Hockey Hall of Fame: The Case for Steve Larmer

The 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame class was announced on Tuesday, and there were four very qualified names called for induction.

Yet, for some reason, great Blackhawks forward Steve Larmer hasn’t received that special phone call yet. In an effort to point out where the voters are getting lost, let’s look at how Larmer’s Hall of Fame credentials stack up against some other greats still waiting to get in.

First of all, let’s assume Larmer doesn’t get into the Hall in 2012. The Hockey Hall of Fame limits each class to four inductees per year, and next year’s class has certain first ballot locks in Joe Sakic, Brendan Shanahan and former Hawks forward Jeremy Roenick in a deep group also including Mats Sundin and Curtis Joseph, among others.

In 2012, Scott Niedermayer and Rob Blake will be the likely first ballot Hall of Famers, but there’s no reason to keep Larmer out longer than this year.

Let’s begin our analysis by comparing Larmer to some other worthy Hall of Fame candidates that are still on the ballot.

  • Dave Andreychuk
    Games: 1,639
    Goals: 640
    Assists: 640
    Points: 1,338
    Pts/Gm: 0.816
    +/-: +38
    GW: 77
    PP: 274
    SH: 11
  • Adam Oates
    Games: 1,337
    Goals: 341
    Assists: 1,079
    Points: 1,420
    Pts/Gm: 1.062
    +/- : +35
    GW: 56
    PP: 103
    SH: 12
  • Steve Larmer
    Games: 1,006
    Goals: 441
    Assists: 571
    Points: 1,012
    Pts/Gm: 1.006
    +/- : +204
    GW: 60
    PP: 162
    SH: 24
  • Pavel Bure
    Games: 702
    Goals: 437
    Assists: 342
    Points: 779
    Pts/Gm: 1.110
    +/- : +42
    GW: 59
    PP: 121
    SH: 34

These are four very strong candidates for induction. Yet on each one, Larmer has an edge statistically.

Yes, Andreychuk has a gaudy point total. But he also played more than 600 games more than Larmer, and wasn’t a point-per-game player in his career.

Yes, Oates has a huge assist total (thanks, in large part, to Brett Hull). But Larmer scored 100 more goals in 331 fewer career games, and his plus-minus is 169 points better than Oates.

Yes, Bure was, in many ways, the Barry Sanders of hockey – dominant, but gone far too soon. The fact that Bure, and Eric Lindros for that matter, didn’t play in 1,000 games absolutely impacts the Hall credentials of both.

In postseason play, it’s hard to compare Larmer to anyone else on this list but Oates based largely on volume of games played. Larmer did not miss the playoffs (or a game) for a decade.

Larmer played in 140 postseason games, scoring 56 goals and adding 75 assists (131 points/.936 points per game). Oates played in 163 postseason games, scoring 42 goals and adding 114 assists (156 points/.957 points per game). Both had seven game-winning goals in the postseason, and Larmer had a slight edge with 21 power play goals to the 17 of Oates.

You also, however, need to consider the individual accolades of each player.

  • Larmer
    Calder Memorial Trophy
    2 time All-Star
    1 100-point season
    884 consecutive games played
    1994 Stanley Cup Champion (with the Rangers)
    1990-91 NHL “Man of the Year” by The Sporting News
  • Oates
    5 time All-Star
    3 100-point seasons
    NHL Second All-Star Team (1991)
  • Andreychuk
    2 time All-Star
    2004 Stanley Cup Champion (with the Lightning)
  • Bure
    Calder Memorial Trophy
    6 time All-Star
    NHL First All-Star Team (1994)
    NHL Second All-Star Team (2000, 2001)
    2 time Rocket Richard Trophy winner
    3 time NHL goal scoring leader
    2 100-point seasons

As you can see, only two of these gentlemen won the honor for the league’s best rookie: Bure and Larmer. Bure played in the most All-Star Games.

Larmer played in fewer All-Star Games than Oates, but has something Oates doesn’t – a ring. And while Andreychuk has as much jewelry as Larmer, he doesn’t have nearly the rest of the resume that Larmer does in personal accolades.

And Larmer is the only one of these four that was named the “NHL Man of the Year.”

The story of Larmer has always been a footnote because he wasn’t the sexy player. He didn’t spin like Savard, so he didn’t get the most attention on his own team.

And he was on a great Blackhawks team that happened to play at the same time as two of the great dynasties in NHL history, the early-80s Islanders and mid- to late-80s Oilers. Indeed, during Larmer’s career (1983-1995) seven different organizations won the Stanley Cup: the Oilers (4), Penguins (2), Canadiens (2), Islanders, Flames, Devils and Rangers (with Larmer).

Furthermore, only nine right wings from the modern era have been selected for Hall of Fame enshrinement in the last 20 years. Of those nine, only four – Mike Bossy, Joe Mullen, Jari Kurri and Brett Hull – averaged better than a point per game. The other five – Glenn Anderson, Dino Ciccarelli, Cam Neely, Mike Gartner and Lanny McDonald – did not produce as regularly as Larmer.

To take the positional argument one step further, Larmer is one of only 21 right wings in NHL history to post 1,000 points.

Yes, the fact that he’s one of the greatest Blackhawks of all-time clouds my judgement on this matter; I won’t even try to hide the fact that Larmer is my favorite player of all-time. But the numbers are there to back up his case to be in the Hall of Fame.

On another note, the Chicago Blackhawks need to do the right thing and put Larmer’s #28 in the rafters next to his former linemate, Denis Savard. This honor is well overdue.

8 thoughts on “Hockey Hall of Fame: The Case for Steve Larmer

  1. Nice article. Larmer deserves to be in. Hopefully his time will come. Bure and Lindros in and Larmer out would be an absolute crime.

    Agreed on #28 in the rafters. Really don’t know what they are waiting for.

  2. when it was time for a new ‘hawks jersey, my wife asked what i wanted. without hesitation, i said “larmer”. made savard and roenick superstars without wanting attention. can’t believe he’s not in the hall of fame.

  3. Great article! We are linking to this particularly great post on our
    site. Keep up the good writing.

  4. Got to meet Steve recently and had him sign my cherished #28 jersey where it will hang proudly on my wall just as it should hang proudly from the UC rafters. One of the Blackhawk greats and should be honored as such so lets hoist #28 where it belongs.

  5. #28 Steve Larmer is an all time great long time Hawks player. With many fans and other hockey players of the NHL say he was a tough strong and great player. Great team player and a great idol to young kids and fans. It would be great to have his spot in the hockey hall of fame. When I talked to Steve over 10 years ago, I asked him about his time playing for Chicago. He said it was awesome and great experience. I fallowed him all the way to his very last game of the NHL in the 93/94 winning his first and only Stanley Cup ring when he was traded in the second half of the 93/94 season with the NY Rangers. Always miss his number and name on the ice. It would also be great for Chicago to have his number hanging over top of the ice he once spent most of his life playing on and for the players and fans to keep looking up to him. May his name and number be remembered by all and for all to remember the great memories when he played.

  6. Also overlooked about Larmer is he was a great defensive forward.He was great on PK and the best ever at getting the puck out of his zone late in games.Playing for defense minded coaches his whole career he was always on the ice at the end of 1 goal games.Must nationally underrated Blackhawk ever.

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