Milan Hejduk: Hall of Fame?
The Colorado Avalanche retired Milan Hejduk's No. 23 prior to the game on January 6th. After getting his jersey retired by the Colorado Avalanche, the next questions you have to ask is whether or not he is destined for the NHL Hall of Fame?
Hejduk was a fourth-round selection of the Quebec Nordiques in 1994. The Nordiques later became the Avalance in 1995. Hejduk played all 14 of his NHL seasons with the Avalance and retired after playing 1,020 games with the team.
Hall of Fame: Yes
If you just look at the statistics themselves, it would be tough not to consider Hejduk for the NHL Hall of Fame. In the 1,020 games that Hejduk played, he scored 375 goals (Team 2nd) and had 430 assists (Team 3rd). These numbers put him behind only Avalanche greats Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg (not much introduction needed). Both Sakic and Forsberg have been inducted into the Hall of Fame and played with Hejduk for most of his career.
Hejduk helped the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup in 2001 and won the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the top goal scorer in the NHL following the '02-03 season. Hejduk was also selected to play in three different All-Star games and represented his country at three different Winter Olympics. During these Olympics he captured a gold and a bronze medal.
Hall of Fame: No
While both Sakic and Forsberg were inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame with similar numbers to Hejduk, neither played nearly as many games as he did. Hejduk's career 1020 games wildly overshadow the 870 games that Sakic played or the 544 games Forsberg played. While it may not seem fair, all of the extra games that Hejduk played throughout his career may hurt him in the end.
The Colorado Avalanche were dominant during the year that they won the Stanley Cup in 2001 and that would not have been possible without Hejduk. Hejduks career goals and assists put him in the argument for a Hall of Fame candidacy while his points per game average hurts his chances.
We will find out soon enough which side the NHL voters take and what their opinion of the Colorado Avalanche legend is!
Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think!
Also, check out some of our Milan Hejduk signed memorabilia HERE!