Cam Neely began his career with the Vancouver Canucks, but was dealt to the Boston Bruins for the start of the 1986-87 season. The trade is regarded as one of the most lopsided in NHL history. Neely went on to become a prolific scorer and a fan favourite in Boston.
Neely recorded a total of 395 goals with 299 assists in 726 NHL games, including an incredible 50 goals in 49 games (it actually only took him 44 games to do it) during the 1993-94 season. He was a winner of the Masterton Trophy as well. Severe hip, leg and knee injuries cut his career and many seasons short.
Let’s look at another player: Tim Kerr. Kerr signed with the Philadelphia Flyers as a free agent, going undrafted. He recorded a total of 370 goals with 304 assists in 655 games. He was a fifty plus goal scorer four years in a row. Neely had three 50 or more goal seasons. Kerr’s high goal total was 58, which he accomplished twice. Neely’s was 55. Kerr also won the Masterton Trophy. He also has the NHL record for power play goals in a season with 34. His career was also cut short by severe leg and knee injuries.
How is Neely more deserving of Hall of Fame recognition than Kerr? The numbers are similar, in fact Kerr averaged more than a point a game – something Neely wasn’t able to do over his career. The both won the same trophy. In fact their careers look almost identical. Was Neely a bigger fan favourite? Please, someone explain why he is regarded amongst the NHL’s best of all time while Kerr isn’t.