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A Case For the Hall Part 7

The seventh set of names for my case for the Hall series.

Vincent Lecavalier #4 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates.

Vladimir Konstantinov - Defence - 1991/92-1996/97

Drafted in the 11th round, 221st overall, in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, Konstantinov debuted during the 1991/92 season. Konstantinov scored 174 points (47G, 127A) in 446 games, as well as 19 points (5G, 14A) in 82 playoff games, for the Detroit Red Wings (1991/92-1996/97).

Konstantinov won the Stanley Cup in 1997 and 1998 with the Detroit Red Wings. He earned All-Rookie honours in 1992 and Second-Team All-Star honours in 1996. Internationally, he represented the Soviet Union, winning Bronze at the 1991 World Championships and Gold at the 1986 World Juniors and the 1986, 1989, and 1990 World Championships.

Konstantinov’s career was short, but he made a solid impact in that time. While known for his physical style of play. he was also capable of contributing offensively, cracking double-digits in goals in both 1994 and 1996, and hitting the 30-point mark in all but the 1991/92 and lockout-shortened 1994/95 seasons, including a career-high 38 points in 1997, finishing as the runner-up to Brian Leetch for the Norris Trophy. Konstantinov’s career ended with the highest of highs followed soon after by the lowest of lows. 1997 saw his first Stanley Cup win, and the Red Wings’ first in 42 seasons, but only six days later he was in a limo accident that left him with extensive injuries. His name was engraved on the Stanley Cup when the Red Wings defended their championship in 1998, but he would never play again. Perhaps had Konstantinov, recently turned 30 at the time of the accident, been able to continue his career, he would be a more sure-fire Hall-of-Fame candidate, if not inducted by now. As it stands, three members of the Russian Five (Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, and Vyacheslav Fetisov) are in the Hall, so I’ve included the remaining members of that group as well. This past fall, The Hockey News published their Top 100 defencemen of all time special issue, with a closing column specifically listing Konstantinov as no.101 on the list, for what it’s worth.

Detroit Red Wings v Washington Capitals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Alexei Kovalev - Right Wing - 1992/93-2010/11, 2012/13

Drafted in the first round, 15th overall, in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers, Kovalev debuted during the 1992/93 season. Kovalev scored 1029 points (430G, 599A) in 1316 games, as well as 100 points (45G, 55A) in 123 playoff games, for the New York Rangers (1992/93-partway through 1998/99, partway through 2002/03-partway through 2003/04), Pittsburgh Penguins (partway through 1998/99-partway through 2002/03, part of 2010/11), Montreal Canadiens (partway through 2003/04-2008/09), Ottawa Senators (2009/10-partway through 2010/11), and Florida Panthers (2012/13).

Kovalev won the Stanley Cup in 1994 with the New York Rangers. He earned Second-Team All-Star honours in 2008, and played in three All-Star Games, representing Pittsburgh in 2001 and 2003, and Montreal in 2009. Internationally, he represented Russia, winning Bronze at the 2005 World Championships and the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, and Gold at the 1992 World Juniors with the CIS and the 1992 Albertville Olympics with the Unified Team.

