HHOF Standards

We’ve clarified eras and positions in order to categorize players. We’ve identified the factors that comprise the PPS system’s scoring. Now, to complete the methodology, we need to establish the benchmarks that drive the assessment of a player’s HHOF case.

Lidstrom Shoots From Point” by clydeorama is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

The Hall of Fame

  • The HHOF’s Selection Committee is directed to consider the “playing ability, sportsmanship, character and contributions to his or her team or teams and to the game of hockey in general.”
  • To be eligible, the player “must have not played in a professional or international hockey game during any of the three playing seasons prior to his or her election.”
  • A maximum of four male players may be elected in any year.

Through the 2022 induction cycle, of the 293 players inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, there are 207 that have been elected primarily for their work in the NHL. The breakdown by era and position of those inductees is as follows:

The Standards

Using each player’s PPS, here’s how the HHOF standards work:

#1: There are six PPS standards based on era and position

  • Eras 1 & 2:
    • Forwards
    • Defencemen
    • Goaltenders
  • Eras 3 & 4:
    • Forwards
    • Defencemen
    • Goaltenders

#2: A player is tiered based on their PPS relative to the standard for their era and position

  • Tiers include:
    • Inner Circle: far exceeds the standard
    • Qualified: exceeds the standard
    • Borderline +: slightly exceeds the standard
    • Borderline -: slightly below the standard
    • Hall of “Very Good”: below the standard
    • Not a HHOF Candidate: far below the standard

#3: The number of eligible NHL players that meet the PPS standards will always match the actual HHOF (i.e., 207 through the 2022 cycle)

  • The standards therefore require annual adjusting once that year’s induction class is announced. This ensures the standards mirrors the HHOF’s inclusion rate.
  • The players that meet the PPS standard will not be the same as those inducted.
    • 44 eligible players that currently exceed the PPS standard have not been inducted, meaning 44 players currently below the PPS standard are HHOFers.

#4: The standards are only intended to be a starting point for a player’s HHOF case

  • Treating a player’s position relative to the standard as an open-and-shut HHOF case is not the purpose of the methodology.
  • Acknowledging the limits of a data-driven approach, subjective considerations should serve as factors on a borderline player’s HHOF case, or when comparing players rated similarly.
    • The HHOF tiers leave a window to capture borderline cases (i.e., a PPS + or – 10 from the standard for skaters, + or – 15 for goaltenders).

The Example

  • There are currently 13 goaltenders in the HHOF from Eras 3 and 4. The standard is therefore set exactly where the 13th-best eligible goalie is ranked by PPS (i.e., Ed Belfour, PPS = 317).
  • Any goaltender in these eras with a PPS + or – 15 from the standard is considered to have a Borderline HHOF case (i.e., slightly above or below the standard).
  • A Qualified HHOFer is at least 15 above, easily exceeding the standard (ex: Bernie Parent, PPS = 343).
  • An Inner Circle HHOFer is 100+ above, far exceeding the standard (ex: Dominik Hasek, PPS = 423).

Of the 13 eligible goaltenders in these eras that exceed the standard, three have not been inducted. This means there are also three HHOF-inducted goaltenders below the standard. These six goaltenders are, therefore, the three likely errors and three likely omissions, as identified by the methodology.

The Visual

By creating HHOF standards by era and position, we have a consistent, objective starting point for each NHL player’s HHOF case.

Era concepts, PPS System, HHOF Standards from Adjusted Hockey;
All other data from Hockey-Reference.com