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The Kyper & Bourne radio show started an online conversation/ argument a few weeks ago with one question: Is John Tavares going into the Hockey Hall of Fame?
It may be a harder than yes or no answer, with charts and graphs and pies and bars, but that analysis is for someone much smarter than myself.
When I think of my answer to this question, I have to define what the Hockey Hall of Fame is first.
As I've grown older and thought about it more I realize it is what it says. It's the Hockey Hall of FAME first. It's not about statistics or points or trophies. It's a museum showcasing the best in hockey, mostly the NHL, but those players, moments, items, and anything else that becomes famous in hockey.
Of course you want the players at the top of statistical lists in there; being the tops in points, assists, goals, is a marker of being the best, but you don't see players making the top ten, twenty all time very often.
So, if we start there, where does John Tavares stand there?
As of last night he has 1,058 games played (277th), 436 goals (76th), 568 assists (117th), 1004 points (97th), and has 0.95PPG which puts him 90th all time with players 50p points or more.
Making assumptions about his pace scoring, I wouldn't doubt he would be in the top 100 all time, aside from games played.
Basic numbers wise, and comparing to players already in the hall, I think he makes it. I don't think it's a slam dunk but comparing to players in there like Daniel Alfredsson, Dino Ciccarelli, and Rod Gilbert he's worthy.
But, if we look overall at his hockey career we can't ignore the fact that he skipped the AHL entirely, he's never skated in the minors, which speaks to his talent.
His international career is well decorated:
Olympic Gold Medal - 2014
Spengler Cup - 2013
World U20 Gold Medal - 2008, 2009
World Cup Gold Medal 2016
As a junior aged player he won two gold medals internationally, but never won an OHL Championship or Memorial Cup with the Oshawa Generals or London Knights, he did something very few, if any, players in the CHL or any league, have done:
Had a rule created for them.
John Tavares was the first player in the three CHL leagues to be deemed an "exceptional" player.
The "Tavares Rule" made it so players can play in the Ontario Hockey League a year earlier than usually allowed. In my opinion, having a rule named for you is rather impressive and adds to the "fame" part of the hall of Fame.
This rule isn't easily applied either. Since Tavares the OHL has admitted only five more players under exceptional status: Aaron Ekblad, Sean Day, Shane Wright, Connor McDavid, and 2025 top prospect Michael Misa.
Joe Veleno (QMJHL) and Conor Bedard (WHL) have also been granted exceptional status outside the OHL.
Tavares also has other intangibles that hockey loves, especially those who secretly vote on HHoF admission.
He's a leader. He has held a letter or captained almost every team he has played for: He wore an "A" in U16, for the Oshawa Generals, New York Islanders, Maple Leafs, and Canada. He's been a Captain for Oshawa, the Islanders, and the Leafs.
The only team he hasn't worn a letter for was the 24 games he played for the London Knights because he was a trade deadline acquisition.
He's polite, quiet, doesn't have a strong personality on camera, enjoys backpacks, and is very serious. The secret votes of hockey men love those qualities.
He's even fought!
Jokes about fights and Spengler Cups aside, John Tavares has everything the Hall of Fame requires of a player to get in.
I wouldn't say he's a guaranteed first ballot day one entry - unless he captains the Leafs to a cup- but he will get to the Hall.
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