian contributions in 2007. He played in one All-Star Game, representing Montreal in 1998. Internationally, he represented Finland, winning Bronze at the 2008 World Championships and at the 1994 Lillehammer, 1998 Nagano, and 2010 Vancouver Olympics; second place at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and Silver at the 1994 and 1999 World Championships and 2006 Turin OIympics; and Gold at the 1995 World Championships.
Koivu is another player who I placed on this list for being iconic to the team he spent the bulk of his career to a great degree, the team being obviously the Canadiens. While his production doesn’t look great at first glance, but he was a bit underrated as a point producer. In his more underrated seasons with Montreal, he scored 56 points in 50 games, a 92-point pace, in 1996/97, for example. He also scored at a 68-point pace in 1997/98 season, a 56-point pace in 1998/99, a 72-point pace in 1999/00 season, a 71-point pace in 2000/01, 71 points in 2002/03, a 66-point pace in 2003/04, a 71-point pace in 2005/06, a 76-point pace in 2006/07, a 60-point pace in 2007/08, a 63-point pace in 2008/09. Even as late as his first year in Anaheim, he scored at a 60-point pace in 2009/10. True, he didn’t actually score those point totals, due to various injuries, but in the hypothetical situation where he doesn’t miss a single game from his 1995 debut through his 2014 retirement, he finishes with a much more Hall-worthy 1082. The conversation then would be a discussion of whether he’s just a “point compiler.” And of course in the career he did have, he still did eclipse the 800-point mark by a notable margin, and was the first European to captain the Habs, and has the distinction of wearing the “C” when the Habs began celebrating their centennial. While injuries did dull his impact, one absence led to an iconic moment in franchise history when, after missing the first 80 games of the 2001/02 season with cancer, Koivu returned for the final three games of the season. He was among the first active players I considered myself a fan of, and a player whose career I followed at times even before I had the attention span to sit through an actual game, and I was disappointed to realize late in his career that he had never won the Stanley Cup.
Olaf Kolzig - Goaltender - 1989/90, 1992/93-2008/09
Drafted in the first round, 19th overall, in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft by the Washington Capitals, Kolzig debuted during the 1989/90 season. Kolzig posted a 303-297-63-24 record, 0.906 Save%, 2.71 GAA, and 35 shutouts, as well as a 20-24 record, 0.927 Save%, 2.14 GAA, and seven shutouts in 45 playoff games, playing for the Washington Capitals (1989/90, 1992/93-2007/08) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (2008/09).
Kolzig won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender in 2000 and the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership and humanitarian contributions in 2006. He earned First-Team All-Star honours in 2000 and played in two All-Star Games, representing Washington in 1998 and 2000.
In 1992, the NHL held an expansion draft, as a pro sports league does when new teams join its ranks, to build the inaugural rosters of the Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning. Among the rules for the established 21 franchises (the Sharks were exempt coming off their own first season) was that each team had to expose at least one goaltender with NHL experience. With Mike Liut retiring following the 1991/92 season, the Capitals were planning to roll with their established starter Don Beaupre and Jim Hrivnak as their goaltending duo for the 1992/93 season, leaving a 22-year-old German-born netminder with four games of NHL experience from the 1989/90 season as the only option they had to expose at the position for the Lightning to take. The Capitals wound up signing then-40-year-old Bernie Wolfe, a goaltender whose forgettable career ended in 1979, to expose, prompting then-Lightning GM to remark “I didn’t just pay $50 million for Bernie Wolfe. He wasn’t any good when I played against him” and the NHL to block the move. The Capitals signed depth goalie Steve Weeks, exposed him, and then traded him to Ottawa for future considerations. This is all relevant because the goaltender the Capitals went to these ridiculous lengths to shield from the expansion draft was Olaf Kolzig. It paid off, as he did well as 1996 Vezina winner Jim Carey’s backup, before playing well enough in the place of the injured Bill Ranford to become the full-time starter for the 1997/98 season, during which he backstopped the Caps to the Stanley Cup Final. While the Caps would only reach the playoffs four more times during Kolzig’s tenure, in 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2008, the latter of which Kolzig, relegated to backup status over the course of the season, didn’t play in, Kolzig posted strong individual results through his career. He was limited by injuries to eight games with the Lightning during the 2008/09 season and was traded to Toronto before retiring.