Weekly Question: If not Alfie, then who?
Which other longtime Senator might qualify?
Much has been made in recent days (and weeks, and years) of the continued snubbing of Daniel Alfredsson from the Hockey Hall of Fame. It says here that Alfie should be in, but this article isn’t setting out to persuade you of that fact as others have already laid out the case more convincingly than I could. For the curious, Graeme Nichols, aka 6th Sens, has a compelling write-up on his substack and Ian Mendes tackled the subject over at the Athletic. Instead, I’m interested in a different question: if not Alfie, then which other longtime Senator might get the call to the Hall?
For the purposes of this exercise, the player in question needs to have been a Senator for a long enough stretch of their career that the team has a real claim to being represented by his presence in the hall. This disqualifies Zdeno Chara, for example, because although Chara broke out in Ottawa he only spent four years of his (so far) 24 year career with the Sens. When Chara retires, he will unquestionably be remembered as a Bruin. For a player to be considered they need to have played if not the majority, then a large number of seasons with the Sens.
With that in mind, here are the best candidates as I see them:
Spezza’s career scoring numbers are impressive, his 976 career points have him in the top 100 all-time, and in his prime he was one of the 4-5 best centres in the league. Still, I see Spezza as a fringe candidate at best: he only once finished in the top 10 for voting for the Hart, and his productivity has dipped dramatically in the back half of his 30s as injuries and a loss of foot speed have reduced him to a depth player. If Giggles had stayed healthy and productive through his mid 30s he might be looking at 1100 or so points and his case would be much stronger. As it stands, I think he’ll stay forever in the Hall of Very Good.
I’m probably cheating a bit by including Stone on this list, but this is my list damnit so I’ll bend the rules if I want to. Unlike Spezza, Stone’s case for the Hall goes beyond his scoring numbers as he’s been in the top five for Selke voting each of the last five seasons. The biggest wildcard with Stone is whether Vegas can get over the hump and win a Stanley Cup. Fairly or not, Hall of Fame Voters prize team success and being the best player, and captain, of a Cup winner goes a long way to solidifying your credentials. Stone’s probably still an outside shot at best, but if Vegas does win the Cup and Stone takes home a Selke or two then I think there’s a real chance he makes it in.
A couple of years ago I would have said Karlsson was a lock for the Hall of Fame, but injuries and a dramatic turn of fortune for the San Jose Sharks have created some doubt about whether the dynamic Swede will make into the hallowed hall after all. There are not too many defensemen who can claim a stretch as good as Karlsson’s eight year run from 2011-12 to 2018-19. During that time, he accumulated a stunning 492 points in 545 games while twice winning the Norris and finishing as a runner-up two additional times. If Hall of Fame entry was based on a player’s peak alone, there would be no denying Karlsson. Alas, the Hall places a premium on longevity and it’s hard to see a situation in which injuries don’t play a major role in the rest of Karlsson’s career. That said if he’s reasonably healthy through his early 30’s I suspect he will amass enough counting numbers to make his case incontrovertible — but it’s not the sure thing it once was.
Chabot is admittedly a pretty big long shot all things considered, but in looking at the current roster he’s the one that I think has the best chance. He plays a tonne of minutes, and if he is able to return his counting numbers to his 2018-19 peak then there’s a chance he could work his way into the Norris conversation. Winning even one Norris trophy would significantly boost his prospects and with the Sens hopefully on the upswing his case might be drastically improved.
So what do you think, Sens fans? Which longtime Senator could actually make the Hall? Is there anyone I missed? Does one of the current group stand out to you as having a real chance? Let us know in the comments!