Every NHL team’s most likely future Hall of Famer: Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin among locks

Some of hockey’s all-time greats are enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame, which is located in Toronto. There is no official criteria to help decide which players earn this very special honor. However, based on past voting, it’s not hard to see what voters look for in a Hall of Famer that is enshrined in Toronto.

In utilizing some obvious criteria when selecting which players get elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame, I’ve created a list that includes one player active on every NHL team right now that has the greatest chance of being enshrined in Toronto once their career is complete. Here is the criteria that was used in selecting the most likely players that could be Hall of Fame bound one day and whether they’re currently a “lock” for that distinctive honor.

  • Career statistics 
  • Career accolades 
  • Team/individual success 

Which player from your favorite team made the cut? Let’s take a closer look.

Anaheim Ducks: Troy Terry (C/RW)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • Like many teams on this list, the Anaheim Ducks are in a rebuilding mode of sorts and have an abundance of young talent on their roster. So, it’s a little harder to forecast a potential Hall of Famer.
  • Terry is one of just four players in franchise history to score more than 35 goals in a season. During the 2021-22 campaign, Terry scored 37 goals and dished out 30 assists in 75 games. 

Arizona Coyotes: Phil Kessel (RW)*

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • Kessel proved to be an integral part of the Penguins‘ back-to-back Stanley Cup-winning teams in 2016 and 2017.
  • He’s closing in on 1,000 career points and does have a pair of Stanley Cups under his belt from his tenure with the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

*: Yes, I’m bending the rules a little bit in terms of choosing a current Coyotes player and potentially even a Hall of Famer. Why? The Arizona Coyotes have spent six of the last eight years as an under .500 team. Kessel is the only recent Coyote to even warrant consideration.


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Boston Bruins: Patrice Bergeron (C)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: Yes

Patrice Bergeron is simply adding to his Hall of Fame resume at this point. Bergeron has won the Selke Trophy, which is annually awarded to the top defensive forward, on five different occasions, including in 2022. The versatile center also is a three-time All-Star and Stanley Cup champion while ranking in the top five in Bruins history in points (982), goals (400), assists (582), power-play goals (122), and game-winning goals (74).

Buffalo Sabres: Rasmus Dahlin (D)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • Dahlin has already played himself into the upper echelon of the league’s blue-liners. He is coming off a season in which he registered the third-most points on the team, including a career-high 40 assists.
  • If Dahlin can put himself in the Norris Trophy conversation on a few occasions during his career, a spot in Toronto could certainly be in the cards..

Calgary Flames: Jonathan Huberdeau (LW)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • Huberdeau really boosted his stock with a career-high 115-point 2021-22 season. He’s registered at least 78 points in each of the last three full NHL seasons, but had never had more than 92 points in a season.
  • If 100-point seasons become the new norm, there’s no doubt that Huberdeau will be a Hall of Famer, considering he’s only 29 and in the prime of his career.

Carolina Hurricanes: Brent Burns (D)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • Burns, 37, has established himself as one of the top scoring defenseman in NHL history. He has amassed 172 goals and 472 assists and five seasons in which he recorded at least 60 points. 
  • If Burns can hang around for three or four more seasons and still earn 50-point seasons, a call to Toronto can easily happen.

Chicago Blackhawks: Patrick Kane (RW)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: Yes

It’s possible that both Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. If I’m being forced to pick one, the choice has to be Kane. The Blackhawks winger will go down in history as one of the best American-born players to ever lace up a pair of skates in the NHL. The accolades are endless for Kane —  nine All-Star Games, three-time Stanley Cup champion, Hart Trophy winner (2016) and Conn Smythe Trophy winner (2013) — just to name a few. With nearly 1,200 points already to his name, Kane has already earned the right to be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Colorado Avalanche: Cale Makar (D)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • Makar was one of the biggest factors in Colorado’s Stanley Cup run this past season. It was a sensational season, as the former first-round pick won the Norris Trophy (given to the NHL’s best defenseman) and Conn Smythe Award (given to the playoff MVP). 
  • Makar has recorded 180 points (48 goals and 132 assists) in just three professional seasons. The 23-year-old star obviously has a long way to go, but Makar is already drawing comparisons to Boston Bruins great Bobby Orr.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Johnny Gaudreau (LW)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • Johnny Gaudreau was a six-time All-Star during his nine years with the Calgary Flames. During that time, he tallied 609 points (210 goals & 399 assists) while recording a career-high 115 points during the 2021-22 season.
  • Now he’ll be playing on a line in Columbus with Patrik Laine, which should continue to allow Gaudreau to showcase his playmaking ability that has transformed him into one of the top stars in the sport. 

Dallas Stars: Joe Pavelski (C/RW)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: Yes

For over a decade, Joe Pavelski was the face of the San Jose Sharks franchise. He ranks second in goals (355), power-play goals (221), game-winning goals (60), third in points (1,111) and fourth in assists (406) in the team’s history. He’s actually registered the most playoff goals (64) by an American-born player in NHL history. Even in his late 30s, Pavelski has tallied back-to-back 25-goal seasons, while even recording a career-best 81-point season during the 2021-22 campaign.

