On New Year’s Day, with the Winter Classic right around the corner, the NHL took to social media to ask one of the more hotly debated questions in the league: Is Brad Marchand a Hall of Famer?
Naturally any discussion around the Bruins polarizing winger would elicit responses from both sides of the love/hate spectrum. He’s been one of the best players in the league for over a half decade, but his reputation as the “Rat King” is also held by many.
Regardless of the extremes, there is a legitimate debate to be had.
The very first thing to consider is his scoring output. As of January 3rd, Marchand has scored 826 points in 903 NHL games, which stands at 28th all-time for Left Wingers. With a 0.91 career points per game average, he could rise as high as sixteenth by his 1,000th game.
Only four players ahead of Marchand did not play 1,000 games, so he’ll need to get there to have a shot.
However, since 2016-17 (his first >1 PPG season) Marchand has 537 points in 449 games, which is a 1.2 PPG. At this pace he would be right behind Kirk Muller (959pts) at #15 by his 1,000th game.
The 1,000 Point mark also serves as an artificial cutoff line for Marchand’s HOF chances. The only player between him and the cutoff to get in was Paul Kariya, who scored 989 points in 989 games. Only thirteen LWs have reached that mark, and even then four of them haven’t gotten in. Granted, Alex Ovechkin is one of the four but he’s a first-ballot lock. If Marchand crosses both the 1,000 point and game thresholds before retiring, he’ll have a much stronger candidacy.
Another strong point of Marchand’s resume are his postseason and international accolades.
He has 118 points in 139 Stanley Cup Playoff games, a Cup victory in 2011 and two more Finals runs. On the International stage, Marchand won Gold at a World Championship and the World Cup of Hockey. Unfortunately his career breakout coincided with the NHL barring players from competing in the Olympics, denying him an opportunity to join the Triple Gold Club.
Brad Marchand is not yet a Hall of Fame player. His numbers are on pace for consideration and he has several accolades to boot. He is guaranteed to join Bruins legends in the Garden rafters, but needs more to be enshrined in Toronto. With a few more years of production, and maybe another Cup, he might just get there.
Photo: Brad Marchand / Twitter