New Jersey Devils fans were keenly watching the announcement from the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday. Once again, fans were hoping to see franchise legends Alexander Mogilny and Patrik Elias enshrined into hockey lore.
Elias is more of a long shot at least right now. However, many in the hockey community are actively pushing for Mogilny to make the Hall. He was a trendsetter after defecting from Russia to play in the NHL. He ended up playing 990 games in the NHL, including an electric rookie season. In his first year in the league, Mogilny scored 43 points. Eventually, he scored 73 goals with the Buffalo Sabres in 1992-93.
Mogilny’s career would eventually lead him to New Jersey, where he won the 2000 Stanley Cup and went back to the Final in 2001. He left the Devils after two-straight Final appearances and one win. The Toronto Maple Leafs gave him a bounty to go north of the border. He would eventually come back to the Devils in 2005, where he had a rough season (by his standards) and even played his first AHL games (as a way to circumvent the cap. Lou was the Lightning before the Lightning).
Mogilny’s final stats read: 990 games, 473 goals, and 559 assists for north of a point per game over a 16-year career. He even won the Lady Byng Trophy in 2003 with the Maple Leafs. Mogilny had some really good playoff performances with Buffalo, and he was dynamic for the Devils in 2001. He had 16 points in 25 games that season.
None of that matters when it comes to the Hall of Fame. We opine every single year when Mogilny doesn’t make the Hall. This year, it feels like a waste of breath to do it. Same goes for Elias. The HHOF announced their class, and they chose the Sedin Twins and Roberto Luongo to all go in on their first year of eligibility and Daniel Alfredsson in his fifth before selecting Mogilny or Elias. One could argue both Mogilny and Elias are better than both Sedins and Alfredsson, but it’s a pretty easy argument to at least put Mogilny ahead of both.
This situation is pretty clear. If Moginly doesn’t get in ahead of the players voted in this year, it feels like he’ll never gets in. Barring a case when the voters make a last-minute push.
Here’s where hope can sneak in. Henrik Lundqvist is the only 2023 eligible player who’s a lock to make it next year. After him, it drops off pretty precipitously. The next best players are Corey Crawford and Justin Williams. Both are playoff legends, but they didn’t really have the stats of Hall of Famers. Then there’s Dustin Byfuglien, who we suppose is retired?
Next year feels like the year Mogilny gets in. You can’t find four better names. You probably can’t find two better names. Heck, Elias might even get in next year. Another Devils tie to watch out for is Meghan Duggan. The Devils director of player development could get enshrined in the Hall next year.