(Photo via NHL)
By Jake Ricker
The Lightning have been one of the top teams in the NHL for quite some time, thanks to a rock-solid core assembled in the early 2010s. Despite, or maybe because of, all of the team success,
certain players actually have a harder time individual winning awards. With the 2022 Hockey Hall of Fame class to be inducted in the near future, we wanted to se how many potential future Hall of Famers are playing for the Lightning right now, and does the lack of individual awards hurt any of their chances?
Drafted in 2008, Stamkos quickly rose the ranks in the Lightning organization. In just his second season, Stamkos scored 51 goals to win his first Rocket Richard trophy. Things only got better from there, as the captain put up an absurd 60 goals in his fourth season. Stamkos' 60 goals would go on to win him his second Rocket Richard trophy, and he is currently the last player to hit 60 goals in a single season.
Despite dealing with injury-riddled seasons, Stamkos has managed to put up over 900 career points in 900 games played. As of this writing, he's only 21 points behind former Lightning forward and HHOFer Martin St. Louis for first all-time in points by a Lightning player. Stamkos has also been the captain of the Bolts for eight-plus seasons and has led the team to back-to-back Stanley Cups.
There is no question Stamkos has the resume to be a Hall of Famer, but he hasn't slowed down yet. Stamkos is on pace to hit both 500 goals and 1000 points next season, both of which would be franchise firsts. A team leader, multiple awards, and top-tier statistics to back it all up, there is no question Stamkos should be headed for the Hall of Fame when his career is over.
Now in his 13th NHL season, Hedman is still widely considered one of the best defensemen in the NHL. Hedman has played in 875 games and has put up 578 points, which is the most by a defenseman in Lightning history. Hedman has also been a top three nominee for the James Norris Memorial trophy three times, and won the award in 2017-18. He also won the Conn Smythe in 2020, where his 10 goals were the most by a defenseman in a single playoffs since Dustin Byfuglien in 2010 (11).
Hedman, just like Stamkos, has been a long-time leader for the Bolts and has been a large part of their back-to-back Stanley Cup runs. If Hedman continues at the pace he is playing, he will have a few more Norris trophy's in his future and maybe even more Stanley Cups. It's safe to say Hedman has a great shot at becoming a Hall of Fame player.
Kucherov has dealt with some major injuries over the last few seasons, but that hasn't stopped him from being one of the best playmakers in the NHL. Kucherov has a total of 231 goals, 346 assists, for a total of 577 points. Kucherov is on 1.07 points per game pace, which means if he were to play 1,000 games, he would end his career with 1,072 points. As for goals, Kuch is on pace for about 430 career goals if he hits the 1,000 game mark. This would get Kucherov close enough to the 500 goals and 1,000 points voters look for when selecting HOF members.
But that's just points; we haven't even talked about the multiple awards he has won over the years. Kucherov had his best season in 2018-2019, where he would go on to win the Hart, Ted Lindsay, and Art Ross trophies. If Kucherov can keep his current pace up, there should be no question he makes it into the HOF.
This is probably the easiest argument that needs to be made as Vasy isn't just already a lock for the HHOF, but he is also making a case for being the greatest goalie of our generation. Drafted 19th overall in 2012, Vasy has had only one year with under a .917 save percentage. He has also led the NHL in wins of the past four seasons and currently leads the league in wins again this year. Vasilevskiy currently holds a .920 save percentage in his career, which ranks him eighth all-time in that category.
Not only does Vasilevskiy have great stats, but he has the awards to back it up too. Vasilevskiy has to 2018-19 Vezina and 2021 Conn Smythe to his name, and is a two-time Stanley Cup champion. With the numbers he continues to put up, there is no question he is on track to win even more awards.
Depending on how long he decides to play, Vasy is on pace to break multiple NHL records by a wide margin, such as the all-time wins record held by Martin Brodeur (assuming he plays as much as Brodeur). Barring any major setbacks, Vasy will no doubt be at the top of the league in so many categories and a first-ballot HOF goalie.
Point is the only player on this list who is hardest to make a case for as he only has six seasons under his belt. In his six seasons, Point has a total of 161 goals, 191 assists, for a total of 352 points. At his current pace, it would take Point 1,136 games to reach the 1,000 point mark. That is a lot of games to play, so more than likely; Point will fall just short of the 1K point 500 goal mark.
Just like the rest of his teammates, Point, a two-time Stanley Cup champion, has a huge advantage in the playoff category. Both years the Lightning won the Cup, Point led the league in goals; he also led the league in power-play goals in 2021. Despite all this, Point has yet to win an NHL award. If he is able to continue playing so well in the playoffs, he might have a Conn Smythe in his future, but for now, he remains without one.
With it being unlikely to reach the 1,000 point or 500 goal milestone and no current NHL awards, Point might just fall short of being a Hall of Fame player. However, there is still a lot of time left for Point to prove his greatness in the NHL.
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