Kovalev’s main distinction is that he was one of the first Russian player to win a Stanley Cup. along with Alexander Karpovtsev, Sergei Nemchinov, and Hall-of-Famer Sergei Zubov. When discussing him however, the main sticking point is his reputation for poor effort. He never reached the 60-point mark during either of his stints with the Rangers and was only on pace for it twice. Problem is, that was from 1993 through 1998 and 2003 through 2004. On the other hand, he had considerably more success was with Pittsburgh and Montreal. With him falling out of favour with the Rangers organization, he was traded to the Penguins, but finished with 55 total points while jumping from a 41-point scoring pace prior the trade to a 60-point pace following the trade, finally busting out with 66 points in 1999/00. His best season is, without a doubt, the 2000/01 season, when he scored 44 goals and 95 points. He followed that up with an also-respectable 32 goals and 76 points in 67 games, a 39-goal and 93-point pace. Though he had a strong 37-goal and 77-point finish in 2002/03, the year the Penguins traded him back to the Rangers, in his games prior to the trade, he scored at a 41-goal and 97-point pace, and after he scored at a 34-goal and 44-point pace. He had his second resurgence after the lockout with four solid years in Montreal, finishing 2005/06 with 23 goals and 65 points in 69 games, a 27-goal and 77-point pace. Though his 2006/07 season was weaker, he finished the 2007/08 season with 35 goals and 84 points. His 26 goals and 65 points the following year helped him get into the All-Star Game as one of four Habs voted in as part of that vote’s ballot stuffing. He declined swiftly during the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons, finishing with 49 and 34 points, respectively, before spending a year in the KHL and returing during the 2012/13 season for five points in 14 games for Florida. In my opinion, Kovalev’s Stanley Cup, his milestone status as one of the first bunch of Russians to win, and his years of success in Pittsburgh and Montreal justify a Hall induction. Also, for those interested in NHL video games, the cover of EA Sports’ NHL 95 depicts an action shot taken from inside Kirk MacLean’s goal during the 1994 Stanley Cup Final and the Rangers player sliding on the ice in front of the net is Kovalev.

Alexei Kovalev Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images

Vyacheslav Kozlov - Left Wing - 1991/92-2009/10

Drafted in the third round, 45th overall, in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, Kozlov debuted during the 1991/92 season. Kozlov scored 853 points (356G, 497A) in 1182 games, as well as 88 points (44G, 44A) in 139 playoff games, for the Detroit Red Wings (1991/92-2000/01), Buffalo Sabres (2001/02), and Atlanta Thrashers (2002/03-2009/10).

Kozlov won the Stanley Cup in 1997 and 1998 with the Detroit Red Wings. Internationally, he represented the Soviet Union, winning Bronze at the 1991 World Championships and Silver at the 1990 and 1991 World Juniors.

For most of the NHL’s history, a typical lineup groups forwards into three-man lines and defencemen into pairings. In the old Soviet system on the other hand, the forward lines and defence pairings were combined into five-man units. In the 1990s, the Red Wings drafted Sergei Fedorov and Vladimir Konstaninov along with Kozlov, and later added Igor Larionov and Vyacheslav Fetisov in trades. Scott Bowman, the head coach when Fetisov was acquired in 1995, put the five together as one unit, aptly named the Russian Five. Fedorov, Larionov, and Fetisov have all deservedly been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and I put Konstantinov on this list so all would be in the Hall, at which point I realized Kozlov wasn’t either. Kozlov was a solid scorer for the Red Wings, cracking the 30-goal and 70-point marks in both the 1994 and 1996 seasons before the Red Wings’ back-to-back Stanley Cup wins. His remaining seasons in Detroit did see diminishing returns offensively, and he missed most of the 2001/02 season with Buffalo while the Red Wings won another Cup on the backs of numerous would-be Hall-of-Famers, but he rebounded with the Thrashers, with five 20-goal seasons and four 70-point seasons, including an 80-point season in 2007 and a 76-point season in 2009 that outdo his career-high with Detroit. He helped lead the Thrashers to their first playoff appearance in 2007 as well. Following a weak 2009/10 season, he would spend another five seasons playing for various KHL teams before his 2015 retirement. Kozlov was the last member of the NHL’s Russian Five to retire from pro hockey.

Detroit Red Wings v New York Islanders

Niklas Kronwall - Defence - 2003/04-2018/19

Drafted in the first round, 29th overall, in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, Kronwall debuted during the 2003/04 season. Kronwall scored 432 points (83G, 349A) in 953 games, as well as 47 points (5G, 42A) in 109 playoff games, for the Detroit Red Wings (2003/04-2018/19).

Kronwall won the Stanley Cup in 2008 with the Detroit Red Wings. Internationally, he represented Sweden, winning Silver at the 2003 World Championships and 2014 Sochi Olympics, and Gold at the 2006 World Championships and 2006 Turin Olympics.

