The Iron-Clad Case for the Sedins in the HHOF

The Sedin twins have been taking a lot of criticism this season, and some of it is definitely fair. The two franchise icons are showing their age and noticeably slowing down, an issue that is compounded by the fact that they were never all that fast to begin with. Still, the Sedins continue to work hard every night and maintain a point-per-game average that is more than respectable, and it’s important for fans to not lose focus on what we’re really witnessing: the tail end of the careers of the two greatest players in Vancouver Canucks history.

The Sedins are quickly approaching some serious milestones. Henrik Sedin will become the first Canuck to cross the 1000 point mark sometime in January, as he only needs 10 more points. Daniel is 37 points from 1000, which sadly means he isn’t guaranteed to hit it this season, but will for sure by 2017/18. Perhaps more impressively, the Sedins will likely pass Henri and Maurice Richard for second all time in NHL points between brothers. Right now, they trail the legendary Richards by 58 points, which they should easily pick up this season barring any unfortunate injuries. This would leave the Sedins trailing only the inhuman Wayne Gretzky and the four points of his brother Brent.

With all that being said, now seems like as good a time as any to talk about the Hockey Hall of Fame status of Henrik and Daniel Sedin. Many used to scoff at the notion, but the hockey world in general has warmed up to the idea since. When one looks at all the variables, it’s hard not to think that the twins are a virtual slam dunk for HHOF inclusion.

 

The Raw Stats

Both Sedins will finish their careers with over 1000 points, which is usually the standard, generic benchmark for the Hockey Hall of Fame. Their goal totals are arguably low for HHOF standards, but that’s due to their style of play. Daniel’s stat-line looks more like a stereotypical Hall of Famer with his nearly 400 goals, but that only highlights Henrik’s status as an all-time great playmaker. The fact that these totals were accumulated with one single franchise definitely helps make them look more impressive.

Very few players from the same era as the Sedins will have topped their point totals when all is said and done. Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin are firmly in another generation of players, so Joe Thornton and Martin St. Louis are left as the only two contemporary players with stats anywhere near the Sedins’ ballpark. Thornton’s totals are nearly impossible for the twins to catch, but each should surpass St. Louis sometime next season.

While the Sedins may not have the mind-blowing statistical accomplishments of some other HHOF members, one has to remember that they did all this while playing in one of the lowest scoring eras in NHL history. While the Sedins did enjoy an uptick in offense in the wake of the 2005 lockout and its tightened rulebook, they played most of their careers in the “dead puck” eras that bookended that brief offensive flourish.

This list of all-time NHL leaders in adjusted points, maintained by hockey-reference.com, is not a perfect science, but it does rank Henrik and Daniel at 61st and 67th respectively, as opposed to their real-life ranks of 84 and 91:

http://www.hockey-reference.com/leaders/points_adjusted_career.html

By this method of counting points, the Sedins are sure to finish inside the top 50 of all-time. No matter how inexact you believe the science of adjusting points to be, that’s an incredibly impressive accomplishment. Tweaked stats aside, the twins will likely finish their careers inside the top 75 raw point scorers in NHL history, another great accomplishment.

 

The Accomplishments

Speaking of accomplishments, the Sedins have some of the individual variety that strongly suggest they are HHOF material. Both Sedins have an Art Ross Trophy, but Henrik has the ultimate trump card with his 2010 Hart Trophy. Only two Hart Trophy winners, Tommy Anderson and Al Rollins, have not been subsequently elected to the Hall of Fame, and it’s been more than half a century since. However, the Art Rosses might be more important, overall, as no player has ever won the Art Ross and then missed out on Hall inclusion.

As team members, the Sedins are still missing that ever elusive Stanley Cup, although they do have a finals appearance. On the international stage, their Olympic Gold Medals in 2006 and World Championship Gold in 2013 are obvious standouts that only help their HHOF case.

 

The Comparables

The Sedins are easily the very best of their own draft class, with fellow Swede Henrik Zetterberg the only other draftee anywhere near HHOF status. Looking at the two adjacent draft years, 1998 and 2000, there are also no other sure-fire Hall of Famers, although Pavel Datsyuk and his shortened career will probably make the cut.

One has to go back two full drafts to find anyone who could be considered more Hall-worthy than the Sedins, and that’s Joe Thornton in 1997 and his nearly 1,400 points, along with their former teammate Roberto Luongo. All of this goes to show that whenever the Sedins retire, there won’t be many, if any, better candidates for HHOF entry. It seems likely that the twins won’t just enter the Hall, but do so as first balloters.

 

The Uniqueness

The Sedins should each get into the Hockey Hall of Fame based on their individual accomplishments, but the fact remains that they didn’t really achieve those results as individuals. The Sedins have been inextricably linked throughout their careers, and have played approximately 99% of the time on each other’s line. They’ve each indisputably boosted and defined the other’s hockey legacy. However, that shouldn’t be held against them, and especially not when it comes to Hockey Hall of Fame inclusion. The word “fame” is right in there, after all, and the notion of having two twin brothers playing a team sport together at an elite level isn’t just unique to hockey, but to all of sports. There have been other twins that played professional sports together, but none have dominated their games quite like the Sedins.

All in all, the question of whether or not the Sedins will one day be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame shouldn’t even be a question anymore. No matter what happens throughout the rest of their careers, one can probably bank on them entering the Hall exactly three years after their retirements. And one can also bet good money that they’ll do so together.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s