It's a couple of months before the balloting for the Hockey Hall of Fame is going to take place; there won't be much discussion until June when the 18-member selection committee convenes and casts their vote. The last time you heard anything regarding potential members of the 2013 Hall of Fame class, it had coincided the induction ceremony for the 2012 Hall of Fame class back in November 2012.
Despite the distance in time from the vote by the Induction Committee, it's never too early to start making a case for or against a player whose name will be kicked around as a potential inductee.
Waiting until the last minute to publicly discuss the candidacy of Dave Andreychuk and his Hall of Fame eligibility just seems like a disservice for the 23-season veteran.
Our question this week: Does Dave Andreychuk belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Why or why not?
Usually the procedure with the Raw Charge question of the week is for responses to come from Raw Charge staff and perhaps the broader Tampa Bay Lightning blogosphere (or Boltosphere as I like to call it). In the interest in representing more of where Dave played and getting a broader opinion from the hockey world, that rule has been changed this week.
Along with Raw Charge staff writers and other Lightning bloggers, representatives of three other franchises Dave played for contributed responses.
While not all teams are accounted for here (the missing representatives being for the Bruins and Avalanche), everyone else is covered. Special thanks to Andy Boron (Die By The Blade), Julian Sanchez (Pension Plan Puppets), and John Fischer (In Lou We Trust) for their contributions.
Nolan Whyte - Frozen Sheets Hockey
Does Dave Andreychuk belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Sure. Why? Because the entry criteria isn't really that exclusive.
Here's the thing about the HHOF: even if you weren't great, they'll let you in if you were very good for a long time, and that's the case with Dave. He was a good guy, played a long time, had some very good seasons, and stacked up some big career numbers. That is reason enough for the Hall to take him eventually. Eventually they take almost everybody (see: Ciccarelli, Dino).
Dave Andreychuk was never amazing. I don't think he was ever the best player on his team, and I'm not sure how many people ever paid a ticket to see him. But he has more than six hundred career goals, and generally that's enough for the Hall. It just might not be their highest priority.
Jason Haas - Sons of Andreychuk
He belongs, and it's quite simple for me. He holds the league record for power play goals, scored 640 over his career, and won a Cup, which seems to be a sort of invisible criteria when it's convenient. I really don't have anything else to say about it -- Dave's career and numbers speak for themselves.
Clark Brooks - Raw Charge staff writer
I believe wholeheartedly that Dave Andreychuk deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. While he was never considered one of the league's most spectacular talents, his career is a testament to consistency and dependability. He was never a team's primary offensive threat, yet he's one of only 279 players to play in over 1000 NHL games, one of just 79 players to amass over 1000 points and one of only 42 to score over 500 goals. Andreychuk's name is among the game's elite not because of spectacular highlights from a handful of games but because of hard work and dedication spread out evenly over 25 years.
Cassie McClellan - Raw Charge staff writer
I'm probably going to upset a lot of people with this, but no, I don't think Dave Andreychuk belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame. But, that's alright, because I don't think a lot of people do. You see, I think the Hockey Hall of Fame ought to be reserved for people who have changed or seriously impacted the game somehow.
For example, I think that Alexander Mogilny ought to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame (and he isn't) as he was the first Russian to defect from the Soviet Union during the Cold War to play in the NHL. Without Mogilny, there probably wouldn't have been Sergei Fedorov or Pavel Bure. Or, if there were, it wouldn't have been until much later. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Mogilny played 17 years and 990 games, plus scored 76 goals in 77 games in 1992-93 as well as 473 career goals (1032 career points), in the NHL afterwards, either.
Andreychuk certainly had a noteworthy career, but he hardly changed the game of hockey. One could argue that he captained a Sun Belt team to a Stanley Cup, but the Dallas Stars won the Cup before Tampa Bay did in 1999. While Andreychuk is near and dear to most Lightning fans' hearts, I don't consider him Hockey Hall of Fame worthy.
Justin Godfrey - The Hopeful Chase
Simply put, when you achieve "all time leader" status in any relevant category your name should be on the short list for the Hall of Fame. Especially a record that probably isn't going to fall for some time (unless the ageless Teemu Selanne keeps motoring along). Andreychuk might not have been the fastest skater or the most gifted athlete in the league but he was darn good at one thing - putting the puck in the back of the net. He lit the lamp 274 times on the power play more than anyone who has ever suited up in the NHL. There is a good chance that 270 of those goals were off of rebounds or deflections. Being able to own the front of the net when your team is attacking takes a tremendous amount of skill, hard work and willingness to absorb punishment.
