|Will former Sharks captain Rob Blake be the next inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame from the Sharks franchise?
Center Igor Larionov was the first Sharks player inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. On Tuesday, he was joined by goaltender Ed Belfour who only played 13 games in teal (1996-97), but counts nonetheless.
The question is: who’s next? Among retired players, there are some strong possibilities.
Rob Blake probably leads the list. He won a Norris Trophy as the best at his position in a season, has a Stanley Cup, won an Olympic gold medal, captained two clubs (San Jose and Los Angeles) and is 11th all-time among NHL defensemen in goals. His 136 power play goals ranks third all-time among NHL blueliners.
Like Blake, Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson has a Norris Trophy and sits right behind Blake in all-time NHL goal scoring by a defenseman.
Another defender with a shot would be Gary Suter, who is 14th all-time in defenseman scoring, ranking one spot above Wilson.
Up front, there are also a couple of strong possibilities.
Sergei Makarov, Larionov’s linemate during that memorable 1993-94 season in San Jose, has a shot. Even though he spent most of his career playing in the old Soviet Union, Makarov has a great chance – if that time is taken into consideration.
|Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson (center) is also a front-runner for the HOF. |
Jeremy Roenick ranks 36th all-time in NHL scoring with 1,216 points and is closely followed by Bernie Nichols (38th) and Vincent Damphousse (39th). Damphousse was captain of a Stanley Cup-winner which adds to his resume.
One retired netminder who could soon hear his name called is Mike Vernon. Vernon is the winningest NHL goaltender not in the Hall of Fame, played in five All-Star Games and has a Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff most valuable player. Not a bad resume.
Of the current Sharks players, there could be a run when their careers conclude. Who knows where Joe Thornton
, Patrick Marleau
, Dany Heatley and Dan Boyle
’s numbers will rank if they maintain their current pace? The foursome is worthy of a strong consideration. And what if Antti Niemi
puts together another 10 years like the past two?
Let’s also consider some former players still active in the NHL. Teemu Selanne’s 647 goals is 14th on the all-time list and Owen Nolan would find his name on a few ballots, too. Let’s not forget two goaltenders whose names are in the Sharks record book: Evgeni Nabokov and Miikka Kiprusoff. Both have had outstanding careers worthy of recognition in Toronto.
Right now, the number stands at two, but the list of Hall of Famers could start growing quickly as the current crop of players enter the autumn of their careers. Some will be eligible sooner than others, but hopefully the list of Sharks players in the Hall of Fame will continue to grow.