This year, nominees for the Hall of Fame include Mark Messier, Scott Stevens, Ron Francis, and Al MacInnis. The selection comitee has not yet made its selections, but it's fairly certain all of them will be inducted. Obviously, this is a very impressive class. How does it compare to other years?
Four players have been inducted since the limit of four was established in the late 90s. That was in 2001, when Fetisov, Kurri, Hawerchuk and Gartner were inducted. Fetisov and Kurri rate among the top 10 all-time at their respective positions. Gartner got in thanks to his remarkable year-to-year consistency. Hawerchuk was a very controversial snub from 2000, and you knew the HHOF selection committee wouldn't submit themselves to the same criticism again.
Other notable years since caps existed on the number of inductees (Wikipedia is the source, so forgive me if there are errors):
*1997: Mario Lemieux (no three-year wait period) and Bryan Trottier as players, plus Glen Sather as a builder.
*1988: Guy Lafleur, a gimmie for the top 5 RWs ever, and Brad Park, the best defenceman without a Norris. Tony Esposito and Buddy O'Connor were also enshrined.
*1983: Likely the best ever for players who waited the full three years. Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Ken Dryden. Best LW ever, and two others who deserve consideration for the top five at their respective positions.
*1979: They waived the three-year wait for Bobby Orr. Henri Richard and Harry Howell also went in.
*1972: How special was this class? They waived the three-year wait for two players: Gordie Howe and Jean Beliveau. Bernie Geoffrion is one of the top 50 ever. Hap Holmes and Hooley Smith were deserving inductees, too.
Keep in mind that the HHOF didn't always cap the number of inductees. They inducted 27 players in 62. While Harry Cameron, Punch Broadbent, Didier Pitre, Nels Stewart and Sweeney Schriner deserved to be inducted, many of the obscure HHOFers came from that year.
On the flip side, they inducted nine in 66, and nobody will dispute the credentials of Max Bentley, Toe Blake, Emile Bouchard, Frank Brimsek, Ted Kennedy, Elmer Lach or Ted Lindsay.
Last edited by God Bless Canada: 06-27-2007 at 07:50 PM.