2011 Hockey Hall of Fame Class
Drafted by Calgary in the second round (27th overall) in 1985, the clutch center won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 1988 after scoring 51 goals and 92 points. He would go on to amass a total of 564 goals -- including 93 game-winners (ninth all-time) and 1,126 points during the course of 20 NHL seasons. One of the league's top face-off specialists, Nieuwendyk, who is now the GM of the Dallas Stars, won three Stanley Cups with three different teams.
After scoring 11 goals and 21 points in 23 posteason games, Nieuwendyk was awarded the 1999 Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP while helping guide the Stars to the Stanley Cup. (That team was backstopped by fellow 2011 inductee Ed Belfour.) Nieuwendyk's career hardware haul also included the King Clancy leadership trophy as Calgary's captain in 1995 and Olympic gold with Team Canada in 2002.
Undrafted out of the University of North Dakota, where he'd earned a scholarship at the late age of 21, the fiery goaltender known as "The Eagle" won the 1991 Calder Trophy with Chicago. Frequently clashing with equally headstrong Blackhawks coach Mike Keenan, Belfour went on to become a two-time Vezina Trophy-winner who posted 484 wins -- third all-time -- including 76 shutouts during his 17-year career with Chicago, San Jose, Dallas, Toronto and Florida.
The Eagle, a five-time All-Star, won his only Stanley Cup in 1999, going 18-7 in the playoffs with a stingy 1.87 goals-agamst average and outdueling Buffalo's great Dominik Hasek in the final.
Drafted by St. Louis in the seventh round (134th overall in 1982), the gritty center known as "Killer" amassed 1,414 points (17th all-time) with six teams during the course of 20 NHL seasons. His most impressive feat may have been setting a Maple Leafs franchise record of 127 points in 1992-93 -- the season he won the Selke Trophy as the league's best defensive forward.
Gilmour won the Stanley Cup with fellow 2011 Hall inductee Joe Nieuwendyk and the Calgary Flames in 1989. Acquired before the 1988-89 season from St. Louis along with Mark Hunter, Steve Bozek and Michael Dark for Mike Bullard, Craig Coxe and Tim Cokery, Gilmour scored 85 points during the regular schedule and another 22 in the playoffs. He and Nieuwendyk join 1989 Cup championship teammates Lanny McDonald, Al MacInnis, and Joe Mullen in the Hall of Fame along with owners Harley Hotchkiss, Daryl (Doc) Seaman and GM Cliff Fletcher.
A versatile defenseman who could also play forward, the son of the great Gordie Howe scored 1,246 points over 22 seasons in the World Hockey Association and NHL. (That's Mark, left, with older brother Marty and their dad as teammates on the New England Whalers in 1977.) After Gordie came out of retirement in 1973 to join his sons on the WHA's Houston Aeros, the three Howes played on the same line. Mark, who scored 38 goals that season, was named the WHA's rookie of the year.
After recovering from a serious spinal injury caused by a collision with a fixed net (the NHL later installed detachable magnets to prevent similar accidents), Howe spent most of his NHL career (10 seasons) with the Philadelphia Flyers (1983-992). He produced two 20-goal seasons, was a First Team All-Star three times and made two appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals before a trade to Detroit, where he later got his name on the chalice twice as a Red Wings scout.