Call to the Hall: Vancouver Canucks

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Welcome to LWOS Hockey’s summer series, Call to the Hall, where we take a look at the next great player from each NHL franchise to get called to the Hockey Hall of Fame. There are a few caveats, the player must be active, and must have played 300 games (or 150 for goaltenders) with the franchise.

Check out the previous Call to the Hall articles HERE.

Call to the Hall: Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks currently boast just a small handful of alumni in the hall, a group consisting of Mark Messier, Mats Sundin, Cam Neely and Pavel Bure. One of the ongoing criticisms of the franchise is that throughout their 44 year history, they haven’t had a ton to brag about in terms of elite, superstar talent, with Bure being the only one of the aforementioned four to make a truly significant impact on the organization. Sure, Markus Naslund had a nice career, and Trevor Linden left a huge mark on the franchise, but both are probably stretches for the Hall of Fame at this point.

There aren’t too many candidates as far as future hall of famers go in the pipeline, but they do have a couple, including franchise goaltender Roberto Luongo and former-Art Ross winner Daniel Sedin, but there’s one that stands above the rest, and that man, is Henrik Sedin.

Henrik Sedin

Henrik Sedin first came onto the scene with Modo Hockey of the Swedish Elite League, finishing second in team scoring behind former Canuck Samuel Pahlsson, and eventually landing a slot as one of the top ranked prospects of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, and one of the two highest ranked Europeans (along with his brother Daniel). Despite concerns expressed from agent Mike Barnett and Canucks head scout Thomas Gradin about them being selected by separate teams, the Twins entered the draft, and after some marvelous work courtesy of Canucks GM Brian Burke, Daniel and Henrik were selected 2nd and 3rd overall by the club. The two started their NHL careers in the 2000-01 season, with Henrik putting up 29 points in 82 games.

The Swedish centre never truly broke out as a star until the 2005-06 campaign, when he put up 75 points in 82 contests, while putting together seasons of 81 points, 76 points and 82 points over the next three seasons. In 2009-10, Sedin emerged as one of the league’s biggest offensive stars and captured the Art Ross trophy as the league’s scoring champion with a startling 112 points, which included a career-high 29 goals for Sedin. In addition to his Art Ross, Sedin, the 13th captain in franchise history, also won the Hart trophy that same year as the most valuable player to his team, and was named to the first All-Star team.

He followed that up with a 94-point 2010-11 campaign, which placed within the top-five of NHL scoring for that year, and then what was essentially a point-per-game season in 2011-12 with 81 points in 82 games in a season which saw the Canucks take home their second consecutive President’s Trophy.

What separates Henrik from other candidates – namely his brother, Daniel – is his mild edge in several franchise records, specifically his lead in the overall points category, where he beat out former scoring champion Naslund with an assist against the Dallas Stars during a 2012-13 contest. As it stands now, the centerman currently boasts 915 points, and, barring he doesn’t fall off a cliff completely or experience some sort of career ending injury, should easily hit 1000 points within the next two seasons. In addition to his excellent regular season output, Sedin currently ranks 2nd all-time in franchise playoff points with 78, trailing only now President of Hockey Ops. Trevor Linden (95). If the Canucks can squeeze in a couple of post-season appearances over the next handful of years, it’s conceivable that he could eventually take over as the franchise’s leader in post-season production.

Over the course of his 1092 NHL game career, Sedin has established himself as one the league’s premier playmakers, becoming the franchise’s all-time assist leader by a mile (150 assist lead on Daniel), as well as ranking 51st all-time among all NHL’ers, and 3rd among active players (behind only Florida’s Jaromir Jagr and San Jose’s Joe Thornton).

Internationally, Sedin won a gold medal with Team Sweden at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games, and would have been part of the 2014 silver medal-winning roster had he not been sidelined due to injury. At the IIHF World Championships, he took home bronze medals in both 1999 and 2001, and won the world title in 2013 (playing alongside his brother and Bruins winger Loui Eriksson, which, due to their success as a line, later sparked rumors that Eriksson was on his way to Vancouver via trade). At the junior level, Sedin has partaken in three World Junior Championships, two European Juniors and a World U17 Hockey Challenge (winning a silver medal in the process).

Henrik has not only been a productive player, but also a durable one, accumulating an extravagant “iron-man” streak of 679 consecutive games played, 6th all-time, and, while in progress, ranked as 2nd on the active list to only St. Louis Blues defenceman Jay Bouwmeester (737). In addition, he has dominated the team award nights over the years, winning five Cyrus H. McLean trophies as the team’s top scorer (’08, ’09, ’10, ’12, ’13, ’14), two Cyclone Taylor Trophies as team MVP (’10, ’12) and one Molson Cup as the player with the most three-star selections (’10). Henrik has also competed in three NHL All-Star Games (2008 in Atlanta, 2011 in Raleigh and 2012 in Ottawa.)

Not only has Henrik Sedin been an astronomically important piece of the franchise’s history on the ice, he has made a significant impact off it. His most notable contribution was when he and Daniel donated a combined $1.5 million to the BC Children’s Hospital, with the money going towards a pediatric intensive-care unit and a diagnostic imaging area.

Henrik Sedin has been a dominant player for many years in the NHL, and while he seems likely to slow down after a 73-point 2014-15, there’s no questioning that he’s put together a sterling career, and, despite falling short of a Stanley Cup so far, should be a definite Hall of Famer one day, and will go down as one of the most important figures in the history of the Vancouver Canucks.

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