We have another retirement to announce in the world of sports, and with this we present what we consider to be a bubble candidate for the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Alexei (Alex) Kovalev made a brief return to the National Hockey League with five points in fourteen games with the Florida Panthers. Kovalev’s comeback extends his HOF clock to the year of 2016, which will be the first year that he will be considered eligible.
Kovalev made history as the first Russian born player to be selected in the first round of the NHL draft. Barring another comeback, he will finish his career with 1,029 points which as of this writing places him 70th overall. Throughout his career, he has showcased solid seasons in New York, Pittsburgh and Montreal and was a three time All Star Game participant. Kovalev was selected to the Second Team All Star squad late in his career with the Habs in the 2007-08 season, and was a Stanley Cup winner in 1994 with the Rangers.
Although he did hit that 1,000 point mark, he never got the century mark in a season and he only had one campaign where he finished in the top ten in scoring (a fourth place finish in 2000-01). The problem is that the Hockey Hall of Fame does have players who have a similar track record, though many of those have more rings than the talented Russian. We don’t think he is a Hall of Fame player, but is certainly worthy of a top 100 rank in 2016. Now, where do we put him?