In this series, we’re debating the merits of players who may have been overlooked for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Using the Hall’s criteria of judging a player based on their “playing ability, sportsmanship, character and contributions to his or her team or teams and to the game of hockey in general” we will debate who should be up next for inclusion in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Now, we look over Keith Tkachuk’s case.
Ranking Keith Tkachuk:
- 1,201 games played (104th all-time)
- 538 goals (31st all-time)
- 527 assists (120th all-time)
- 1,065 points (63rd all-time)
- 212 power play goals (12th all-time)
- 72 game-winning goals (40th all-time)
- 3,350 shots (43rd all-time)
- 0.448 goals per game (58th all-time)
- 0.887 points per game (119th all-time)
Why He Should Be In:
Tkachuk tics the 500 goals and 1,000 points boxes that seem to give a player a very good shot of finding their way into the Hall. He was a natural scorer and a prototypical power forward, putting up goals at a good clip throughout his career, climbing the all-time ranks to a very respectable level.
His 212 career power play goals are second among players who aren’t in the Hall already. (Hello, Dave Andreychuk.) His 538 goals are also second among players who aren’t already in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
He’s an American, which is significant in terms of his ranking among American players all-time. He’s up there and that makes his contributions to hockey significant, even if there are Canadians above him who have put up more points. Only Mike Modano and Brett Hull have more goals among American skaters.
His importance to American hockey is clear in his being inducted to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012, one year before he was even eligible to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was also honored by the franchise that drafted him when he was inducted into the Arizona Coyotes’ Ring of Honor in 2011.
He never won the Hart Trophy, but he led the league in scoring during the 1996-97 season, which is a testament to his scoring prowess. That season he became the first American to lead the league in scoring. He received Hart votes in both the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons. Additionally, he appeared in five All-Star Games and was named a Second-Team All-Star twice.
He scored 50+ goals twice, adding another two 40-goal seasons and five 30-goal seasons.
He’s also got a long track record of being a team leader both in the NHL and at the international level. He first captained a NHL team at age 21, wearing the “C” for the Winnipeg Jets. In total, he was captain of the Jets / Coyotes for seven seasons and an alternate captain for one.
After that franchise, he moved to the St. Louis Blues, where he spent the majority of his career going forward. He served as an alternate captain there for seven seasons.