Kronwall is currently fourth among Red Wings defencemen in career-scoring, thanks to his consistent production during the late 2000s and early 2010s, including a 51-point (52-point pace) season in 2009 and a 49-point (51-point pace) season in 2014. But what really cemented Kronwall’s legacy in the hockey consciousness was his hitting. Despite being a fairly unremarkable 6’0”, he was so known for devastating open-ice checks that to be on the receiving end was to be “Kronwalled.” Kronwall is a member of the Triple Gold Club as well, nabbing both of his Golds in 2006 and his Stanley Cup with the Red Wings. After the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom in 2012, Kronwall took over as the Red Wings’ no.1 defenceman and filled that year essentially for the remaining years of Detroit’s 25-season playoff appearances streak, with his role declining once the Red Wings began their rebuild in 2016. As a 2019 retiree, Kronwall would not have been eligible to be inducted into the Hall of Fame had there been an induction class this year, players requiring to have not played in the NHL for three years to be eligible, but with no induction planned until next year, Kronwall will be eligible the next time there is an induction ceremony.

HKN-WINGS-HAWKS Scott Strazzante/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Mike Krushelnyski - Left Wing - 1981/82-1994/95

Drafted in the sixth round, 120th overall, in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft by the Boston Bruins, Krushelnyski debuted during the 1981/82 season. Krushelnyski scored 569 points (241G, 328A) in 897 games, as well as 72 points (29G, 43A) in 139 playoff games, playing for the Boston Bruins (1981/82-1983/84), Edmonton Oilers (1984/85-1987/88), Los Angeles Kings (1988/89-1990/91), Toronto Maple Leafs (1990/91-1993/94), and Detroit Red Wings (1994/95).

Krushelnyski won the Stanley Cup in 1985, 1987, and 1988 with the Edmonton Oilers. Krushelnyski played in one All-Star Game, representing Edmonton in 1985.

I decided to include on this list every player who A) won a Stanley Cup with the Oilers and B) played in an All-Star Game during their careers, figuring that the championship, association with the attention-grabbing super team, and All-Star credentials combined for a decent Hall of Fame case. Krushelnyski, a three-time Oilers Cup winner who accompanied Wayne Gretzky in that famous and infamous 1988 trade, was the player I had in mind when I decided on that. Now, it is clear why Krushelnyski isn’t in the Hall, with his 43-goal and 88-point season being a particular outlier in a career where he never came close to those marks otherwise. Still, he seemed to be more of a two-way kind of forward amidst the Oilers’ arsenal of weapons, earning Selke nominations at a couple points in his career. And he did produce solid offensive numbers with three more 50-point seasons including two more 60-point seasons. Later in his career, he was part of some major playoff competitors, playing with Los Angeles and eliminating defending Cup champion Calgary in 1990, reaching the Western Conference Final with Toronto in both 1993 and 1994, only to lose to the eventual Stanley Cup runner-ups Los Angeles and Vancouver, and reaching the Stanley Cup Final again in 1995, losing to champion New Jersey. I think an argument can be made in his favour.

Los Angeles Kings v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by B Bennett/Getty Images

Uwe Krupp - Defence - 1986/87-1998/99, 2001/02-2002/03

Drafted in the 11th round, 214th overall, in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft by the Buffalo Sabres, Krupp debuted during the 1986/87 season. Krupp scored 281 points (69G, 212A) in 729 games, as well as 29 points (6G, 23A) in 81 playoff games, for the Buffalo Sabres (1986/87-partway through 1991/92), New York Islanders (partway through 1991/92-1993/94), Quebec Nordiques and Colorado Avalanche (1994/95-1997/98), Detroit Red Wings (1998/99, 2001/02), and Atlanta Thrashers (2002/03).

Krupp won the Stanley Cup in 1996 with the Colorado Avalanche and in 2002 with the Detroit Red Wings. He played in one All-Star Game, representing Buffalo in 1991.

Krupp was the first player to have been trained in Germany to have success in the NHL. After a few seasons in the NHL, Krupp broke out in 1990/91 with 44 points, a career-high. He also scored at least at a 40-point pace during each of the subsequent seasons, being traded to the Islanders early in the 1991/92 season as part of the Pat LaFontaine trade. Krupp was traded to Quebec in 1994 and would spend the late 90s with them in Colorado. While he missed all but six games of the 1995/96, he wound up with 16 points in 22 games during the playoffs en route to the Avs’ Stanley Cup win. He continued to have solid seasons before joining the Red Wings for the 1998/99 season. He wound up missing most of that season and all of 1999/00 and 2000/01. He also played in only eight regular season games and two playoff games but the Red Wings did wind up winning a Cup that year. His case for the Hall of Fame includes his Stanley Cup win and his strong early career on one hand and on the other his international record. He may not have won any medals, but he was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame, regarded as the best German hockey player of all time, although he has since been surpassed by Leon Draisaitl.

