TORONTO -- Walking down the red carpet for the 2017 Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Monday, Scott Niedermayer delivered a prediction that is difficult to debate.
"See you next year for Marty," said Niedermayer, a member of the Class of 2013.
When it comes to forecasting the leading candidates to be inducted into the Hall in 2018, Niedermayer and fellow Hall of Famers Joe Sakic (2012) and Steve Yzerman (2009) all used the phrase "slam dunk" when describing their personal frontrunner, goaltender Martin Brodeur.
With the Class of 2017 officially inducted, the attention turns to those eligible for the 2018 class. Brodeur, who played 21 of his 22 NHL seasons with the New Jersey Devils, is at the top of the list.
Video: Potential 2018 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees
Brodeur is the NHL all-time leader in wins (691) and shutouts (125). He won the Calder Trophy as the top rookie in the League in 1994, the Vezina Trophy as the top goalie four times (2003, 2004, 2007, 2008) and the Stanley Cup three times with the Devils (1995, 2000, 2003).
"Look, it's a big thing as an athlete when your class is coming up," said Brodeur, an assistant general manager for the St. Louis Blues, with whom he played his final NHL season in 2014-15. "You hope to get in, but I don't think you grow up dreaming about it. And I don't think when you are playing you say, 'I'm playing to get into the Hall of Fame.'
"But once your career is over, you look back at the body of work of what you achieved. And you hear what people around you say too, about how you deserve to get in.
"As it gets closer, too, it's great to see how happy the inductees are. I love seeing that. And working with the Blues, I work with (defenseman) Al MacInnis, who got in years ago (2007).
"All those things get you excited about it."
Video: Martin Brodeur owns many key career goalie records
Assuming Brodeur is a safe bet to get the necessary 75 percent of the vote from the Hall of Fame's 18-member selection committee to be inducted, here are 10 former players who deserve consideration to join Brodeur in the Hall's Class of 2018.
Martin St. Louis
St. Louis went from being an undrafted player to a two-time winner of the Art Ross Trophy as the League's leading scorer (2004, 2013) and the Lady Byng Trophy for his display of skill and sportsmanship (2010, 2011). He also won the Hart Trophy as NHL most valuable player in 2003 and played a significant role in the Tampa Bay Lightning's 2004 Stanley Cup run. St. Louis finished his career with 1,033 points and is the Lightning's all-time leader in assists (588) and points (953).
Video: E.J. Hradek talks with Martin St. Louis at HHOF
Alfredsson, the acknowledged face of the Ottawa Senators, had 444 goals and 713 assists for 1,157 points in 1,246 games during 18 NHL seasons, the first 17 with the Senators. Ottawa's longtime captain never played on a Stanley Cup-winning team, but he did win an Olympic gold medal with Sweden in 2006 and a silver in 2014. He also won the Calder Trophy in 1996.
The 2017 induction of Clare Drake, the winningest coach in Canadian university hockey history, again underscored the fact that it's the "Hockey" Hall of Fame, not the "NHL" Hall of Fame. As such, Mikhailov's body of work playing for CSKA Moscow and representing the Soviet Union internationally is impressive. Mikhailov led CSKA to 11 Soviet League championships while accruing 653 points. Internationally, he played on two Olympic gold medal-winning teams and helped the Soviet Union win the IIHF World Championship eight times.
Mogilny could join Sergei Fedorov and Pavel Bure, his Soviet linemates at the 1989 IIHF World Junior Championship, who have already been enshrined in the Hall. Mogilny played one more NHL game than 2017 inductee Paul Kariya and accumulated 43 more points. (1,032-989). His 76-goal season with the Buffalo Sabres in 1992-93 tied him for the NHL goal-scoring lead with Teemu Selanne, another 2017 inductee, and he finished his NHL career with 473. Mogilny is a member of the IIHF's Triple Gold Club, having won a Stanley Cup (with New Jersey in 2000), an Olympic gold medal and a World Championship title.
From 1993-94 to 2007-08, Zubov had 701 points in 963 games. Only one NHL defenseman, Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstrom (767), had more points than Zubov in that span. Zubov played on two Stanley Cup-winning teams (1994 with the New York Rangers, 1999 with the Dallas Stars), was chosen for the NHL All-Star Game four times (1998, 1999, 2000, 2008), and won Olympic (1992) and World Junior Championship (1989) gold medals.
Video: The crew previews the 2018 Hockey HOF ceremony
Perhaps the most debated player during the past few years, Roenick scored 513 goals and finished with 1,216 points in 1,363 NHL games but never won the Stanley Cup or an individual trophy. From 1990-94, he scored 190 goals and 411 points in 327 games. He won a silver medal with the United States at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
He averaged more than a point-per-game during his NHL career (1,088 points in 1,084 games) and won the Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames in 1989 and gold medals with Canada at the 1988 World Juniors, 1991 Canada Cup and 2002 Olympics.
Joseph is the poster boy for the debate about whether winning a Stanley Cup is a necessity to be elected to the Hall of Fame. He never won one but is fifth in NHL history in wins (454) and sixth in games (943), and he had seven seasons with more than 30 victories.
Wilson ranks 15th in NHL history in scoring among defensemen with 827 points (237 goals, 590 assists). The only other defenseman in the top 15 who is not in the Hall is Gary Suter. Known for his blistering slap shot, Wilson won the Norris Trophy in 1982, played in the NHL All-Star Game seven times and is the Chicago Blackhawks' all-time scoring leader among defensemen. The most glaring absence on his resume is the lack of a Stanley Cup.
Osgood stacks up well in a head-to-head comparison with 2016 inductee Rogie Vachon. True, they played in different eras. But consider the stats when you put them side by side. Although each won three Stanley Cup titles, Osgood finished his career with 401 victories; Vachon had 355. They're almost equal in shutouts, with Vachon holding a 51-50 edge. Osgood had a 2.49 goals-against average; Vachon's was 3.00. Add up the numbers and you can make a credible case for Osgood.