You would absolutely hate my Hockey Hall of Fame. It would be more exclusive than a dating app for single billionaires.
In the current setup, too many mortals are granted immortality. To be enshrined with the likes of Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Nicklas Lidstrom is to be counted as one of the greatest athletes in professional sports history. Not a compiler. Not a coattail rider. Someone who defined their NHL era and, in the process, redefined aspects of the game.
Crosby is the most dominant, complete player of his era. Given that era, I think he easily cracks the top 10 forwards all-time and could even be in the top 5. Also given that era, Ovechkin is the best goal-scorer in NHL history, with or without shattering Gretzky’s career mark.
Bergeron doesn’t have the same level of statistical impact, but he’s going to retire as the best defensive center of all time, who was the engine for one of his era’s most constantly great teams. Hedman and Erik Karlsson both climbed the ladder to grab Lidstrom’s vacant “NHL’s top defenseman” title simultaneously, but Karlsson slipped back down to the ring canvas. Hedman wore that belt through six straight Norris Trophy nominations, one win, a Conn Smythe and back-to-back Stanley Cups.
(Karlsson still holds the briefcase with a contract for an eventual rematch.)
I know there are some that will believe it’s way too early to bestow this honor on McDavid, who has played 503 games in eight seasons. I’d argue that with 729 points in those games, two MVP trophies (and four times as a finalist), McDavid has had one of the most dominant multiseason runs in sports history, full stop. He could be Thanos-snapped out of existence tomorrow, and would have had a Hall of Fame career, both in dominance and influence.