Who's your choice as next Cap in Hall of Fame?

Who's your choice as next Cap in Hall of Fame?
November 14, 2012, 10:00 am
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Now that the 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame festivities are behind us and the selection committee finally righted a wrong by inducting Adam Oates, who is the next former Capital to be inducted?

Olie Kolzig? Dale Hunter? Peter Bondra?

All three were on this year’s ballot, with Kolzig being a first-time candidate.

“I’d love to see it happen,” Kolzig said with a chuckle, “but I’m a realist. I don’t think it’s going to happen and I’m OK with it. I don’t foresee myself being inducted.”

To his credit, Kolzig is by far the winningest goalie in Caps history with 301 victories. He also led them to their only Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 1998, when they were swept by the Red Wings, and won the 2000 Vezina Trophy.

To get on a Hall of Fame ballot a goalie must have played a minimum of 500 NHL regular season games.

Forwards and defensemen must have played a minimum of 700 games or recorded a minimum of 300 goals, 700 assists or 1,000 points.

That explains why former Caps defenseman Ken Klee, who meets one criteria with 934 games, is on the same ballot as Hunter [323 goals and 1,020 points in 1,407 games] and Bondra, a five-time All-Star with a franchise-high of 503 goals and 19 hat tricks.

You can make a strong case for and against Hunter. He was the first NHL player to score two series-clinching overtime playoff goals and retired having played more playoff games without winning a Stanley Cup [186] than anyone in NHL history.

He also ranks second in all-time penalty minutes in the NHL and received a 21-game suspension for drilling Pierre Turgeon from behind in the 1993 playoffs, still considered one of the worst cheap shots in league history.

Bondra ranks 40th on the NHL’s all-time goals list with 503 but there are a handful of players who have scored more and are not in the Hall, including Brendan Shanahan [650], Dave Andreychuk [640] and Pat Verbeek [522].  

And with each year comes a new crop of can’t-miss candidates.

The 2013 list will include four-time Stanley Cup winner Scott Niedermayer, three-time Stanley Cup and Norris Trophy winner Chris Chelios. Both are first-ballot shoo-ins.

Since the Hall of Fame has a limit of four player inductees each year, who will round out next year’s class?

Brendan Shanahan, who won three Stanley Cups and scored more than 600 goals and 1,300 points over his 21-year career, seems to be a lock. After him the list includes Rob Blake, Theo Fleury, Jeremy Roenick, Eric Lindros, Paul Kariya, Sergei Makarov, Rod Brind’Amour and Dave Andreychuk.

Therein lies the problem with getting someone like Hunter or Bondra into the hallowed halls of Toronto.

Now it’s your turn to state your case. Who is the next former Capital to get inducted? Join the conversation below.