February 2nd, 2017 will be a date to remember as Patrick Marleau scored his 500th goal against the Vancouver Canucks. Though many wanted this to happen at home, Sharks fans could not be any prouder of #12. Many expected Marleau to get his 500th goal, but not at this point this season. Marleau had a lackluster season last year, and people thought it would happen towards the end of March, and some said he would be on another team when he did it.
What does Marleau joining the 500 club mean for his Hall of Fame chances? Let’s be hypothetical here. With Marleau being 37 years old and a free agent at the end of the year, if he decides to ride off in the sunset and call it quits, how long before Marleau would be eligible for the Hall?
According to the Hockey Hall of Fame, a player is judged on his “playing ability, sportsmanship, character and contributions to his or her team or teams and to the game of hockey in general.” You would have to be completely oblivious to not see that Patrick Marleau exudes those qualifications. A known class act in the National Hockey League, a now 500 goal scorer, and he has more than 1000 points and counting in his career. Seems legit to me.
“Must have not played in a professional or international hockey game during any of the three (3) playing seasons prior to his or her election.” Remember this is IF he were to retire at the end of this season. Whenever Marleau retires, he’ll have to stay out of competitive action for the next three years, including the Olympics. Pretty self-explanatory.
“The maximum number of candidates that can be elected each year in each category is as follows: Four (4) male inductees and Two (2) female inductees. Two (2) inductees if no candidate is duly elected in the Referee or Linesman Category or One (1) inductee if a candidate is duly elected in the Referee or Linesman Category. Any candidate receiving 75% or greater votes from members of the Selection Committee present shall be declared elected.” If you want to read the rest of the rules, they are right in this link: https://www.hhof.com/htmlinduct/indelection.shtml
Though it may seem illogical to not elect Marleau into the Hall immediately when eligible, there are some players that have been snubbed that show Marleau could join the list of players that are not in the hall of fame. Dave Andreychuk has more than 600 goals, and was the captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning when they won their first Stanley Cup, and isn’t in the hall (I wish I were kidding). Jeremy Roenick, a 500 goal scorer, not in the hall. Mark Recchi, another 500 goal scorer, and a Stanley Cup Champion in his final season with the Boston Bruins, not in the Hall. Other legends include: Paul Kariya, Claude Lemieux, Mike Vernon, Rob Brind’Amour, Peter Bondra, etc.
All of these people should be in the Hall of Fame, the same with Marleau when he retires. Will he be a first ballot hall of famer? My guess is no. I want him to be, along with all the other Sharks fans, but that doesn’t look like that will happen. I have no idea when he will get in at this point. Along with the MLB hall of fame, the NHL hall of fame needs to change their rules on how many players they can add each year. The best players need to be in the hall of fame. It is ridiculous that Marleau will probably not be a first ballot hall of famer, he certainly deserves it. Hopefully someday he and the rest of his worthy adversaries will find themselves in Toronto.