Does Chris Chelios Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Chris Chelios has one of the most impressive resumes of any American defenseman. He might have the most impressive resume. So the question isn’t so much whether or not he belongs in the Hall of Fame, but where does he rank among the greatest NHL defenders ever.

Listen here:

Career:

  • NHL: 1983-2010; 26 seasons, 22 quality (by DPS)
  • 185G (25th D All Time), 763A (8th D All Time, 4th American skater) for 948P (10th D All Time), +351 (19th All Time, 12th D, 2nd American) in 1651 games (6th All Time); 21:35 ATOI (since 1998-99); 168.5 PS (20th All Time, 9th D, 2nd American)
  • Chelios is 5th All Time in Defensive Point Shares (1st American)
  • Among defencemen, Chelios is 17th All Time in Offensive Point Shares
  • Draft: In his draft year (1981), Chelios, drafted 40th overall, is
    • 8th in Goals
    • 4th in Assists and Points
    • 2nd in Plus/Minus and Games Played
  • Era: Of the 7 players to play in at least 1500 games between 1983 and 2010, Chelios is
    • 7th (last) in Goals and GPG
    • 4th in Assists and APG
    • 6th (2nd last) in Points, PPG and Offensive Point Shares
    • 2nd in Plus/Minus and Defensive Point Shares
    • 1st in Point Shares
  • 82-game average: 9G, 38A for 47P, +17
  • 3-year peak (1988-91): 82-game average of 14G, 50A for 63P, +30; 10.8 PS [Note: Chelios’ best years by PS are far apart so it was very hard to pick a 3 year window which was his best]
  • No possession stats
  • Playoffs: 31G, 113A (17th All Time) for 144P, +48 (17th) in 266 games (1st)
  • Adjusted: 170G, 738A for 908P
  • Adjusted 82-game average: 8G, 37A for 45P
  • Chelios is obviously not in the Top 25 of any Adjusted Per Game leaderboard
  • Traded once in his prime and once after most player’s conventional primes:
    • Traded with a pick for a franchise centre (Savard)
    • Traded at the deadline for a younger player and picks.

Accomplishments:

  • Norris (‘89, ‘93, ‘96)
  • Top 5 in Hart Voting once, Top 5 in Norris Voting a further 4 times, Top 5 in Calder Voting
  • Top 10 Player (by PS) once (‘89)
  • Best Defensive Player (by DPS) four times (‘89, ‘91, ‘92, ‘02), Top 5 seven times (‘93, ‘95, ‘00)
  • Scored 20 goals once, 15 goals four times
  • Tallied 50 assists five times, 40 assists eight times
  • Scored 70 points three times, 60 points seven times, 50 points eight times
  • Led the league in Plus/Minus once, Top 5 twice
  • 1st Team All Star five times, All Rookie; 2nd Team All Star twice
  • 11 All Star Game appearances
  • Three Stars:
    • Rookie of the Month once.

Great Teams:

  • Best Skater (by points) on one Runner Up (‘89 Canadiens), Best D (by points, but possibly even Best Skater) on one Runner Up (‘92 Blackhawks), Best D (by points) on two Final Fours (‘84 Canadiens, ‘95 Blackhawks), Top 2 D (led the playoffs in Plus/Minus) on one Champion (‘02 Red Wings), Top 2 D (by points) on one Champion (‘86 Canadiens) and one Final Four (‘87 Canadiens), Top 4 D on one Final Four (‘07 Red Wings), Role player but injured (or scratched, missed 8 games) on one Champion (‘08 Red Wings)
  • Role Player (by points) on one Olympic Runner Up (‘02 USA)
  • Best D? (Tournament All Star) on one World Cup Champion (‘96 USA) and one Canada Cup Runner Up (‘91 USA)

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