We know Chris Pronger will likely be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame after he retires. But he wasn’t ours during his prime, and earned his spot before putting on the Orange and Black. Same exact thing for Jaromir Jagr. If he’d retired before ever going to Washington, he’s probably have enough of a resume. Everythign he did from the moment Pittsburgh traded him has been icing on the cake. So aside from those two, is there anyone else on the Flyers that has the potential to be great, all while playing for our team?
To make it to the Hall, it’s all about individual statistics and awards. Stay-at-home defensemen, shutdown forwards and other role players simply don’t make it. Also, as much as I think it’s stupid, winning Stanley Cups helps your cause. You have to be a star, you have to stand out to make it. So there are only a handful of guys on the team that might make it.
Candidates: Danny Briere, Claude Giroux, JVR, Ilya Bryzgalov
Briere has put up massive regular season numbers only once, and that was his final season in Buffalo. Since then, he’s been pretty good, but not great. Where he can make his mettle is the playoffs. 59 points in 57 games as a Flyer is an eye-popping stat. Even though he’s over 30, he’s still got enough time and enough opportunity to make his case. It will help if the team gets over the hump, and if he keep producing like he has the last 4 playoff seasons.
Giroux has been handed the reigns to the franchise. Barring any more insanity from Paul Holmgren, Giroux should be the main pivot in the team for a long, long time. That means he’s got a long time to pile on some big numbers, and stack the hardware. He’s going to have plenty of opportunity to do it, and he has the skill-set and the desire to be great. As long as he stays grounded and continues to work hard, he’s got a great opportunity.
JVR is in the same boat as G. Nobody would have thought anything special of him until these past playoffs. That’s when we saw what the scouts had seen before he was drafted. He’s got the build to be a awesome power-forward, and he’s got a heavy enough shot to light the lamp a lot more frequently than we’ve seen from him before. We’re really banking on him becoming a consistent offensive powerhouse. If he’s chipping in 30 goals every year, that’s not enough. He has to expect much, much more from himself, and has to take it to the next level. He’s not a 2nd overall pick who came to a perennially shitty franchise. He’s a 2nd overall pick that is part of a team that’s in the hunt every season. That means he’s got the supporting pieces and the foundation to let him live up to his potential.
Finally, we come to Bryzgalov. Forget his time in Anaheim. He put up good numbers, but he was stuck in a backup role for his entire time there. He started showing his greatness in Phoenix, and he helped a very weak team to some very good seasons. Now he’s on a club with legit Cup aspirations. And he’s locked in for a long, long time. If he is finally the stalwat in net that we’ve been looking for for decades, then he should put up some gaudy numbers. His W column should grow by close to 40 every season. If he only averages 30 wins over his 9 seasons, he’ll retire with 426 career wins. He’ll make his own life a bit easier by keeping his SV% high. That should be fairly easy for the next 2-4 seasons given the depth of defense in front of him.
There’s a lot of things that have to go right for a player to make it. They can work as hard as possible, but there’s a ton of external factors out of their control. Shitty linemates, bad coaching, injuries and a bunch of other things can derail a HOF career. But if you can’t control you, you can’t plan for it. So if these guys just focus on making themselves the best players that they can be, and if one or more of them really do enter the Hall once they hang up the skates, then hopefully between now and then we’ll see them bring home the ultimate prize.
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Tags: Anaheim Ducks Buffalo Sabres Chris Pronger Claude Giroux Danny Briere Hall Of Fame Ilya Bryzgalov Jaromir Jagr JVR Paul Holmgren Philadelphia Flyers Phoenix Coyotes Pittsburgh Penguins Washington Capitals