Friday, November 11, 2022

Paul Henderson? Mike Vernon? Anze Kopitar? It's a Hockey Hall of Fame Mailbag

I unabashedly love Hall of Fame debates. Always have. Years ago I had an editor tell me that HHOF stuff always bombs with readers, and maybe that’s true, but there are a few times a year when I decide to be selfish and do it anyway.

This week is one of those times, because the Hall will celebrate the class of 2023 over the weekend in the lead-up to Monday’s indication ceremony. On Wednesday, we looked at a half-dozen of the toughest calls among active players, with the help of Paul Pidutti from Adjusted Hockey. But some of you wanted to know about other guys, or complain about some of the players who are already in. So today, let’s open up the mailbag and see what else is on your mind.

Note: Submitted questions have been edited for clarity and style.

What about Anze Kopitar? How important is it for him to get to 400 goals? (I think if he stays healthy he’ll get to 800 assists and probably gets to 1,200 points, but without getting 400 goals.) – Sam

Kopitar is interesting because he’s going to be heavily linked with Patrice Bergeron and Jonathan Toews, as the trio of 200-foot centers who really made us rethink how we viewed two-way forwards during the dawn of the analytics era.

Bergeron is a slam dunk at this point, and while the case for Toews is much weaker, he’s probably also a lock because of how much respect he got during the Hawks’ peak. (Remember, he was named to the NHL’s Top 100 players of all time list, when fellow active players like Joe Thornton and Evgeni Malkin weren’t.)

Does that leave Kopitar as the odd man out?

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