Just a couple days after seeing his playing rights traded to Arizona from Philadelphia, Chris Pronger will be in the spotlight again when the Hall of Fame announces he and Nicklas Lidstrom are two of this year’s inductees.
The Hall of Fame’s 18-member selection committee is meeting today to discuss this year’s candidates. Former players and builders need at least 75 percent approval (or 14 favorable votes). Pronger, who last played during the 2011-12 season and has been on the Flyers long-term injury ever since, is as sure-fire a candidate as you’ll see. So is Lidstrom, the most decorated defenseman in the history of the NHL not named Bobby Orr.
Pronger, of course, was a brilliant two-way defenseman who was a major player in Anaheim’s 2006-07 Stanley Cup triumph. He also was a key cog in two other teams getting to the Cup final, the Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers. Pronger had 157 goals and 698 points in 1,167 games over 18 seasons. He won both the Norris Trophy and Hart Trophy in 1999-2000, while with the St. Louis Blues, one of five teams he played for.
Lidstrom spent his entire career with the Detroit Red Wings, winning the Norris seven times and finishing runner-up three times. He also won four Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe Trophy and had 263 goals and 1,142 points in 1,564 games. Many hockey historians put him right up with Doug Harvey, Eddie Shore and Ray Bourque as the best blueliners in the game’s history, behind Orr.
Also first-year eligible for the Hall of Fame is Sergei Fedorov, winner of the 1993-94 Hart Trophy and the author of 483 goals and 1,179 points in 18 NHL seasons, mostly with Detroit.
There is an opening for a fourth former player to be inducted this year and it will come from a long list of NHLers passed over in previous years. If Fedorov gets in as the third candidate this year, only one from this group can make it. Here are players sure to be considered. I’ve listed them by my order of preference.
• Eric Lindros, eligible since 2010.
• Sergei Makarov, eligible since 2001.
• Mark Recchi, eligible since 2014.
• Phil Housley, eligible since 2006.
• Guy Carbonneau, eligible since 2003.
• Dave Andreychuk, eligible since 2009.
• Tom Barrasso, eligible since 2006.
• Dale Hunter, eligible since 2002.
• Alexander Mogilny, eligible since 2009.
• Theo Fleury, eligible since 2006.
• Curtis Joseph, eligible since 2012.
• Jeremy Roenick, eligible since 2012.
• Mike Richter, eligible since 2006.
• Keith Tkachuk, eligible since 2013.
• Paul Kariya, eligible since 2013.
• Rod Brind’Amour, eligible since 2013.
Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN