Alexander Mogilny and Dave Andreychuk are also strong candidates among players who become eligible this year.
Doug Gilmour, Mike Richter and Mike Vernon also boast strong credentials among players who have been passed over before.
For the first time, the Hockey Hall of Fame will admit a women member and it is expected to be Canadian great Hayley Wickenheiser.
The Hockey Hall of Fame Selection Committee also will announce the name of a "builder," an individual selected for his or her work off the ice.
Hockey writer Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has already been named the 2009 Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award winner by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.
St. Louis Blues President John Davidson, who spent many years in the broadcast booth after a fine career as an NHL goaltender, will receive the Foster Hewitt Award from the NHL Broadcasters' Association.
The winners will be honored Nov. 9 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Here is a look at the candidates.
Brett Hull broke into the NHL in 1986 after two seasons of college hockey at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He played three seasons for the Calgary Flames, 11 years for the St. Louis Blues, three years each for the Dallas Stars and Detroit Red Wings and five games in 2005-06 for the Phoenix Coyotes before retiring.
Hull had 741 goals, third-best in NHL history, and 650 assists for 1,391 points in 1,269 NHL regular-season games. A Stanley Cup winner with Dallas in 1999 and Detroit in 2002, Hull had 103 goals and 87 assists for 190 points in 202 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He is the Blues' all-time leader with 527 goals.
His best season was 1990-91 when he teamed with center Adam Oates to produce 86 goals and 45 assists for 131 points. He surpassed 100 points four times while with the Blues. Hull had 72 goals for St. Louis the previous season and 70 goals in 1991-92. He broke the 50-goal mark in four other seasons. His 33 hat tricks are fourth-best in NHL history.
Hull was named to the NHL First All-Star Team in 1990, 1991 and 1992 after leading the NHL in goals in each of those seasons. He won the Hart Trophy and Lester B. Pearson Award in 1991 and the Lady Byng Trophy in 1990. He played in eight NHL All-Star Games.
Hull led the playoffs with 10 goals in 2002 and 11 goals in 2000, when Dallas lost the Stanley Cup Final to the New Jersey Devils in their bid to repeat as champions. Hull led the playoffs with 24 points in 2000.
Hull is tied for first with 24 playoff game-winning goals and is the leader with 38 playoff power-play goals. He had the series-winning goal in the third overtime of Game 6 in 1999.
Hull was the leading goal scorer and top points producer in the 1996 World Cup Hockey when he led the United States to the championship. Hull had seven goals and four assists for 11 points, including the tying goal against Canada in the final game, 43 seconds before Tony Amonte's game winner. Hull's goal was a
deflection, behind his back, of a point shot from Leetch.
Steve Yzerman -- Yzerman was Hull's teammate on the 2002 Stanley Cup-winning Red Wings. Yzerman also won the Stanley Cup in 1997 and 1998.
Yzerman was the fourth overall pick of the 1983 Entry Draft and went on to play 22 seasons with the Red Wings. He was only 21 when he was named team captain in 1986-87. He retired as the longest-serving captain in North American professional-sports history.
Yzerman retired in 2006 as the sixth-leading scorer in NHL history. Yzerman had 692 goals and 1,063 assists for 1,755 points in 1,514 NHL regular-season games. He had 70 goals and 115 assists for 185 points in 196 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He received the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1998 as the most valuable
player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, when he led all scorers with 18 assists and 24 points.
Yzerman also won the 1989 Lester B. Pearson Award and the 2000 Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward. He was awarded the 2003 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance.
Yzerman was named to the NHL All-Rookie team in 1984 and the NHL First All-Star Team in 2000. He played in 10 NHL All-Star Games.
Yzerman broke the 50-goal mark in five seasons, with a high of 65 goals in 1988-89. He had 62 goals in 1989-90 and 58 goals in 1992-93. He ranks eighth all-time in goals, seventh in assists and sixth in points.