New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images

Pavel Kubina - Defence - 1997/98-2011/12

Drafted in the seventh round, 179th overall, in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Kubina debuted during the 1997/98 season. Kubina scored 386 points (110G, 276A) in 970 games, as well as 10 points (3G, 7A) in 51 playoff games, for the Tampa Bay Lightning (1997/98-2005/06, 2010/11-partway through 2011/12), Toronto Maple Leafs (2006/07-2008/09), Atlanta Thrashers (2009/10), and Philadelphia Flyers (part of 2011/12).

Kubina won the Stanley Cup in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He played in one All-Star Game, representing Tampa Bay in 2004. Internationally, he represented the Czech Republic, winning Bronze at the 2006 Turin Olympics and Gold at the 1991, 2001, and 2005 World Championships.

Kubina is here for a solid run during the 2000s. Between his first full season in 1998/99 and his final season in 2011/12, he reached the 20-point mark in all but the final one. He reached 30 points seven times, with two 40-point seasons in that time. His peak achievement was placing second among Lightning skaters in both points and time on ice as the Lightning made their way to the Stanley Cup. With three Gold Medals, he also has enough of an international track record to deserve consideration.

Pavel Kubina Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images

Chris Kunitz - Left Wing - 2003/04-2018/19

Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2003 by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Kunitz debuted during the 2003/04 season. Kunitz scored 619 points (268G, 351A) in 1022 games, as well as 93 points (27G, 66A) in 178 playoff games, for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Anaheim Ducks (2003/04, partway through 2005/06-partway through 2008/09), Atlanta Thrashers (part of 2005/06), Pittsburgh Penguins (partway through 2008/09-2016/17), Chicago Blackhawks (2017/18), and Tampa Bay Lightning (2018/19).

Kunitz won the Stanley Cup in 2007 with the Anaheim Ducks and in 2009, 2016, and 2017 with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He earned First-Team All-Star honours in 2013. Internationally, he represented Canada, winning Silver at the 2008 World Championships and Gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

When one thinks of Chris Kunitz, the first thing that person pictures is a player who rode coattails to get where he is. This isn’t entirely unwarranted, as Kunitz spent the majority of his career on a line with Sidney Crosby. That being said, he did score 60 points in 2006/07 with the Ducks, and followed that up with seasons of 50 and 53 points, the latter being the season he was traded to Pittsburgh. He reached his peak in the 2010s, finishing his first seasons spent entirely with the Pens scoring at a 53- and 60-point pace, respectively before finishing the 2011/12 season, one in which Crosby wasn’t there for most of the season mind you, with 61 points. His best season in terms of points per game was 2012/13, when he earned post-season All-Star honours after scoring 22 goals and 52 points in 48 games, a 38-goal and 89-point pace. He won Gold at the Olympics while scoring career-highs of 35 goals and 68 points for Pittsburgh before winning two more Cups for the Pens and closing his career with Tampa Bay and Chicago. 2019 retirees wouldn’t be eligible for 2021 induction, but there will be no 2021 induction, making 2019 retirees functionally eligible now, and while Kunitz doesn’t have so much as a 40-goal season or 70-point season under his belt, he’s a Gold Medal-winning Olympian and was an impact player on four Stanley Cup-winning teams.

NHL: DEC 05 Senators at Penguins Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Andre Lacroix - Centre - 1967/68-1979/80

Signed as an undrafted free agent in 1967 by the Philadelphia Flyers, Lacroix debuted during the 1967/68 season. In the NHL, Lacroix scored 198 points (79G, 119A) in 325 games, as well as seven points (2G, 5A) in 16 playoff games, for the Philadelphia Flyers (1967/68-1970/71), Chicago Blackhawks (1971/72), and Hartford Whalers (1979/80). In the WHA, Lacroix scored 798 points (251G, 547A) in 551 games, as well as 43 points (14G, 29A) in 48 games, for the Philadelphia Blazers (1972/73); the New York Golden Blades, Jersey Knights and San Diego Mariners (1973/74-1976/77); the Houston Aeros (1977/78); and the New England Whalers (1978/79).

