Flatley narrowly missed the dynasty years and was captain in 1992-93, the last great Isles team. Even so, the always humble Flatley, who played 13 of his 14 NHL seasons with the Isles, told Garth Snow over the summer that he wasn't sure he deserved the honor he'll receive tonight.
"I asked Garth, 'Are you sure?' There are a lot of guys I feel are very worthy to be in here who aren't at this point," Flatley said. "I'm extremely flattered, humbled and nervous at this point."
Like his fellow 1983-84 rookie Pat LaFontaine, Flatley came straight from the Olympics -- for Canada, not LaFontaine's U.S. team -- to the Isles to try and win a fifth straight Cup. Flatley was second on the team with nine playoff goals, an impressive feat for a 20-year-old on a team of Stanley Cup veterans.
Injuries slowed him down offensively over the next dozen seasons, but he was a no-brainer captain's choice before the 1992-93 season, which was Flatley's only fully healthy year of his last 10 in the NHL.
He signed as a free agent in 1996 with the Rangers, spending one year there and participating in another surprising run to the conference final, though another injury ended that season early and forced Flatley to retire at age 33 after 780 games.
Flatley said he has 25 friends and family down from Toronto for tonight, plus one special former teammate, enforcer and fan favorite Mick Vukota.