Opinion: Mike Richter and The Hockey Hall of Fame

With the 2023 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductions now behind us, I wanted to take this time to take a look at a goaltender who I think will continue to get passed by.

That goaltender is former New York Ranger great Mike Richter. Richter, a Rangers’ lifer who has been eligible for the Hall of Fame since 2006, was one of the greatest Rangers to ever play for the franchise and he was someone who was looked at as one of the hearts and soul of the club starting with the year he joined the team in a full-time capacity in the 1989-90 season up until his somewhat early retirement in 2003 due to concussion-related issues.

There are many reasons why Richter could be looked at as a Hall of Fame goaltender. For starters, one should look at what his longevity with the Blueshirts and what he accomplished with them.

Before recently inducted Hall of Famer Henrik Lundqvist took over Richter’s throne between the pipes in the 2005-06 season, Richter was the king of Rangers’ netminders. At one point, he led the franchise in wins (301), and games played (666), won his team’s Most Valuable Player award in 2000 and 2002, and helped break a 54-year curse when the team won the Stanley Cup in 1994.

Another thing that one should look at is his play in international competitions. Richter put USA Hockey back on the map en route to single-handedly winning the Most Valuable Player Award and helping his country win the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. In 2002, his strong play between the pipes led Team USA to a silver medal at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Richter also played in three NHL All-Star Games (1992, 1994, and 2000), won the All-Star Game MVP in
1994 in front of his fans at Madison Square Garden, was a Vezina Trophy Finalist in 1991, and was
considered to be among the elite netminders in the game from the mid-90s to the early 2000s. He may
not have been Dominik Hasek, but he was a goaltender who always kept his team in the game and was
one of the best when the game was on the line.

With all of that said, however, there are a few things that have probably kept Richter out of the Hall of Fame all of these years. For starters, not making the playoffs from the 1997-98 season through the rest of his career certainly hurts things.

During that time, Richter played for some pretty bad Rangers teams. He never cracked the 30-win mark
again, his goals-against average and save percentage took a hit, and the overall play of the team in front
of him hurt his chance to win more games and put up better numbers between the pipes.

Another factor that could be holding Richter back from being inducted into the HHOF is his injury troubles, a problem of his in the early 2000s. During the 1995-96, 1999-2000, and 2000-01 seasons, he missed time with significant groin injuries. From 2002 to 2003, he had issues due to concussions and was forced to retire earlier than expected.

What do you folks think? Do you think the Hall will continue to pass him by or do you think one day, it will open its doors for one of the greatest American-born goaltenders who ever lived?

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

2 thoughts on “Opinion: Mike Richter and The Hockey Hall of Fame

  1. no way he deserves to be in there before Mogilny. Sorry. Mogilny has been snubbed for way too long, i recently read an article about his HHOF snubbing on this site, it was a great read. Did you write that?

    1. I completely agree that Mogilny deserves to be in there before him. Mogilny should have been inducted a very long time ago and it is a darn shame that that has not happened yet.

      I was not the writer of the Mogilny piece on this site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion: Florida Can Go Back-To-Back As Stanley Cup Champions & Here’s Why

As the Florida Panthers spend the summer celebrating their Stanley Cup win, it begs the question: Can they repeat as Cup Champions? I think they can, as their roster is still extremely strong despite losing some pieces to free agency. The core forwards that were up for contract Zito locked up long-term, ensuring little change […]

Read More

Ranking NHL Goal Horns

32) Utah Hockey Club: N/A 31) Colorado Avalanche: 1/10: Sounds generic, not a pleasant sound, I heard this too much in the 2022 Playoffs (it got annoying) Goal Horn Button: 30) San Jose Sharks: 1/10 – Sounds like a boat/foghorn, good goal song though, very unique Goal Horn Button: 29) Washinton Capitals 1/10: Sirens during […]

Read More

Player Profile: Mark Kastelic

Mark Kastelic was born on March 11, 1999, in Phoenix, Arizona. Kastelic comes from a hockey family, as his father, Ed, played 210 career NHL games for the Washington Capitals and Hartford Whalers. His grandfather, Pat Stapleton, and his uncle, Mike Stapleton, each played in the NHL as well. Mark played two seasons for the […]

Read More