Dave Andreychuk had to wait until his 22nd season in the NHL to finally win the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004.
By comparison, waiting until his ninth year of eligibility to be voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday was no big deal.
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"I guess with the Stanley Cup it was sweeter to wait that long," Andreychuk said. "You understand the value and how hard it is to achieve. I guess that's kind of the same thing here."
Andreychuk, 53, was one of seven people elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2017, including three other former NHL players: Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya and Mark Recchi. Retired Canadian women's ice hockey player Danielle Goyette also was elected, along with Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs and University of Alberta coach Clare Drake, each voted in as a builder.
The induction ceremony will be at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Nov. 13.
Andreychuk, a left wing, played 23 seasons in the NHL with the Lightning, Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche before retiring after being released by Tampa Bay in 2005-06.
Video: Dave Andreychuk selected for the Hall of Fame
At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, Andreychuk made his living battling for position and scoring goals from in front of the net. He ranks 14th in NHL history with 640 goals, including a League-record 274 on the power play, and also had 698 assists in 1,639 regular-season games. Before Monday, he was the only player eligible who had scored at least 600 goals in the NHL and was not in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
"Nobody starts their career thinking that they're going to be a Hall of Famer," Andreychuk said. "You just want to stay in the League, you want to help your team win, and after it's all done and you look at your numbers and you think that there's a chance and people start to talk about it. But at the same time, it's really out of your hands. I'm thankful this day came along for me and for my family, and whether it was this year or next year or 10 years from now didn't matter to us."
The Sabres' first-round pick (No. 16) in the 1982 NHL Draft, Andreychuk scored at least 20 goals 19 times and reached 30 goals nine times, 40 goals four times, and 50 goals in 1992-93 (NHL career-high 54 in 83 games with Buffalo and Toronto) and 1993-94 (53 in 83 games with Toronto).
"The back-to-back 50-goal seasons, the power-play record for goals, those are things that I look back on that it's an amazement to really think [about]," he said. "When I started in '82 and got the privilege of watching Gilbert Perreault score 500 goals, to think that I went by him, it's mind-boggling."
Video: Chatting with Dave Andreychuk
Andreychuk said he was considering retirement following his second stint with the Sabres in 2000-01 when the Lightning called and asked if he was interested in playing for them. With the Lightning out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot at the 2002 NHL Trade Deadline, general manager Jay Feaster offered Andreychuk a chance to be traded to the Montreal Canadiens, but he declined because he saw the potential in Tampa Bay with talented players such as Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, Dan Boyle and Nikolai Khabibulin.
Two seasons later, Andreychuk was Lightning captain when they won the Stanley Cup for the first time in their history, cementing his legacy.
"It obviously caps a career for myself, but I think if I wouldn't have won the Stanley Cup not much would have changed either," he said. "I still played with some great players and made some great friends throughout the years."
Video: Dave Andreychuk wins Cup for first time in 22 seasons