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.
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).
Alex Mogilny had one of the best goal-scoring seasons in the history of the NHL and one other pretty dominant season. But the knock on him was his consistency, as he had very mediocre years in between his good years.
Mogilny is also notable for being one of the last USSR players to defect to the States, and having never played internationally for Russia once he did so.
In this episode, we discuss his convoluted case for induction:
Joe Sakic was one of the great centers of his era, dominating during a hard time to score and then scoring consistently for a very long time. The question isn’t whether he belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame, but where he ranks among the greatest centres of all time.
Pavel Datsyuk was arguably the best two-way forward of his era, able to dominate other teams defensively without taking many penalties, while scoring enough to sometimes rank in the Top 10 in league scoring. He was the NHL’s first “Corsi God,” a player who drove possession so well that, once the NHL started tracking possession numbers, Datsyuk was simply the best player in the league by those metrics.
However, Datsyuk does not have the gaudy offensive numbers of other NHL Hall of Famers, and he was often played as the second best forward on his own team.
So where does Datsyuk rank all time? Listen to us talk about Pavel Datsyuk here: