5 players who don't belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame
Every year, a debate rages in the hockey world as the list of players eligible for the Hockey Hall of Fame is announced. There's invariably an uproar from fans and journalists alike over which players belong and which ones don't.
The Hall's gatekeepers generally do a good job of deciding whom to let in, but every now and then a player slips by whose credentials and contributions are highly questionable.
Here are five players who don't belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Guy Carbonneau, who entered the Hall of Fame in 2019, has longevity and championships on his side. He played 19 seasons in the NHL and is a three-time Stanley Cup winner.
He’s also a three-time winner of the Selke Award, given annually to the forward who demonstrates the most skill at the defensive end of the game. And he's an icon of the Montreal Canadiens, arguably hockey's most historic franchise.
But his offensive numbers for a forward don’t exactly stack up with the other greats that are currently in the Hall of Fame – or in the case of Alex Mogilny, still waiting to get in.
Carbonneau scored 260 goals in his long NHL career, with a single-season best 26 goals in 1988-89. He recorded 663 points, which is half a point per game. No one will argue that Carbonneau wasn’t an important contributing member of the teams he played on, but was he really the driving force behind their success?
Edgar Laprade’s NHL career lasted 10 seasons, all with the New York Rangers. He won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie in 1945-46 and was a winner of the Lady Byng Award in 1950.
In three different seasons, Laprade managed to pull off an incredible feat in hockey: He didn’t take a penalty.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993 in the veteran player category, but never produced at a particularly eye-catching rate. He recorded 47 points in 59 games with the Rangers during the 1947-48 season, and scored a career-high 22 goals in 60 games with the Rangers in 1949-50.
When his career ended in 1955, Laprade had played in 500 NHL games, with 108 goals and 280 points. He appeared in only two postseasons with the Rangers, never winning a Stanley Cup.
Clark Gillies played 14 years in the NHL, including 12 with the New York Islanders. The height of his career also happened to be during the Islanders’ dynasty of the early 1980s.
Being part of a dynasty certainly bodes well for Hall of Fame chances, and Gillies was an important member of the Islanders at their zenith along with Mike Bossy, Brian Trottier, and Denis Potvin.
But his overall career production doesn’t stand out as being worthy of the Hall of Fame. Gillies scored 319 goals throughout his career and 697 points, in 958 career games. Those are strong numbers, and general managers today would crave that production, as well as toughness, at a reasonably priced contract from a player that stands 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds.
Are they Hall of Fame numbers, though?
Harry Watson won five Stanley Cups in his career, beginning with his first at age 19 while playing for the Detroit Red Wings. He went onto win four more playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs before calling it a career in 1957.
Watson played 14 years in the league with 809 games, 236 goals and 443 points, good enough for an average of just over 0.5 points per game.
Winning five Stanley Cup easily jumps off the page as being the grandest accomplishments of his career. The offensive numbers for a left winger do not. Even in 1948-49, when he finished with 26 goals – only two off the pace set by Sid Abel – Watson still finished with 45 points, well back of points leader Roy Conacher at 68 points. Watson finished eighth in Hart Trophy voting that year.
Leo Boivon carved out a 19-year NHL career that began during the 1951-52 season and ended in 1970, which is an impressive feat in any era, but especially for a defenseman that was just 5-foot-7.
However, Boivon was never highly productive from the back end. He finished his career with 72 goals and 322 points in 1,150 games played and finished in the top five for Norris Trophy voting only once.
He was never a member of a Stanley Cup winning team, either. Boivin was valuable, but he doesn't deserve to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame.