I thought it would be interesting to look at Hall of Famers who played on last-place teams. (MXD, I’m stealing your idea, but with a twist).
When two teams had the same amount of points, I designated the team with the fewest wins as “last-place”. For example, in 1969 Minnesota and Pittsburgh both had 51 points, but Minnesota is ranked last due to having fewer wins (18 vs 20).
I'm not going to go mention every extreme long shot candidate or “Hall of Very Good” player (Weight, Vaive, Goring, etc.)
I'm also not mentioning very young players (Jeff Carter or Mike Richards on 2007 Flyers) just because they have a chance of building up a HOF resume over the next fifteen years.
As far as I can tell, the “winner” is the 1990 Nordiques, with four Hall of Fame members. Quebec featured Peter Stastny and Michel Goulet (both of whom were traded before the end of the year), a 20 year old Joe Sakic, and a 38 year old Guy Lafleur (who played less than half the season). Mats Sundin joined the Nordiques the following year (where they finished last place as well). The Nordiques “last place dynasty” featured a total of five Hall of Famers.
The 1987 Buffalo Sabres have the most players who are routinely mentioned as HOF candidates. Gilbert Perreault and Clarke Gillies are already members. Housley, Andreychuk and Barrasso are all often brought up as Hall of Fame candidates, though that makes me nauseous. Still, the ’87 Sabres have five Hall of Fame candidates.
Now that there are no more truly terrible expansion teams (see: mid seventies, early to mid nineties), it’s not that uncommon for a last place team to have at HOF candidates.
Let me know if I've missed anybody.
2010: Edmonton. None.
2009: Islanders. None.
2008: Tampa. St. Louis has a reasonable chance. Lecavalier and Richards may make it, but have a long way to go.
2007: Philadelphia. Forsberg is a lock.
2006: St. Louis. Tkachuk is unlikely, but has a chance.
2004: Pittsburgh. Lemieux is already in.
2003: Carolina. Francis is already in. Brind'Amour has a chance.
2002: Atlanta. They're not there yet, but Kovalchuk and Heatley are certainly on track.
2001: Islanders. None.
2000: Atlanta. None.
1999: Tampa Bay. Lecavalier has a chance but has a long way to go.
1998: Tampa Bay. None.
1997: Boston. Bourque is already in. Oates almost certainly will be in, it's surprising he hasn't been inducted yet.
1996: Ottawa. Alfredsson has a reasonable chance.
1995: Ottawa. None. Worth mentioning that Troy Murray (former Selke winner) played partial seasons for both the '94 and '95 Senators, though I don't think he even qualifies for the "Hall of Very Good".
1994: Ottawa. None.
1993: Ottawa. None.
1992: San Jose. At this point it appears highly unlikely Doug Wilson will ever make it.
1991: Quebec. Lafleur is already in. Sakic is a lock. Sundin will likely make it.
1990: Quebec. Lafleur, Stastny and Goulet are already in. Sakic is a lock.
1989: Quebec. Stastny and Goulet are already in. Sakic is a lock.
1988: Minnesota. It pains me to type this, but Ciccarelli is in the Hall. Dirk Graham, former Selke winner, was briefly on the North Stars.
1987: Buffalo: Perreault and Gillies are already in. (I bet few people remember that Gillies spent a couple of seasons as a Sabre). For reasons that I don’t fully understand, Housley and Andreychuk and often considered HOF candidates. Barrasso probably deserves to be mentioned as a longshot candidate.
1986: Detroit. Yzerman is already in. Oates should be.
1985: Toronto. Salming is already in.
1984: Pittsburgh. None. I'm not sure if Randy Carlyle even qualifies for the "Hall of Very Good", but I thought it's interesting that this former Norris winner was on two last place teams ('83 and '84 Penguins).
1983: Pittsburgh. None.
1982: Colorado. McDonald is in.
1981: Winnipeg. None.
1980: Colorado. McDonald is in.
1979: Colorado. None.
1978: Minnesota. None.
1977: Detroit. Giacomin is in.
1976: Washington. None.
1975: Washington. None. (It’s worth mentioning that even though this is easily one of the worst teams in NHL history, they have some players with surprisingly good careers – Doug Mohns, Rod Seiling).
1974: California. None.
1973: Islanders. Smith is in.
1972: Vancouver. None.
1971: California. Howell is in.
1970: Los Angeles. Duff, somehow, is in.
1969: Minnesota. Boivin, another relatively weak selection, is in.
1968: Oakland. None.
Also interesting to see which players who have been on a last-place team have went on to win a major personal award.
...Well after His Career ended in 1970, Mr. McKenney joined longtime teammate Fern Flaman on the Coaching staff of a failing & moribound Northeastern University Hockey program..As Head Recruiter for the school, He patiently, arduously scoured wintry Canada seeking potential talent, thus, over decades, building one of the best & long lasting recruitment networks of any American University..Was still in use long after His retirement..Was élected to the Northeastern Hall of Fame soon after...Must be worth a mention... As for Doug Mohns played so long in the NHL, He should be mentioned as a builder!! LOL!!