In the WHA, Lacroix won the Bill Hunter Trophy as the league’s leading point scorer in 193 and 1975. He earned First-Team All-Star honours in 1973, 1974, and 1975, and played in All-Star Games, representing Jersey and San Diego in 1974, 1975, and 1977, and Houston in 1978.

If we’re talking about NHL careers exclusively, then there isn’t any argument that can be made that Lacroix deserves to be in the Hall. Even with the fact that I’m not looking exclusively at NHL careers, one could argue that he still doesn’t get in based on his NHL career. He scored 198 points in 325 NHL games across six seasons, only twice topping 50 points and never cracking 70. His first season saw him play 18 games, and he only played 29 in his last. He never won a major award, and he never won a championship. He wasn’t considered a great, or even particularly noteworthy, player during his NHL. On the other hand, Lacroix has a permanent place in hockey’s history books. A struggling and disgruntled NHLer, Lacroix was exactly the type primed to take the bigger kind of paycheck the WHA was offering. He bounced around from team to team, only partially because teams were moving like a game of musical chairs, and it was him of all people that wound up the league’s all-time leading points scorer, and was twice the single-season points leader. It’s worth it to think about it.

Denis Brodeur Collection Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images

Jamie Langenbrunner - Right Wing - 1994/95-2012/13

Drafted in the second round, 35th overall, in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars, Langenbrunner debuted during the 1994/95 season. Langenbrunner scored 663 points (243G, 420A) in 1109 games, as well as 87 points (34G, 53A) in 146 playoff games, for the Dallas Stars (1995/95-partway through 2001/02, part of 2010/11), New Jersey Devils (partway through 2001/02-partway through 2010/11), and St. Louis Blues (2011/12-2012/13).

Langenbrunner won the Stanley Cup in 1999 with the Dallas Stars and in 2003 with the New Jersey Devils. Internationally, he represented the United States, winning Silver at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

The case for Langenbrunner to be inducted into the Hall is admittedly a little slim, but he does have achievements in the NHL and international games. He scored 663 points, reaching the 60-point mark three times with several more seasons scoring 50 points or at a 50-point pace, as a defensive forward. He was a major player on two Cup-winning teams, scoring 35 points in 47 games during the 1999 and 2003 playoffs combined, with standout performances from the 2006 through 2009 postseasons as well. He also captained the Americans to Silver at the 2010 Olympics. He also captained the Devils from 2007 through his 2011 trade back to Dallas.

Atlanta Thrashers v New Jersey Devils Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Dave Langevin - Defence - 1979/80-1986/87

Drafted in the seventh round, 112th overall, in the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft by the New York Islanders, Langevin debuted during the 1979/80 season. In the WHA, Langevin scored 78 points (19G, 59A) in 216 games, as well as six points (2G, 4A) in 23 playoff games, for the Edmonton Oilers (1976/77-1978/79). In the NHL, Langevin scored 119 points (12G, 107A) in 513 games, as well as 19 points (2G, 17A) in 87 playoff games, for the New York Islanders (1979/80-1984/85), Minnesota North Stars (1985/86), and Los Angeles Kings (1986/87).

Langevin won the Stanley Cup in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983 with the New York Islanders. He played in one All-Star Game, representing the Islanders in 1983.

Langevin is on this list as a four-time Stanley Cup champion and one-time All-Star. As an All-Star alum who was part of all four of the Islanders’ Stanley Cup wins, Langevin definitely fits on this list. Langevin’s inclusion here is also another instance of giving some credit to the defensive defencemen in league history.

