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:

Gary Suter, Chris Chelios, Bullet Simpson

Chris Chelios’ Career:

  • NHL: 1983-2010; 26 seasons, 22 quality (by DPS)
  • Totals:
    • 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)
    • Per Game: Of the 21 D to play in at least 164 playoff Games, Chelios is
      • 7th in playoff Goals
      • 11th playoff GPG
      • 7th in playoff Assists
      • 11th in playoff APG
      • 7th in playoff Points
      • 11th in playoff PPG
      • 8th in playoff Plus/Minus
  • Adjusted:
    • Hockey-Reference:
      • 170G,
      • 738A for
      • 908P
      • Adjusted 82-game average: 8G, 37A for 45P (-2P per 82 games)
      • Per Game: Not in the Top 25 of any adjusted Per Game leader-boards
    • VsX:
      • Goals: doesn’t qualify
      • Assists: 788A
      • Points: 835P
  • Traded once in his prime and once after most player’s conventional primes:
    • Traded at 28 with a 1st Rounder to the Blackhawks for Denis Savard (29)
    • Traded at 37 to the Red Wings for a 1999 1st Rounder (Steve McCarthy), 2001 1st Rounder (Adam Munro), Anders Eriksson (24)

Chris Chelios’ Accomplishments:

  • Top 5 in Hart Voting once
  • Norris (‘89, ‘93, ‘96) – tied 5th most all time
  • Top 5 in Norris Voting a further 4 times,
  • Top 5 in Calder Voting
  • Top Player:
    • 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)
  • Goals:
    • 20 goals once,
    • 15 goals four times
  • Assists:
    • 50 assists five times,
    • 40 assists eight times
  • Points:
    • 70 points three times,
    • 60 points seven times,
    • 50 points eight times
  • Plus/Minus:
    • Led the league in Plus/Minus once,
    • Top 5 twice
  • All Star:
    • 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
  • VsX Peak:
    • Best 7 Seasons:
      • Goals: doesn’t qualify
      • Assists: 173rd All Time
      • Points: doesn’t qualify
    • Best 10 Seasons:
      • Goals: doesn’t qualify
      • Assists: 130th All Time
      • Points: doesn’t qualify

Chris Chelios’ Great Teams:

  • NHL:
    • 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)
  • Olympics:
    • Role Player (by points) on one Olympic Runner Up (‘02 USA)
  • World/Canada Cup:
    • Best D? (Tournament All Star) on one World Cup Champion (‘96 USA) and one Canada Cup Runner Up (‘91 USA)

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