The Hockey Hall of Fame welcomes its newest class on Monday night in Toronto with a fascinating group: Vancouver Canucks legends Daniel and Henrik Sedin, their former teammate Roberto Luongo, former Ottawa Senators great Daniel Alfredsson, Finnish women's hockey icon Riikka Sallinen and the late Herb Carnegie, a pioneering Black player.
Who will join them in the class of 2023?
There is one lock in next year's group of first-year-eligible players. But beyond that, there might be an opportunity to open the doors for some men and women who have been waiting far too long for their hockey immortality.
Here's our ranking of candidates for next year's Hockey Hall of Fame class.
1. Henrik Lundqvist, goalie (first year of eligibility)
Hail to the King. Lundqvist is a lock. Whether it's in 2023 or if he has to wait for some arbitrary reason, he's getting in. The former New York Rangers goalie — who signed with, but did not play for, the Washington Capitals before retirement — won the Vezina Trophy in 2011-12 and was a finalist for the award five times. He's sixth in career wins (459), and every retired player in front of him on that list is in the Hall of Fame. That includes Roberto Luongo, who did not win the Vezina during his career.
The Stanley Cup eluded him, as Lundqvist's Rangers made the Final only once with him in the crease. But he has plenty of other championship hardware, backstopping Sweden to Olympic gold in 2006 and silver in 2014, while also winning IIHF world championship gold and World Cup of Hockey bronze. Expect an impeccably dressed Lundqvist to be giving his induction speech next year.
2. Caroline Ouellette, forward (second year)
We considered Ouellette a lock for the class of 2022 in her first year of eligibility. That she didn't make the cut speaks more to the selection committee's inexplicable obsession with having only one woman inductee each year — the last time it allowed the maximum of two was in 2010 with Cammi Granato and Angela James — than her worthiness as a candidate.
The forward is one of only five athletes to win a gold medal in four consecutive Winter Olympics, helping the Canadian women to the top of the podium in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014, along with Olympic silver in 1998. She won six gold medals in the IIHF women's world championships. Ouellette had a 2.36 points-per-game average in 97 games with University of Minnesota-Duluth. She also won the 2009 Clarkson Cup with the Montreal Stars, becoming only one of three players to win the Clarkson Cup, Olympic gold and worlds gold. The other two are Hayley Wickenheiser and Jayna Hefford, and she should join them in the Hall next year.