Looking purely at his stats (top 10 in games played, top 15 in goals scored, top 30 in points) tells me that he should be a no-brainer for induction as a Honored Member, and that doesn't even take into account he intangible, off-ice characteristics that he possess. You don't technically have to be a nice guy to get in the Hockey Hall of Fame, but it sure is great when it happens.
Julian Sanchez - Pension Plan Puppets (Toronto Maple Leafs)
I think that Dave Andreychuk is the perfect example of a player that epitomizes the argument of whether a player should be in the Hall of Fame and whether he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. If you go by Hockey-Reference.com's Similarity Scores (a tool for comparing players) you'll see that Andreychuk compares favourably with plenty of HHoFers and future members.
But, like Dino Ciccarelli, Andreychuk's numbers may be sufficient to gain entrance they are more the function of longevity than sustained excellence. Andreychuk feasted on the power play where his particular strengths (a dogged determination, bear-like strength, and the ability to take a pounding) outweighed his weaknesses (skating like Bambi). The reality is that he was never really a team's primary scoring threat. As I said, however, he definitely ticks off the boxes for admission to the Hall. He's just not the sort that should be in the Hall of Fame. But that horse has bolted the barn so I look forward to seeing his induction ceremony.
Andy Boron - Die By The Blade (Buffalo Sabres)
Yes, Dave Andreychuk belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame. While he didn't show the highlight-reel talent of Buffalo teammates Gilbert Perreault or Alexander Mogilny, his remarkable consistency and production over his 23-year career should earn him a spot. For a guy who played the fifth most games in NHL history, ranks 14th all time in goals, has scored more power play goals than anyone ever, and was loved by every fan base he played for, I don't see any reason to hold him out. Most of the Sabres teams in the 1980's weren't very good, but Andreychuk always gave Buffalo fans something to cheer for.
John Fischer - In Lou We Trust (New Jersey Devils)
I do not think that Dave Andreychuk really does belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Dave Andreychuk has never had a season or time period where he was one of the dominant players in the NHL. Even though he developed and prospered as a forward through the high-scoring 1980s and early 1990s, his production was never among the league's best. He was only his team's leading scorer only three times in his 23 season career: 1985-86, 1986-87, and 1987-88, all with Buffalo. In all other seasons, he was definitely an important contributor but there was always someone else who produced more. He only cracked the 50-goal plateau twice (1991-92 with 54, 1992-93 with 53) and the 40-goal plateau four times (the aforementioned 50+ season, 1989-90 as a Sabre with 41, 1990-91 with 40 as Sabre). While Andreychuk is one of the few players ever with over 600 goals and 1,300 points, that's a testament to his longevity as a player and his skills not diminishing. That is impressive in of itself and I can understand if one argues that anyone who plays 1,639 games and is productive for the vast majority of a 23 season career deserves to be inducted to the HHOF. It is certainly impressive but without the peaks or superlative skill, I find it hard to rank him among the greatest players in the game, especially since it's arguable he wasn't even the best forward on his own team for much of his career. Therefore, I would argue against his inclusion unless someone has more compelling evidence than his massive career totals.
Patti McDonald - Raw Charge staff writer
There's no question in my mind that Dave Andreychuk deserves a hall of fame nod. He not only has a Stanley Cup under his belt but he has the most power play goals ever with 274.I believe he did change the game of hockey in a way. The way Andreychuk played on the power play cannot be mimicked.
Don't forget that he still remains the oldest player to make a Stanley Cup Finals debut at 40 years old and 7 months. He also is fifth in the NHL in games played at 1639.
Most importantly, Andreychuk is in the top 20 scoring club in the NHL. He ranks fourteenth all-time in goals scored with 640 goals.
With all these accolades, Andreychuk deserves to be in the elite class that is the Hockey Hall of Fame. I personally think his jersey should be retired with Tampa Bay although he didn't play most of career here. Just the way he ended his career with a Stanley Cup and the way he captained the team makes him deserves it. I remember the Lightning having a five minute ceremony for him a few seasons ago it was ridiculous he should have gotten a much better celebration for what he did for this town and team.
Dolly Reynolds - Bolts by the Bay
Dave Andreychuk should most certainly be included in the HHOF. Not only because he was the captain of a team who fought tooth and nail to get the Stanley Cup, but his numbers speak for themselves. He brought a style and a presence to the ice that demanded respect. (Still does.) He demands respect by his demeanor, not by force. You want to respect him. He played in games that the numbers of fans have standing records, and his power play record still stands. He's one of those guys who stand out as a hockey great even though he wasn't a Red Wing. (Thank God.) Though he was a Leaf, but we won't talk about that ;) .