The 3 Biggest Snubs of the 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame Class

Yesterday, the Hockey Hall of Fame announced its four newest inductees: Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, Pavel Bure and Adam Oates.

All four men are worthy of the honor for sure. Sakic was a no-brainer, winning two Stanley Cups, a Hart Trophy and Conn Smythe to go along with his impressive numbers: 9th overall in career points and 15th in goals.

Adam Oates is sixth all-time in assists, Sundin just missed cracking the top 20 with his 564 goals and Pavel Bure led the league in goals three times while averaging more than a goal every other game. Plus, he was a blur on the ice.

The class of eligible players here in 2012 was obviously one of the deepest in recent memory, and with a limit of four players being named per year, the odds were stacked against the field. So it's not a huge surprise some worthy candidates were left out in the cold. Here are the three biggest snubs of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.

Brendan Shanahan
While it's unsurprising that worthy candidates were excluded, it is a huge surprise that one of those men was Brendan Shanahan, the current czar of NHL discipline and one of the most accomplished players in NHL history. Like Sakic, Shanahan was a true champion, hoisting the Cup a total of three times in his long career. His 656 goals place him 13th in the history of the league, and he's 25th in points with 1,354. Every Hall of Fame-eligible player with 600 goals or more prior to this year is in the Hall of Fame: Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Brett Hull, Marcel Dionne, Phil Esposito, Mike Gartner, Mark Messier, Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux, Luc Robitaille, Bobby Hull, Dino Ciccarelli and Jari Kurri. Jaromir Jagr and Teemu Selanne are sure to make the cut whenever they finally hang up the skates. Yet here is Shanahan, snubbed on his first chance despite his 656 goals.

It's kind of mind-boggling that a guy with a much shorter career such as Bure and a player such as Sundin who never won a Cup and scored more than 100 less goals than Shanahan got the nod over the right-handed power forward. I was expecting someone noteworthy to not make the cut, but I never imagined it would be Shanahan. He seemed like a mortal lock, and he'll no doubt get in, most likely as early as next year. It's just a shame he'll have to wait given all his credentials.

Eric Lindros
I'm sure this one is going to sound an awful lot homerism being a Flyers fan, but I truly believe Eric Lindros deserves to be in the Hall despite his concussion-plagued career being cut woefully short. When he was healthy, he was arguably the best all-around player in hockey, a dominating force physically and insanely talented in every facet of the game. He could hit, fight, score, pass, win face-offs, kill penalties - name it, and Lindros did it. He won the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP in 1995 and resurrected a Flyers franchise that was down for one the rare times in its history.

Of course, Lindros never won the Cup and never was able to overcome the concussions that plagued him. His absence was not surprising, but nonetheless still a snub in my mind. The main reason to me is that he was honestly the biggest thing in hockey during his short prime, the type of fast, freight train center the league has rarely seen. He also averaged well over a point per game in his career, sitting at 19th all time with 1.138 points per game.

Maybe he didn't have the longevity you'd like, but go watch his clips on YouTube and try not to be amazed by his talent. If Bure can make it in just 702 games, Lindros should be considered down the line with 760 games under his belt.

Dave Andreychuk
Admittedly, at first blush I wouldn't be inclined to say Dave Andreychuk is a Hall of Famer. But then you look at the numbers and realize, like Shanahan, Andreychuk has well over 600 goals to his name (640) and more than 1,300 career points. If every other eligible 600-goal scorer besides him and Shanahan are in, then Andreychuk should be too, especially when you factor in the Cup he won late in his career with Tampa Bay.

I'd like to give a nod to Jeremy Roenick as well, who certainly is about as famous as an American-born hockey player has ever been, and a guy who was a damn good player. JR finished with 513 goals and 1,216 points and was a big-time performer, but I'd place him just behind Andreychuk, who gets bonus points for cracking 600 goals and hoisting the Cup, two things Roenick was never able to do.

Perhaps, in due time, all the names mentioned will get their day in sun. Shanahan certainly should without question, the others with a puncher's chance.

Either way, it's always fun to debate. Congrats to Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, Adam Oates and Pavel Bure, and here's hoping the rest are not forgotten. What's your take on the Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2012?

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