Is this the year Daniel Alfredsson will finally get his call to the Hockey Hall of Fame?
We’ll be waiting with bated breath to find out Monday afternoon… and he’s got a chance.
You won’t get an argument from anybody in Ottawa that the former Senators’ captain deserves to be honored with the hockey greats at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, but his election is in the hands of the committee that will wrap up its two days of meetings Monday.
This is the fifth year Alfredsson, 49, has been eligible and if it doesn’t happen now, it’s fair to start wondering if it ever will. It’s hard to believe Alfredsson hasn’t received his election to the HHOF, but this is where we sit.
Alfredsson finished his career with 444 goals, 713 assists and 1,157 points in 1,246 NHL games while he also added another 100 points (51-49) in 121 playoff games with Ottawa. His numbers in the regular-season place him 55th amongst all-time NHL scorers.
He won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie-of-the-year in 1996.
Not only did he help take the Senators to the Stanley Cup final in 2007 against the Anaheim Ducks, Alfredsson was a player who paid the price every night. He was widely respected because he was as good defensively as he was offensively and led the way with his work ethic.
Named the club’s captain in 1999, Alfredsson suited up for 1,178 games with the Senators before signing with the Detroit Red Wings to close out his career. He never won a Cup; some believe that might be one of the reasons that Alfredsson has been passed over so far.
Selected No. 133 overall in the sixth round by the late John Ferguson Sr., Alfredsson also had an incredible career overseas and was named to the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2018. He suited up for Sweden at the Olympics five times and helped lead the country to gold in 2006 at Turin, Italy.
The push has been on to get Alfredsson into the HHOF since he became eligible four years ago, but he hasn’t been able to receive the 75% of support needed from the 18-member committee to get over the top.
It won’t be any easier for Alfredsson judging by the class that’s eligible this time.
When this process started, the Senators were hoping Alfredsson would be the first player in the modern day history of the franchise drafted by the club that received inductee honours. That changed in June, 2020 when former Ottawa winger Marian Hossa was selected.
Alfredsson is facing stiff competition, as his retirement following the 2013-14 campaign gets further in the rearview mirror.
This year’s class could be tough to crack with former Florida Panthers’ goaltender Roberto Luongo eligible for the first time along with Vancouver Canucks’ stars Daniel and Henrik Sedin. There is talk in hockey circles that trio could be first-ballot hall-of-famers.
That’s not where it ends either.
Former Detroit Red Wings’ captain Henrik Zetterberg is also eligible for the first time, and many believe he’ll get in at some point. He finished with 337 goals and 960 points in 1,082 NHL games, plus he won a Stanley Cup with the Wings along with Olympic gold.
People who watch this process closely believe there’s a recency bias where the Hockey Hall of Fame committee is concerned.
Many don’t believe Zetterberg will be a first-ballot hall-of-fame selection but his advantage over Alfredsson is, he’s now in the mix and won a Cup.
Hockey Hall of Fame bylaws allow for a maximum of six players (four men, two women) to be inducted annually, along with two individuals in the referee/linemen and builder categories.
That adds another layer to what is already a difficult process for many to understand.
In order to make the Hockey Hall of Fame, someone has to present on your behalf then a decision is made in voting committee. Alfredsson isnt the only former player waiting to see if he’s going to get the call.
When you go down the list of players who remain eligible and have been passed over, the most glaring to me is Rod Brind’Amour. He finished with 452 goals and 1,184 points in 1,484 games in his career plus he won a Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2015.
He’s not the only one missing. Alexander Mogilny, Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Theoren Fleury and goaltender Tom Barrasso are names that have been overlooked.
Having been passed over, it feels like Alfredsson has fallen into the group that has to wait every year to see if it’s their turn.
The best-case scenario for the Senators would allow the only player in modern history to have his No. 11 pulled to the rafters by entering the Hockey of Hall of Fame with the late Bryan Murray in the builders category. Maybe this is the day we see that happen.
The next step is up to the committee. After two years of meeting virtually because of COVID-19, they’ll be back in person and HHOF chair Lanny McDonald will make the announcement of this year’s inductees at 3 pm EDT on TSN.