Does Kent Nilsson Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Kent Nilsson has the highest APG and PPG of any eligible NHL player not yet in the Hockey Hall of Fame, he is the only eligible player in the Top 10 in APG and PPG not in the Hall. Why is a player with Top 10 career rate stats not in the Hall of Fame? Does it have to do with how he left the NHL? Does it have to do with his games played and inflated ’80s stats?

Listen as we try to figure out why:

Nilsson’s stats:

Career

  • NHL:
    • 1979-1987 plus a six game comeback in 1994-95; 8 seasons, all quality (excluding comeback)
    • 264G, 422A for 686P, -20 in 553 games; 52.4 PS
    • Nilsson is 10th All Time in APG and 9th All Time in PPG
    • In his draft class (1976), Nilsson, drafted 64th overall, is
      • 3rd in Goals
      • 4th in Assists
      • 2nd in Points
      • Despite being 12th in Games Played
    • Era: Of the 113 players to play in at least 500 games between 1979 and 1987, Nilsson is
      • 17th in Goals
      • 14th in GPG
      • 11th in Assists
      • 9th in APG
      • 10th in Points and PPG
      • 75th in Plus/Minus
      • 12th in OPS
      • 26th in PS
    • 82-game average: 40G, 62A for 102P, -3
    • 3-year peak (1980-83): 82-game average of 50G, 68A for 117P, 0
    • No possession stats available
    • Playoffs: 11G, 41A for 52P, +1 in 59 games
    • Adjusted: 208G, 338A for 546P
    • Adjusted 82-game average: 32G, 50A for 81P
    • Adjusted PPG: If the qualifier is set to 500 games, Nilsson is not in the Top 25 in Adjusted PPG
    • Traded twice after his prime.
  • WHA:
    • 1977-79; 2 seasons, both quality
    • 81G, 133A for 214P, +28 in 158 games
    • Didn’t play long enough to qualify for the career Per Game leaderboards
    • Era: Can’t look up WHA stats with fixed endpoints
    • 82-game average: 42G, 69A for 11P, +15
    • Playoffs: 5G, 19A for 24P, +1 in 19 games
    • Never traded.

Accomplishments:

  • NHL:
    • Top 10 Player (by PS) once (‘81)
    • Top 5 Offensive Player (by OPS) once  (‘81)
    • Scored 45 goals twice, 40 goals thrice, 35 goals four times, 30 goals five times, 25 goals six times
    • Tallied 80 assists once, 60 assists twice, 50 assists four times, 40 assists seven times
    • Scored 130 points once (1 only 23 players ever), 100 points twice, 90 points four times, 80 points five times, 60 points seven times, 50 points every season he was in the league (excluding his comeback)
    • Top 10 in Goals once
    • Top 10 in GPG once
    • Top 5 in Assists once, Top 10 twice
    • Top 5 in APG once
    • Top 5 in Points once, Top 10 twice
    • Top 5 in PPG once
    • 2 All Star Game appearances.
  • WHA:
    • Kaplan (‘78) – aka the WHA Calder
    • Deneau (‘79) – aka the WHA Byng
    • Scored 40 goals once, 35 goals both seasons he was in the league
    • Tallied 60 assists both seasons he was in the league
    • Scored 100 points both seasons he was in the league
    • Top 5 in Goals once, Top 10 both seasons he was in the league
    • Top 10 in GPG both seasons he was in the league
    • Top 5 in Assists once, Top 10 both seasons he was in the league
    • Top 5 in APG once, Top 10 both seasons he was in the league
    • Top 5 in Points once, Top 10 both seasons he was in the league
    • Top 5 in PPG once, Top 10 both seasons he was in the league.
  • Eliteserien (1988-89)
    • Guldpucken (MVP)
  • Serie A (1987-88):
    • Led the league in Points by a margin of 39
  • It’s possible he led other leagues in points but it’s too hard to find the information.

Great Teams

  • Top 6 Forward (by points) on one Champion (‘87 Oilers) and one Final Four (‘81 Flames – missed games)
  • Top 3 Forward (by points) on one Avco Cup Champion (‘79 Jets), Top 6 Forward (by points) one Avco Cup Champion (‘78 Jets)
  • Best Forward (by points) on one Canada Cup Runner Up (‘84 Sweden)
  • Best Forward (by points) on one World Championship Runner Up (‘90 Sweden)
  • Top 3 Forward (by points) on one WJC Bronze (‘75 Sweden), Injured? On one WJC Bronze (‘80 Sweden)
  • Best Player (by points) on one European Junior Champion (‘74 Sweden) and one Runner Up (‘75 Sweden)
  • Injured on one Elitserien Champion (‘89 Djurgårdens IF)
  • Best Player (by points) on one Serie A Champion (‘88 Bozen-Bolzano)
  • Best Player (by points) on one Superliga Espanola de Hockey Hielo Champion (‘98 CH Majadahonda)
  • [Could be missing some lesser league championships]

 

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