Detroit Red Wings: Moritz Seider (D)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • Seider started off his NHL career by winning the Calder Trophy this year.
  • In his rookie campaign, Seider tallied 50 points (seven goals & 43 assists) and became just the fifth defenseman to win the Calder Trophy in the past 20 years. 
  • He obviously has a long way to go in his career, but producing an award-winning season in his first professional year certainly sets the bar high.

Edmonton Oilers: Connor McDavid (C)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • McDavid may the top player that the NHL has to offer right now.
  • In four of the past six seasons, the Oilers star has led the NHL in points, including a 123-point performance this past season.
  • He has led the league in assists in two of the past six seasons. 
  • It’s hard to label as a lock just because he’s only been in the league since 2015, but assuming he continues to stay healthy, McDavid will have a home in the Hockey Hall of Fame someday. 

Florida Panthers: Joe Thornton (C)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: Yes

When you think about a playmaking center, Joe Thornton should be one of the first names that comes to mind. Thornton has enjoyed a 24-year career as a member of the Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs and now the Florida Panthers. Thornton’s 2005-06 season will go down as one of the most impressive single-season performances by a player. “Jumbo Joe” registered 125 points, which was the most in NHL history by a player that switched teams during the campaign. The six-time All-Star is winding down his career, but has already turned in one that has the makings of a Hall of Famer with 1,055 points (251 goals & 804 assists) to his credit.

Los Angeles Kings: Anze Kopitar (C)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • During his 16-year NHL career, the Kings center has accumulated 1,067 points (365 goals and 702 assists). He currently ranks second in team history in assists and only trails Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne in that department.
  • He also ranks fourth in points in team history and helped bring two Stanley Cups to Los Angeles.
  • In my opinion, Kopitar is a Hall of Famer, but he also doesn’t play in what you’d call a hockey hotbed, which could hinder his chances.

Minnesota Wild: Marc-Andre Fleury (G)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: Yes

When you talk about the top goaltenders of all-time, Marc-Andre Fleury is in that conversation. He’s amassed 520 wins, a 2.57 goals-against-average, a .913 save percentage and 71 shutouts during his 18-year NHL career. Only Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy have more wins. Fleury helped lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to three Stanley Cups during his 13 seasons with the franchise. In addition, Fleury won the Vezina Trophy in 2021 at 36 years old as a member of the Golden Knights. He’s already going to get the call to Toronto when his career is over.

Montreal Canadiens: Carey Price (G)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: Yes

It’s no secret that Carey Price ranks as one of the top goalies in the modern era of hockey. The Montreal Canadiens netminder has racked up 361 career wins, which puts him only behind Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on the active list. Price joins Jacques Plante (1961-62), Jose Theodore (2001-02) and Dominik Hasek (1996-97, 1997-98) as the only goalies to win the Hart and Vezina Trophies in the very same season. During the 2014-15 season when he achieved that feat, Price put together a 44-16-6 record to go along with a 1.96 goals-against-average and a .933 save percentage. Price hasn’t made a determination on if his playing career is over, but regardless he has likely done enough to reach Hockey Hall of Fame status.

Nashville Predators: Roman Josi (D)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • Josi has placed himself among the NHL’s top defensemen as he’s been a Norris Trophy finalist in two of the last three seasons and won it in 2020.
  • The four-time All-Star is coming off a career-best 96-point season (23 goals and 73 assists) and finished second in the Norris Trophy voting to Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche. 
  • Josi’s offensive acumen allowed him to record more points in a season than any player in team history. He’s not quite a Hall of Famer just yet, but if he can put together a few more elite seasons, there should be no doubt that he’ll be in Toronto one day.

New Jersey Devils: Jack Hughes (C)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • In 49 games this past season, Hughes accumulated a career-high 56 points (26 goals and 30 assists) while being tied for the team lead in goals with Jesper Bratt
  • The Devils star was also an All-Star for the first time in his career.
  • Hughes is just 21 years old, so tabbing him for the Hall of Fame is very premature. If he can shed the injury bug, an enshrinement in Toronto may not be out of the question.

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New York Islanders: Zdeno Chara

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: Yes

There are few players that have as commanding of a presence as veteran defenseman Zdeno Chara. At 6’9, 250 pounds, Chara covers a lot of ground and has a cannon of a shot from the point. He was one of the big reasons that the Boston Bruins won a Stanley Cup in 2011 and will go down as one of the top players in franchise history. Now with the Islanders, he has 680 points (209 goals & 471 assists), which ranks 29th all-time in that department. Chara’s was a natural-born leader on top of the numbers that he put together while on the ice. That should be more than enough to put him in Toronto someday.

New York Rangers: Igor Shesterkin (G)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • Shesterkin led the NHL in both goals-against-average and save percentage during the 2021-22 season.
  • He won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goalie in just his second season. In his Vezina-winning season, Shesterkin posted a 36-13-4 record, a league-best 2.07 goals-against-average and a league-best .935 save percentage while also recording six shutouts. 
  • Shesterkin has only been a starting netminder for two years, but after what he accomplished in such a short time, Hall of Fame aspirations aren’t crazy to think about.

