“This honor would not be possible if I had not rejoined the league in 1996,” O’Ree said. “I was given a second wind to give back to the game.”
Brodeur, 46, was a three-time Stanley Cup champion with the Devils and was elected in his first year of eligibility. He has the most wins, shutouts and games played for a goalie in N.H.L. history.
A Montreal native, Brodeur was the last real standup goaltender as the position moved almost exclusively to the butterfly technique, and his puck-handling prowess led the N.H.L. to institute the trapezoid behind the net as a way to increase scoring.
In net, Brodeur has a league-best 691 wins and 125 shutouts in 1,266 regular-season games with the Devils and St. Louis Blues, and he won the Vezina Trophy four times. He won 113 playoff games and had a 2.02 postseason goals-against average. Brodeur also scored two regular-season goals and another in the playoffs — more than any other goalie.
“I was fortunate to play on great teams that allowed me to play with my own personality, which is so important to a goaltender,” Brodeur said.
The Devils retired Brodeur’s No. 30 in 2016 and later that year unveiled a statue of his famous salute outside their arena in Newark. Sharks forward Joel Ward, who is black, said that same year the N.H.L. should retire O’Ree’s No. 22 like Major League Baseball has with Jackie Robinson’s No. 42, which he wears as a tribute to the player who broke baseball’s color barrier.
St. Louis, a 5-foot-8 winger, put up 1,033 points in 1,134 regular-season games over 17 seasons, won the Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004 and an Olympic gold medal with Canada in 2014. He is only the sixth undrafted player in league history with 1,000-plus points.
Hefford won four Olympic gold medals and seven world championships, putting up 30 points in 26 Olympic games. Yakushev became known to North American hockey fans during the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union, with 11 points in eight games. He also won Olympic gold medals in 1972 and 1976.