Lundqvist, other goalies top Hall of Fame class

    Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.

The Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2023 is the year of the goaltender.

Netminders Henrik Lundqvist, Tom Barrasso and Mike Vernon were all selected for the Hockey Hall of Fame, as announced on Wednesday. They join former NHL center Pierre Turgeon, Canadian women’s hockey star Caroline Ouellette, as well as coach Ken Hitchcock and the late Pierre Lacroix, who built two Stanley Cup champions with the Colorado Avalanche.

Lundqvist was a first-year eligible Hall candidate. He’s sixth in NHL career wins (459), ninth in games played (887) and 11th in career save percentage (.918). Lundqvist won the Vezina Tropy as the NHL’s top goaltender in 2011-12 and was a finalist for the award a total of five times. He was also a finalist for the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 2011-12.

What really put Lundqvist over the top was his international success. He led Team Sweden to Olympic men’s hockey goal in the 2006 Turin Games and silver in the 2014 Sochi Games. He won gold at the IIHF world championships in 2017 and bronze at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Lundqvist played his entire career with the New York Rangers. He signed a free agent contract with the Washington Capitals in 2020 but did play for them, as his career was cut short due to a heart condition.

Barrasso has been eligible since 2006. He won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and 1992. In 1983-84, he was the rookie of the year and won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goaltender with the Buffalo Sabres. His 369 wins are 20th all-time.

Vernon has been eligible since 2005. He led two different teams to the Stanley Cup: the Calgary Flames in 1989 and the Detroit Red Wings in 1997, when Vernon won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. His 385 NHL wins rank 16th all-time.

Turgeon has been eligible since 2010. He played 1,294 games in the NHL with six teams, the majority of them with the Buffalo Sabres and St. Louis Blues. His 515 career goals rank him 40th all-time while his 1,327 career points rank him 34th. Turgeon never won an international hockey medal, never won the Stanley Cup and won only a single individual award in the NHL: the Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly play in 1992-93.

Ouellette was in her second year of eligibility. The forward is one of only five athletes to win a gold medal in four consecutive Winter Olympics, helping the Canadian women to the top of the podium in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014, along with Olympic silver in 1998. She won six gold medals in the IIHF women’s world championships.

Ouellette had a 2.36 points-per-game average in 97 games with University of Minnesota-Duluth. She also won the 2009 Clarkson Cup with the Montreal Stars, becoming only one of three players to win the Clarkson Cup, Olympic gold and worlds gold. The other two are Hayley Wickenheiser and Jayna Hefford, both Hall of Famers.

Since 2010, when women’s players earned their own category, there has only been one induction class that included more than one women’s player.

Hitchcock is fourth overall in career NHL wins with 849 and seventh in games coached with 1,598. Hitchcock led the 1998-99 Dallas Stars to their first Stanley Cup championship and then won the Western Conference again the following season. Hitchcock also coached the Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets, St. Louis Blues and Edmonton Oilers. He also served as an assistant coach for the 2014 Canadian Olympic national team, which won gold.

Lacroix passed away in 2020. He was the president and general manager of the Quebec Nordiques and then followed them when they relocated to Colorado. His bold moves as Avalanche GM — including the acquisitions of Hall of Famers Patrick Roy, Ray Bourque and Rob Blake — led to two Stanley Cup wins in 1996 and 2001.

Among the players that didn’t make the cut this season were winger Alexander Mogilny; centers Rod Brind’amour, Patrik Elias, Jeremy Roenick, Keith Tkachuk, Henrik Zetterberg; defenseman Sergei Gonchar; goalie Curtis Joseph; and women’s players Meghan Duggan and Jennifer Botterill.

Eligible players must have played their last game at least three years ago. They must receive at least 75% of the vote from the Hockey Hall of Fame Selection Committee. A maximum of four men’s players, two women’s players and two builders are inducted each year.

Hockey Hall of Fame Selection Committee consists of 18 individuals appointed by the Board of Directors. Among the current committee members are former players like Mike Gartner (chairman), Ron Francis, Cammi Granato and Igor Larionov; hockey executives like Brian Burke, Mark Chipman and David Poile; and media members like Bob McKenzie.

The Induction Celebration is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 13 at the Hall of Fame in Toronto.

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