Ottawa Senators: Claude Giroux (C)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • Giroux is currently 13th among active players in points (923) while sitting in sixth place in the assists department (629).
  • If he can turn in a couple more strong campaigns, a place in Toronto could certainly be attainable.

Philadelphia Flyers: Sean Couturier (C)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • Couturier has developed into one of the top two-way centers around– he even won the Selke Trophy as the league’s top defensive forward during the 2019-20 campaign. 
  • Couturier has registered 460 points (180 goals & 280 assists) while recording 370 blocked shots in his 11 years in Philadelphia. If Couturier ends up being moved down the road or the Flyers can surround him with more talent, it’ll go a long way towards improving Couturier’s Hall of Fame resume.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Sidney Crosby (C)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: Yes

Duh. Sidney Crosby is going to go down as one of the best NHL players ever. He is one of just 19 players that has won the Hart Trophy (MVP) multiple times. He’s also a two-time Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP) as he earned the honor during two of the Penguins’ three Stanley Cup-winning postseasons. Crosby has registered 1,409 points during his 17-year NHL career, which is good for 22nd on the all-time points list. There’s no doubt that the Penguins center will be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame one day.

San Jose Sharks: Erik Karlsson (D)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • Karlsson ranks third among active NHL defenseman in points (660) and in the 2011-12 campaign, Karlsson set a Senators franchise record by points in a season by a defenseman (78). 
  • He registered 20-goal seasons in back-to-back years and has topped the 60-point mark in six of his 13 seasons.
  • Karlsson, 32, already has 518 points to his credit over his career and should be able to add plenty more over the next couple of seasons to improve his candidacy for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

St. Louis Blues: Vladimir Tarasenko (RW)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • In each of his last six full NHL seasons, Tarasenko has scored at least 33 goals.
  • The Blues star has accumulated 524 points (252 goals & 272 assists) during that time and was an integral part of the Blues’ run to the first Stanley Cup in franchise history in 2019. 
  • While it seems that Tarasenko has been around forever, he’s still only 30. He’ll certainly need several more 30-goal seasons to put him in the conversation for the Hockey Hall of Fame, but he has a shot.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Steven Stamkos (C)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: Yes

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Corey Perry and Victor Hedman are all good options here. But the best option is Steven Stamkos. The Lightning star center has recorded more points (972) than any player in franchise history. After having two down years by Stamkos’ usual standards, he compiled a 106-point season in 2021-22 and helped lead the Lightning back to their third consecutive Stanley Cup Final appearance. Stamkos holds many franchise records, including most career goals (422), most goals in a single season (60), most game-winning goals in a single season (12), most career hat tricks (9) and most career power-play goals (155). There’s no doubt that Stamkos will be enshrined in Toronto one day.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Auston Matthews (C)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • Matthews has led the league in goals in each of the last two seasons, including a career-high 60 goals during the 2021-22 season. For those efforts, Matthews won the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP. 
  • Additionally, Matthews became the first player in Maple Leafs history to score 60 goals in a season. Obviously, Matthews is just 24, but the sky is the limit for how high his flag can fly.

Vancouver Canucks: Elias Pettersson (C)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • At 23, Pettersson’s career has gotten off to a very strong start with 221 points over his first four professional seasons.
  • Pettersson’s accolades already include winning the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie in 2019 and being selected to a pair of All-Star Games. As is the case with many of these selections, Pettersson likely has 10-15 years remaining in his career, so it’s tough to forecast if he’ll keep producing at an elite level. But the hall of fame potential is there.

Vegas Golden Knights: Jack Eichel (C)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • Following spinal cord surgery, Eichel tallied 14 goals and 11 assists in 34 games for a Golden Knights team that missed the postseason for the first time in their brief history. 
  • With a full offseason under his belt, it’s very realistic that Eichel will return to his pre-surgery form and excel in Vegas. Eichel has 355 points thus far in his NHL career.
  • Despite just finishing up his seventh NHL season, Eichel is 25 and likely has a decade or more left in his career.

Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin (LW)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: Yes

One of the other few obvious ones on this list. Alex Ovechkin currently has the third-most goals (780) in league history as he only sits behind Wayne Gretzky (894) and Gordie Howe (801). During the 2021-22 campaign, Ovechkin topped the 50-goal mark yet again and in doing so, tied Gretzky and Mike Bossy for the most 50-goal seasons in NHL history. It’s likely that Ovechkin can break Gretzky’s all-time goals record. Whether he achieves that feat or not, Ovechkin has already more than secured his place in Toronto.

Winnipeg Jets: Blake Wheeler (RW)

Current Hall of Fame “lock”: No

  • Wheeler has accumulated 740 points (239 goals & 501 assists), which makes him the all-time leader in points, goals and assists for the team. 
  • Over the course of his NHL career, Wheeler has recorded 867 points, which is 15th among active players. Wheeler has also added nine seasons of at least 60 points. 
  • Wheeler is currently 35, so he may not have a ton of tread left on the tires. Still, a couple more productive seasons would have to at least place him in the conversation to be enshrined.



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