Update on the Hockey Hall of Fame model and its predictions

Hockey Hall of Fame 2019 review and 2020 forecast

Posted by RDJ on August 16, 2019

Header image is Loving Nature, Loving Each Other… by Peter Kurdulija used under license CC BY-NC-ND

Want up-to-date predictions for 7,857 current and historical NHL players. Click here!

For other parts in this series, check out the original model, the companion piece on the NHL’s top 100 players, and the update I wrote last year.

Who made it in, who will make it in next year, and how borderline are some of our favourite not-yet-eligible players?

Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2019

Let’s start with the entrants from this year. Hayley Wickenheiser was obviously a lock. Sergei Zubov had a good case, with the model having him at 62%. Vaclav Nedomansky was largely a non-NHLer, so his NHL-based probability is weak.

Guy Carbonneau is the most controversial selection for me. I loved watching him play in the tail end of his career, and thought he was very effective. But he also never put up more than 57 points in a season, despite playing in the high-scoring 80’s. He won the cup three times and won the Selke trophy three times, but it’s not enough to separate him from the large pack of accomplished players who haven’t made the HHOF. The model had him at 2.4% - unlikely, but not out of the realm of possibility. Regardless, congrats to him, he had a great career!

Possible 2020 entrants

I’ve now refreshed the model with another year of data. The coefficients did not change much, so if you took a look at last years predictions not much has changed.

Jarome Iginla should be a shoe-in. He was named an All Star at the end of the year 4 times. He led the league in points once and goals twice. He’s 15th all time in adjusted points. Everyone eligible above him is in the hall, and the first person on that list who isn’t a hall of fame member is Pierre Turgeon at 30th. Points are king, and Iginla got a lot of them. He has a 99.9% chance of eventual inclusion, and it shouldn’t take long.

Similarly, the model loves Marian Hossa. He won three cups (hello, Guy Carbonneau!). He was an All Star once. He’s sitting 34th on that adjusted points list, right above HHOF members Dave Andreychuk, Bobby Hull, and Maurice Richard. At a 95% chance of making the hall, it’s hard to say if he gets in right away or if he has to wait a little bit, but surely with that company he should make it in eventually.

After that, who knows. Daniel Alfredsson and Sergei Gonchar are two names thrown around a lot. That’s for good reason: both have about 85% odds. The model still really likes John LeClair, with his five All Star nods, and Keith Tkachuk, with two All Star berths and sitting 57th on the all-time adjusted points list. Shane Doan is eligible, at a 20% chance. Alexander Mogilny is still eligible, and not only does the model have him at 80% for this NHL career, but he had a great Soviet career before coming to the NHL. He was a real trailblazer, and the HHOF has started to recognize more Russian hockey greats. He’s had to wait a bit, but his name still comes up.

How about them goalies?

It’s still looking grim on the goaltending front. Roberto Luongo just retired, and he has a real shot when his eligibility rolls around. But for a guy who was widely considered one of the elite at his position throughout his career, his odds still aren’t a slam dunk. He has a 27% chance. He never won a cup or a Vezina trophy. He’s third all time in wins, and has two All Star awards, but that’s not enough to make it a clear cut case. His old teammates, the Sedin twins, are much more likely, both sitting over 75%.

Henrik Lundqvist hasn’t retired yet, and his odds have climbed to 20%. He has the Vezina, but fewer wins and shutouts than Luongo.

As I clarify every year, the bar for goalies is too damn high. I’m still hoping that changes, perhaps led by Luongo in a few years.

Which active players are moving up?

Awards, cups, and points will really increase probabilities. The Blues won the cup, but nobody there is a major contender yet. Vladimir Tarasenko is the best bet on St. Louis, at 2.5% now. Nikita Kucherov won the Hart trophy and is a major gainer, moving from 0.4% in last year’s scores to over 5% now. These players just need to keep playing.

So what should we expect in 2020?

Predictions are for suckers, but let’s make them anyways. If I had to guess, I’d say Iginla, Hossa, Alfredsson, and Mogilny on the men’s side, and perhaps the Hall continues to play catch up wth female players. I’m not very acquainted with their relative ranks, but how about Julie Chu?

Any of those five would be excellent picks. All we can say for sure is that I’ve now jinxed at least one of those players. Sorry, lady and gents.