Three Calgary Flames Alumni Who Belong In Hockey Hall of Fame

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Phil Housley – 1232 Points in 1495 Games Played

Oct 22, 2013; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Nashville Predators assistant coach Phil Housley looks on during the third period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Predators 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Though Phil Housley only played a small portion of his NHL career in Calgary, he was part of one of the biggest trades in franchise history, being acquired for Al MacInnis and proved in his second stint with the Flames that he was still an elite defenseman into his mid-thirties.

Nicklas Lidstrom and Chris Pronger are sure things to enter the Hall of Fame this afternoon, but both were outscored over their career by Housley, and by a fairly wide margin in Pronger’s case. Lidstrom’s career numbers of 1142 points in 1654 games are quite impressive, but Housley outscored him by 90 points in 69 less games.

Housley’s 1232 points in 1495 games ranks him fourth all time in scoring by defensemen behind just Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey and former Flame Al MacInnis. All three are in the Hall of Fame, and once Lidstrom in nominated, the nine players behind Housley in scoring will also be Hall of Famers.

Housley had a tremendously long NHL career, playing the 6th most games by any defender in the history of the game. Individual accolades eluded Housley throughout his career, as he ranked in the top five in voting for the Norris Trophy four different times in his career, but never won the award. He also holds the dubious record of being the player with the most career games played without ever winning a Stanley Cup.

A Norris Trophy or Stanley Cup would definitely make Housley’s resume look much more impressive, but should he be punished that his career coincided with a number of the best defensemen of all time such as Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey and Al MacInnis? Had Housley been born years later, would he have been able to edge out Erik Karlsson for a Norris? Probably. Would that make him a better player? No. So why should timing keep him out of the Hall of Fame?

Housley, it appears, doesn’t get full credit for such a tremendous career due to playing in small markets such as Buffalo and Winnipeg through most of his career, and certainly through his best years. Those teams also tended to not be very good, which is why Housley never raised a Stanley Cup.

Again, should winning a Stanley Cup be a criteria for making the Hall of Fame? Well, Marcel Dionne has the 6th most points among forwards in NHL history. He never won a Stanley Cup since he played on mediocre at best Los Angeles Kings teams, but he was voted into the Hall of Fame on his first ballot.

Housley was better known for his offence than his defence, but so was Paul Coffey and they wasted no time electing the former Oiler into the Hall. They also voted Jacques Laperriere in, and Housley has almost 1000 more points than the former Montreal Canadien.

It’s about time the Hall of Fame recognizes how talented and unique Housley’s offensive abilities were, and finally elect him into the Hall of Fame where he belongs.