New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Graig Abel Collection/Getty Images

Steve Larmer - Right Wing - 1980/81-1994/95

Drafted in the sixth round, 120th overall, in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, Larmer debuted during the 1980/81 season. Larmer scored 1012 points (441G, 571A) in 1006 games, as well as 131 points (56G, 75A) in 140 playoff games, playing for the Chicago Blackhawks (1980/81-1992/93), and New York Rangers (1993/94-1994/95).

Larmer won the Stanley Cup in 1994 with the New York Rangers. He won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 1983. He earned All-Rookie honours in 1983 and played in two All-Star Games, representing Chicago in 1990 and 1991. Internationally, he represented Canada, winning Silver at the 1991 World Championships, and winning the 1991 Canada Cup.

Larmer is a pretty surprising omission from the Hall of Fame. While he doesn’t have any major awards after his Calder, never reached 50 goals, retired at 33, and just barely got over the point-per-game and 1000-point marks, he still has a strong list of achievements. Even if by a slim margin, he did score more points than he played games, and is a 1000-point scorer who reached the 80-point mark seven times, including 90 points three times, one of which saw him hit the 100-point plateau. Of the nine times he hit the 30-goal mark, he also reached 40 goals five times. He earned both Selke and Lady Byng votes at many points in his career even though he never won either award. He also currently has the sixth-most consecutive games played, playing 884 from the start of the 1982/83 season through the end of the 1992/93 season before a contract dispute ended his streak.

Chicago Black Hawks v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images

Pierre Larouche - Right Wing - 1974/75-1987/88

Drafted in the first round, seventh overall, in the 1974 Amateur Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Larouche debuted during the 1974/75 season. He scored 822 points (395G, 427A), as well as 54 points (20, 34A) in 64 playoff games, for the Pittsburgh Penguins (1974/75-partway through 1977/78), Montreal Canadiens (partway through 1977/78-partway through 1981/82), Hartford Whalers (partway through 1981/82-1982/83), and New York Rangers (1983/84-1987/88).

Larouche won the Stanley Cup in 1978 and 1979 with the Montreal Canadiens. He played in two All-Star Games, representing Pittsburgh in 1976 and the Rangers in 1984.

Larouche actually has a pretty underrated case to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. While he only played 812 NHL games, he was over a point-a-game player in that time, scoring 31 goals and 68 points as early as his 1974/75 rookie season. His crowning achievement as an individual is his 53-goal, 111-point season in 1975/76, but he did also have 50 goals and 91 points during the 1979/80 season. He did score only 60 points and 22 points in 36 games (a 49-point pace) in the seasons in between, but remained productive through the 80s, scoring 53 points in 61 games (a 70-point pace) in 1981, 71 points in 1982, 40 points in 38 games (an 84-point pace) in 1983, 81 points in 1984, 60 points in 65 games (a 76-point pace) in 1985, 27 points in 28 games (a 79-point pace) in 1986, 63 points in 1987, and even 12 points in 10 games (a 96-point pace) in 1988 before retiring. He remained a solid goal scorer as well, reaching 20 goals in each of those seasons, including a 48-goal season in 1984. I think Larouche has an underrated case for the Hall as a two-time Cup winner, two-time All-Star, and two-time 50-goal scorer.

Montreal Canadiens v New York Islanders Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Reed Larson - Defence - 1976/77-1989/90

Drafted in the first round, 22nd overall, in the 1976 NHL Entry Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, Larson scored 685 points (222G, 463A) in 904 games, as well as 11 points (4G, 7A) in 32 playoff games, playing for the Detroit Red Wings (1976/77-partway through 1985/86), Boston Bruins (partway through 1985/86-1987/88), Edmonton Oilers (part of 1988/89), New York Islanders (part of 1988/89), Minnesota North Stars (part of 1988/89), and Buffalo Sabres (1989/90).

Larson played in three All-Star Games, representing Detroit in 1978, 1980, and 1981.

At points on this list, I made there are defencemen who failed to win any Cups or major awards during their careers, who I nonetheless argue deserve consideration based on how productive they were relative to other defencemen specifically during their careers. Larson is another instance of this, as he is the highest-scoring defenceman to have played between his first and last NHL seasons to have not been inducted into the Hall, sixth overall. Extending that to all-time, Larson is 28th among defencemen in scoring. Everyone in the top 30 all-time is either A) in the Hall of Fame already, B) somewhere on this list, or C) not yet eligible to be inducted.