Brian Leetch -- Leetch was the ninth-overall pick of the 1986 Entry Draft and played 18 NHL seasons, posting 247 goals and 781 assists for 1,028 points. He had 28 goals and 69 assists for 97 points in 95 Stanley Cup Playoff games. Leetch won the 1994 Conn Smythe Trophy when he led the New York Rangers to their first Stanley Cup since 1940. Leetch is the only American to win the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Leetch had 11 goals and 23 assists for 34 points in the 1994 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Leetch was named to the NHL All Rookie Team in 1989 when he won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's best rookie. He won the James Norris Memorial Trophy in 1992 and 1997 as the NHL's best defenseman. He was named to the NHL First All-Star Team twice and the Second All-Star Team three times and played in nine NHL All-Star Games.
Leetch was also the Hockey East rookie of the year and player of the year in 1987 in his lone season at Boston College.
Leetch had his best offensive season in 1991-92 when he had 22 goals and 80 assists for 102 points. He is one of only five defensemen to break the 100-points mark in a season and remains the last to do it. He broke the 20-goal mark five times with a high of 23 in 1994. He also had 23 in 1989, setting a record that
still stands for NHL rookie defensemen.
This could mark the third-straight year that a member of the Rangers' 1994 team is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Mark Messier was inducted two years and Glenn Anderson was inducted last year.
Luc Robitaille -- Robitaille was taken with the 171st pick of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft and went on to play 19 seasons. He retired as the all-time leading goal scorer among NHL left wingers. Robitaille had 668 goals and 726 assists for 1,394 points in 1,431 regular-season games. He had 58 goals and 69 assists for 127 points in 159 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Although he played 14 seasons for the Los Angeles Kings, Robitaille signed as free agent with the Red Wings in 2001 and was a member of their 2002 Stanley Cup championship.
Robitaille had three seasons when he topped 100 points, topping 50 goals in each of those seasons. His best year was 1992-93 when he had 63 goals and 125 points.
The 1986 Canadian Major Junior Player of the Year, Robitaille won the 1987 Calder Memorial Trophy and was named to the NHL All Rookie Team. He was named five times to the NHL First All-Star Team and three times to the Second All-Star Team. Robitaille played in eight NHL All-Star Games.
Alex Mogilny -- Before he joined the NHL in 1989, Mogilny achieved the rare double of winning the World Junior Championship and the Olympic gold medal in the same year. He won the World Junior Championship again in 1989 and then defected, joining the Buffalo Sabres, who drafted him with the 89th pick in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft. As a result, Mogilny wore No. 89 throughout his career.
Mogilny had 473 goals and 559 assists for 1,032 points in 990 NHL regular-season games. He had 39 goals and 47 assists for 86 points in 124 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He won his only Stanley Cup in 2000 when he was a late-season addition to the New Jersey Devils. Mogilny had four goals and three assists for seven points in 23 games that year.
Mogilny had his best season in 1992-93 when he led the NHL with 76 goals and added 51 assists for 127 points. He won the 2003 Lady Byng Trophy and played in four NHL All-Star Games.
Dave Andreychuk -- Andreychuk was also a member of that 1992-93 Sabres team, with Dale Hawerchuk and Pat LaFontaine, but was traded in midseason to the Toronto Maple Leafs. There, he had his best season in 1993-94 when he had 53 goals and 46 assists for 99 points.
Andreychuk had 640 goals and 698 assists for 1,338 points in 1,639 NHL regular-season games. He had 43 goals and 54 assists for 97 points in 162 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He won the Stanley Cup with the 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning. Andreychuk played in two NHL All-Star Games.
Haley Wickenheiser -- Wickenheiser led Canada to two Olympic gold medals and a silver medal. She won gold six times in the World Championship and 10 times in Nations Cup tournaments. She first played in the World Championship at age 15. Wickenheiser played for the Canadian softball team in the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Wickenheiser led all scorers at the 2002 Winter Olympics and was named MVP of the tournament. She repeated as leading scorer and MVP in 2006.
She became the first woman to play men's professional hockey in 2003 when she joined Salamat in Finland's third-highest league. She also played professionally in Sweden and was offered an ECHL contract.