The Vancouver Canucks aren’t a factor in the NHL Awards on Monday night but the crew is in Nashville, Tennessee in anticipation of the NHL Draft that starts Wednesday. The Canucks presently hold the 11th-overall pick.
Former Canucks forward Alexander Mogilny just can’t seem to get into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He’s been eligible since 2009, and although maybe not a first year, first-ballot guy, the gripes and groans continue to mount as the years go by without his inclusion.
990 NHL regular season games, 473 goals, 559 assists. That’s greatness, more than a point-a-game player, he ended up with 1,032. He also won a Stanley Cup in 2000 with the New Jersey Devils, often a prerequisite in some people’s minds. He’s one of better trade deadline acquisitions of this millennium.
Mogilny overcame a couple of injuries and tallied 139 goals and 169 assists with the Canucks over 4 and 2/3rds seasons in 312 games. That’s 308 points, before getting traded on March 14th, 2000 for Brendan Morrison and Denis Pederson. It’s a deal that worked out well for both the Canucks and the Devils.
In terms of the HHOF, is it the Russian war with Ukraine holding back the Khabarovsk native? Nope. That started in 2022.
I asked some other Hall of Famers and some league officials, as in on-ice officials, for their opinion, and pretty much heard the same thing across the board. ‘Class act’, ‘never gave us a problem’, ‘never heard of any issues.’
And now the big but …
There was some surprise to Pierre Turgeon being named as an inductee for 2023 this past week, but the 1st-overall pick in the 1987 NHL Draft actually scored 515 goals, had 812 assists, and scored at a per-game rate very similar to Mogilny’s. Plus Turgeon has been eligible since 2010, so waiting almost as long. He never won a Stanley Cup.
Goalie Mike Vernon, a two-time Stanley Cup winner with the wins coming almost a decade apart, was named this past week after waiting since his eligibility started in 2005. Unless they’re Wayne Gretzky, players must wait three years after retirement before becoming eligible for the Hockey Hall of Fame.
In other words, Mogilny’s wait, should he eventually get in, isn’t unusual.
By the way, both Turgeon (1993) and Mogilny (2003) won the Lady Byng Trophy, given “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
Oddly enough, both were on their country’s respective rosters for the 1987 World Junior Championship in Piestany, Czech Republic, a tournament that saw Canada and the Soviet Union disqualified after being involved in a bench-clearing brawl in the final game. Turgeon was the one player for Team Canada who didn’t leave the bench to join the fight until his coach insisted well into the 20-minute melee.
The “punch-up in Piestany” finally petered out after officials turned the lights off in the arena.
Mogilny ended up playing in the tournament two more times, winning Gold in 1989.
In general, Canucks fans should have no complaints regarding the overall Hockey Hall of Fame proceedings, with Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Roberto Luongo all being inducted last year.
The Nashville Predators retained half the $8-million per season cap hit in dealing center Ryan Johansen to the Colorado Avalanche. The contract runs for two more seasons. As a formality, the Av’s sent now mostly-minor leaguer Alex Galchenyuk the other way, although the forward becomes an unrestricted free agent in a week.
Johansen spent seven seasons in Nashville.
“Ryan is a talented, veteran center who helps our top six,” Avalanche general manager Chris MacFarland stated. “He gives us size in the middle of the ice and brings leadership and experience to our roster. We look forward to adding him to our team.”
New Pred’s GM Barry Trotz has a bit of salary cap room to work with as he looks to tweak the roster.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Kings sent defenseman Sean Durzi to the Arizona Coyotes for a 2023 2nd-round draft pick previously acquired from the Montreal Canadiens.