Reed Larson In Action

Reggie Leach - Right Wing - 1970/71-1982/83

Drafted in the first round, 3rd overall, in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft by the Boston Bruins, Leach debuted during the 1970/71 season. Leach scored 666 points (381G, 285A) in 934 games, as well as 69 points (47G, 22A) in 94 playoff games, for the Boston Bruins (1970/71-partway through 1971/72), California Golden Seals (partway through 1971/72-1973/74), Philadelphia Flyers (1974/75-1981/82), and Detroit Red Wings (1982/83).

Leach won the Stanley Cup in 1975 with the Philadelphia Flyers. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1976. He earned Second-Team All-Star honours in 1976, and played in two All-Star Games, representing Philadelphia in 1976 and 1980. Internationally, he represented Canada, winning the Canada Cup in 1976.

While other players lay claim to major offensive milestones for the Flyers, it is Leach that stands as the team’s leading single-season goal scorer, his 61 goals in 1975/76 standing as the only point in franchise history that anyone managed to reach the 60-goal plateau. He also finished the 1979/80 season with 50 goals. With his Conn Smythe win in 1976, Leach became one of very few players who would win the award despite playing on the losing side of that year’s Stanley Cup Final. There are others, generally those who played for Philadelphia for longer, who have more career and franchise goals than Leach, who was a late addition to the Broad Street Bullies-era team in 1974, and he did retire at age 33, but his overall scoring production, especially taking his career-defining stint in Philadelphia on its own, makes him Hall-worthy. Also noteworthy is that his name may be slightly familiar to non-hockey fans, as his name was mentioned on the TV series “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia,” where the character Mac correctly guesses Leach’s name as the answer to a radio trivia question asking who holds the Flyers’ franchise record for goals in a season.

Flyers Reggie Leach Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Vincent Lecavalier - Centre - 1998/99-2015/16

Drafted in the first round, first overall, in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Lecavalier debuted during the 1998/99 season. Lecavalier scored 949 points (421G, 528A) in 1212 games, as well as 56 points (26G, 30A) in 75 playoff games, for the Tampa Bay Lightning (1998/99-2012/13), Philadelphia Flyers (2013/14-partway through 2015/16), and Los Angeles Kings (part of 2015/16).

Lecavalier won the Stanley Cup in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He won the Maurice Richard Trophy as the league’s leading scorer in 2007 and the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership and humanitarian contributions in 2008. He earned Second-Team All-Star honours in 2007 and played in four All-Star Games, representing Tampa Bay in 2003, 2007, 2008, and 2009. Internationally, he represented Canada winning the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.

He wasn’t the Michael Jordan of hockey, and today he doesn’t even go first overall in 1998 redrafts, but I think Lecavalier does have a case to be inducted. His swift decline during the 2010s kind of overshadows how prolific a point producer he was in the 2000s. From 1999 through 2010, only once did he fail to reach the 60-point mark, in 2000/01, where he at least scored at a 60+ point pace. He did reach at least 70 points five times during that stretch, and hit the 30-goal mark five times as well. Of those seasons, he had 52 goals and 108 points in 2007 and 40 goals and 92 points in 2008. While his early 2010s do constitute a decline from him, injuries resulted in those seasons being underrated. He scored 54 points in 65 games, a 68-point pace, in 2010/11. He scored 49 points in 64 games, a 63-point pace in 2011/12. His 32 points in 39 games during the lockout-shortened 2012/13 season translate to 67 points in a full 82-game season. His compliance buyout at the end of the season was necessary, his production legitimately petered out afterward, and even during his time in Tampa Bay the team wasn’t always effective, with Lecavalier captaining the Lightning from 2000 to 2001 and from 2005 to 2013 and only leading them to the postseason three times (2006, 2007, 2011) and out of the first round once (2011, a Conference Final loss to eventual Cup champion Boston), but even with that, few reach the 50-goal plateau in the modern era, fewer win the Rocket Richard, and fewer still manage both that and a Stanley Cup win.

NHL 2005: Tampa Bay Lightning at Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Bob Leverone/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images