Is Ron Francis One of the Great Centres in NHL History?

Ron Francis undoubtedly belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Skaters who played as long as he did and were as consistently good as he was always get in.

by akulawolf / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

But the real question is, how good was he? He was never really a top offensive star and his best years came as the second line centre on a team with two of the best forwards in history (and one of the two candidates for best centre ever).

Listen to us debate Francis’ career here:

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Does Bobby Smith Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Bobby Smith was a star for the North Stars and then the Habs. But he has pretty mediocre offensive numbers given when he played. But then he has remarkably high playoff point totals.

So does he belong or not?

Listen to us talk about Bobby Smith here:

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Is Mark Messier the Greatest Leader in Hockey History?

The narrative is that Mark Messier is the Greatest Leader/Captain in NHL history, probably hockey history and (depending upon who you talk to) maybe even in pro sports history.

So the question isn’t whether or not he belongs in the Hall of Fame, but how good he was. And do his “intangibles” make up for never being a top offensive player ever during the course of his career?

Listen to us talk bout Mark Messier:

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Does Dale Hunter Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

No, Dale Hunter does not belong in the Hall of Fame.

Patrickneil / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

So why did we talk about him? Well, he’s 2nd All Time in Penalties in Minutes, for one thing. And there was a time when that, um, meant something.

Listen to us talk about Dale Hunter:

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Does Bernie Morris Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Bernie Morris had one of the greatest Stanley Cup Finals performances in hockey history, scoring 14 of his team’s 23 goals (in 4 games!) in 1917. But he is not in the Hall of Fame.

In this episode, we discuss his career and his case. Listen here:

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Does Igor Larionov Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

One of the Russian Five, Larionov has had team success wherever he’s gone. But his individual success only ever occurred outside of the NHL. Does he belong?

Listen here:

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Does Ulf Nilsson Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

by Schyffel [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]

By some metrics, Ulf Nilsson was the Greatest Player, or at least Greatest Forward, in WHA history. (APG and PPG, specifically.) But when he moved to the NHL he saw his numbers plummet and his career fall apart due to injuries.

In this episode we discuss whether or not Ulf Nilsson did enough in the WHA for us to say he belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Listen here:

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Does Guy Carbonneau Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Guy Carbonneau was inducted in 2019. His induction is virtually unprecedented as Carbonneau has probably the worst offensive stats of any forward inducted to the HOF to have played since the league expanded in 1968. (Bob Gainey would be the only other forward in the Hall with comparable offensive numbers.)

Of course, Carbonneau is not in because of his offense. He’s in because of his three Selke trophies and numerous Top 5 Selke voting finishes.

So, does he belong? And what kind of precedent does he set for the Hall of Fame going forward? Listen to us talk about him here:

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Does Tommy Smith Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Tommy Smith is a player we really had never heard of.

Why? Because he played 10 games in the NHL. He scored 1 point.

But Tommy Smith is one of the best players in the history of the NHA.

Additionally, he dominated every amateur and semi-pro and early pro league he was in.

He probably belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Listen to us talk about Tommy Smith:

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Does Steve Yzerman Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

by Don Bigileone [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Of course Steve Yzerman belongs in the HOF. But what we really want to know is, how good was he? Where does he rank all time?

In our latest episode, we discuss just how good he was, and his remarkable transition from elite offensive player to Selke winner.

You can listen here:

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