It's a sad day in Colorado, adding to what has been a sad season.
After 19 seasons, 17 with the Avalance/Nordiques organization, stalwart defeseman Adam Foote will retire at the finish of this season. Frankly, it's not just a loss for the Avs, but one for the entire NHL. Foote was a fantastic player for many years, the type of guy any coach would love to have on the blue line.
So invariably after somebody like Foote hangs up the skates, the question will arise: Is his next step into the Hall of Fame?
His offensive numbers won't get him there, but that's not what made him great. He had just 66 goals in his 19-year career and 242 assists. Quite frankly, not many of his stats stand out. That's what makes this conversation a little tougher -- he's the type of guy whose ability you can't quantify.
One thing that comes up in sports all the time when this topic is broached -- championships -- is rendered moot here. As much as I hate the argument being used against great players, we don't have to hear as Foote helped the Avs to two Cups ('96 and '01). In that first Cup run, Foote was a very impressive plus-11 for the postseason, the second best mark that year. Point being, he has the championship pedigree that many consider a requirement to gain entry into the hallowed halls.
One thing that could hurt his candidacy is a history of injuries. Only seven of the 19 seasons in his career did he play more than 70 games. Unfortunately, it could be the way he ends his career, too, as he is questionable for Colorado's final few. But here's betting he won't miss his finale.
So at the end of the conversation, are we looking at a Hall of Famer here? I would say yes. Foote is a throwback, a stay-at-home defenseman that was a key cog to Colorado's success in the late '90s and early 2000's. Maybe moreover, when GMs and coaches around the league are hoping to find the next Adam Foote, it must mean he did something right. I'd take him on my team any day of the week.
-- Brian Stubits