Theoren Fleury – 1088 Points in 1084 Games Played
Nov 20, 2014; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames fan is trying to excite the crowd at the last minutes of the game between the Calgary Flames and the Chicago Blackhawks at Scotiabank Saddledome. Chicago Blackhawks won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By far the biggest oversight by the Hall of Fame in the past few years has been keeping Theo Fleury off its list of members. The scrappy, undersized winger averaged over a point per game in a 1084 game career, and fully deserves to be honoured by the Hall of Fame.
Fleury’s career points rank him in the top 60 all time, but he is one of only 30 players to average over a point per game while playing over 1000 games in his career. More impressively, the 5’6″ Fleury was able to continue this pace over his 77 career playoff games where he scored 79 points.
Fleury was a rookie on the 1989 Stanley Cup champion in Calgary, scoring 34 points in 36 regular season games before adding 11 in 22 games en route to getting his name on the Cup. Aside from winning the Stanley Cup, Fleury also led Canada to a World Junior gold medal in 1988 and helped his home nation win a gold medal at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City as well.
Fleury was one of very few bright spots on Flames teams in the early nineties after winning the Cup in 1989. Fleury’s best season came in 1990-91 when he set career highs with 51 goals and 104 points. He once again reached the century mark in 1992-93, scoring 34 goals and a career high 66 assists for 100 points.
The Flames had a few short lived playoff runs in the early 1990’s, but likely wouldn’t have even made it if it weren’t for Fleury. In 1993, Calgary lost in the first round to the Los Angeles Kings who would march to the Stanley Cup Final. Though it was just a six game series, Fleury scored 12 points and two years later scored 14 points in a seven game series loss to the San Jose Sharks, showing a unique ability to raise his performance in the postseason.
It takes a lot of guts and determination to even make the NHL as an 8th round draft pick, or as a 5’6″ player. It takes even more to battle through the things Fleury has had to fight every day. To battle through all of this adversity and play over 1000 games in the NHL while averaging over a point per game in both the regular season and playoffs, is the mark of a Hall of Fame player in my books.
Heck, Fleury should be in the builders category for using his story and fame to inspire and help victims of sexual abuse begin the healing process. Fleury has been eligible since 2006, the year only Patrick Roy and Dick Duff were voted in. Duff played 1033 games in his career, which is comparable to Fleury’s career, but the difference is Duff’s point totals. Duff scored 572 career points, just over half of what Fleury scored in his inspiring career.
The comparisons to much less deserving players who are in the Hall of Fame could go on and on, but what really matters is that Fleury should have been voted in nine years ago. Hopefully the committee finally gets it right this time and puts Fleury where he belongs among his elite level peers.
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