Rod Langway won two Norris trophies and finished 2nd in Hart trophy voting to Wayne Gretzk once. He totally belongs, right?
However, Langway is the basically only purely defensive defenseman to win the Norris trophy in the trophy’s history. (Or, if you prefer, he’s the only purely defensive defenseman to win it since Bobby Orr transformed the position.)
In journeyman career that saw him play for way too many teams, Mathieu Schneider amassed enough points to make him one of the top 25 offensive defensmen in NHL history (if you go by totals, not per game). That surprised us.
But Schneider has few individual accolades and not a lot of team success.
Until very recently, Doug Weight was one of the Top 5 American passers in the history of the NHL, and he did so while playing his prime in the Dead Puck (Clutch and Grab) era, at one point scoring over 100 points in a season.
We both fondly remember Weight from those classic Oilers-Stars series of the late ’90s and early ’00s. But does he really deserve a spot in the Hall of Fame?
Craig Janney is 14th All Time in Assists Per Game, one of only two players in the Top 15 who are not in the Hall of Fame or still active. The big knocks against Janney are his minus, the length of his career and his lack of a truly dominant season.
By certain metrics – Defensive Point Shares, Point Shares, Plus/Minus – Brian Rafalski was the second best defenceman to play at least 750 games between 1999 and 2011. But if you watched him play, or you look up his Average Time on Ice (ATOI), you know he was never a #1 defenceman.
So, what gives? Was Rafalski so incredible he should have had his own team? Or did he luck out with his defence partners?