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11-24-2012, 03:53 PM
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I tend to place some emphasis on the Bill James format that is often used for determining the worthiness of baseball players for the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. One of the questions that's often put forward is, was the player ever considered the best in their position at any point?

I would argue that in Sundin's case, that would be a yes, despite its brevity. He could certainly be argued to have been the NHL's best centre in 2002 (I've always felt he should have been the First Team selection that year over Sakic). Led the position in goals and points while finishing second in the NHL in goals and fourth in points in total.

Alfredsson never had a season relative to his peers as good, so for peak performance I think Sundin has the edge. There is an argument to be made that Mats' 1997 season is the best of the bunch between the two countrymen (I think adjusted it's worth 107 points given it was at the hart of the dead puck era rather than the 94 he recorded), but relative to their peers I like Mats' 2002 season as an example of highest level of play.

With that said, and we are certainly splitting hairs here to some extent, I would have Alfredsson in my personal Hall of Fame. His status as the face of the Senators franchise for so many years, his consistency, and his decent international pedigree, are all points in his favour, as is his defensive reputation and leadership ability, at least in some circles on the latter point (I never considered him a great leader personally). His warts are a relatively late start to his career, some unfortunate post-season failures, and a lack of leading some very talented Ottawa rosters to the promised land.

In any case he is a justifiable Hall of Famer, and certainly a better candidate than players such as enshrined names like Joe Mullen, Joe Nieuwendyk, Dick Duff, and Clark Gillies., but he's probably a little bit towards the lower-end of the tier out of those currently in.

He'll retire a little bit shy of 500 goals, with around 1,100 points, an Olympic gold medal, and as one of the longest-serving captains in NHL history. For the bulk of that offensive production to have been accumulated throughout one of the lowest scoring eras in NHL history, and maintain a reputation as an effective two-way presence is certainly commendable. His post-season statistics are pedestrian, but he did have that excellent run in 2007 and deserves credit for elevating his game that season. Alfie probably won't be a first-ballot selection, but he will get in eventually I think. The committee likes to reward players such as him that demonstate such obvious loyalty to their sole franchise and stay in one spot throughout their careers.

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