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Retirement of St. Louis sparks debate: Is he a Hockey Hall of Famer?

NHL.com @NHL

Martin St. Louis was a Stanley Cup, Hart and two-time Art Ross Trophy winner, Olympic gold medallist and 1,000-point scorer.

The only question that remains after he announced his retirement Thursday is if St. Louis is a Hockey Hall of Famer.

"Easily, for sure," former teammate Dominic Moore said without hesitation. "No doubt about that. That to me is not even debatable. He has to be."

St. Louis has a decorated resume: one Hart as NHL MVP, two Art Ross Trophies as the leading scorer, one Lester B. Pearson (now Ted Lindsay) Award as the NHLPA's most outstanding player and three Lady Byng Trophies for gentlemanly conduct to go with 391 goals and 642 assists in 1,134 games.

He helped the Tampa Bay Lightning win the Stanley Cup in 2004 and Canada win the World Cup months later. The Laval, Que., native was also on Canada's undefeated gold-medal-winning 2014 Sochi Olympic team.

"He gets my vote," former NHL forward Jeff Halpern said. "I don't know who else over the last 15 years has kind of done the things that he's been able to do. There are guys that have done it, but there's not many."

St. Louis is one of just 52 players with at least 300 goals, 600 assists and 1,000 points. Taking out active players Jaromir Jagr, Joe Thornton and Jarome Iginla and the recently retired Teemu Selanne and Daniel Alfredsson, only 11 players have done that and not yet been inducted.

Of those 11, none won the Hart or Art Ross even once.

"You look at the individual awards that he's won, in my mind there shouldn't be a debate," former Lightning general manager Jay Feaster said.

The only debate might be that St. Louis has the fewest points of the 17 with 300-plus goals and 600-plus assists. Bernie Nicholls, Pierre Turgeon, Theo Fleury, Dave Taylor, Bobby Smith and Mark Recchi all average more points a game.

But St. Louis being a key cog on a Cup team and winning Olympic gold and a World Cup should put him over the edge. He'll be eligible for the first time in 2018.

Players who reacted to St. Louis' retirement on Twitter sure didn't consider it a debate. James van Riemsdyk of the Toronto Maple Leafs congratulated St. Louis on a Hall of Fame career, and Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman added hashtag #HOF to the end of his message.

"Some of the best memories ever," fellow 2004 Cup winner Brad Richards said on Twitter. "What a player and even better friend. Hall of Famer."

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