Nemesis goaltender Dominik Hasek, American legend Mike Modano and former Flyers Peter Forsberg and Mark Recchi are eligible for the Hall for the first time, having hung up their skates in 2011.
Each candidate requires 14 votes (75 percent) from the 18-man committee. A maximum of four players may be inducted per year. Hasek, the six-time Vezina Trophy winner, and Forsberg, the 2003 Hart Trophy winner, are considered to be slam-dunk nominees.
Modano is the all-time leading scorer among American-born hockey players with 561 goals. He is also considered a shoo-in candidate, but his numbers are actually below the marks Recchi set during his impressive, 23-year career.
Recchi won three Stanley Cups with three different teams (Pittsburgh, Carolina and Boston), including one at the age of 43 in 2011 with the Bruins. He played parts of 10 seasons over two different stints with the Flyers (627 points in 602 games), with stops also in Montreal, Atlanta and Tampa Bay.
Recchi and Modano broke into the NHL full time in the same season (1989-90) and retired after the same season (2010-11), but Recchi is 2 years older, played 153 more games and produced points (0.93 per game) at a faster rate than Modano (0.92).
Recchi netted 1,533 points in 1,652 games; Modano closed with 1,374 points in 1,499 games.
It is possible, however, that Modano has a slightly better name cache among the general public because he is American, won a Stanley Cup in a non-traditional market in Dallas, and spent all but one of his 21 seasons with the same franchise.
Forsberg, 40, would have been eligible for the Hall in 2011 if not for a failed, two-game comeback try with Colorado in 2010. His tremendous career was cut short by one seasonlong lockout and chronic foot and ankle problems, which also limited his productivity with the Flyers.
The Flyers made him the NHL's marquee signing out of the 2005 work stoppage with a 2-year, $11.5 million deal. He was named the team's captain in 2006-07 after it became apparent Keith Primeau would not resume his career after concussion issues. Forsberg only played 100 games in Philadelphia (115 points) before being dealt to Nashville.
With on-ice vision and passing ability comparable to Wayne Gretzky, Forsberg helped Colorado to two Stanley Cups. He was originally a Flyers draft pick (6th overall) in 1991, but was included in the haul to Quebec on June 30, 1992 for Lindros.
Aside from the trade, the candidacies for Forsberg and Lindros are also linked in the relative brevity of their careers - especially compared to Recchi or Modano. Lindros finished with 865 points in 760 games; Forsberg ended with 885 points in 708 contests. Each garnered a Hart Trophy and a scoring title.
Unlike Forsberg, however, Lindros carried the headline-grabbing baggage of parents Bonnie and Carl around with him, a sour fact that could ultimately keep him waiting longer.
Other notable players eligible for the Hall: Jeremy Roenick, Doug Weight, Owen Nolan, Chris Osgood, Tom Barrasso . . . Stanley Cup-winning coach Pat Burns could be included in the "Builders" category . . . The committee is comprised of John Davidson, Jim Gregory, Scotty Bowman, David Branch, Brian Burke, Colin Campbell, Bob Clarke, Eric Duhatschek, Mike Emrick, Michael Farber, Marc de Foy, Mike Gartner, Anders Hedberg, Igor Larionov, Lanny McDonald, David Poile, Luc Robitaille, Peter Stastny and Bill Torrey. They began deliberating yesterday. Induction ceremonies will take place on June 10 in Toronto.